Volume 45 Number 87
                    Produced: Wed Nov 24  5:40:22 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

         [Chana Luntz]
         [Akiva Miller]
Minhag for Women to not work on Motzaei Shabbos (2)
         [Mimi Markofsky, <chips@...>]
Please say tehillim for
         [Matthew Pearlman]
Tachanun after Shkiah
         [Martin Stern]
Whatever happened to Bilhah and Zilpah?
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
YEHUDIS and the Nes of Chanukah
         [Wayne Feder]


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 13:45:32 GMT
Subject: Lateness

Just a few random observations on this thread because I think that what
is often being highlighted here is conflicting needs between people:

1) Martin Stern writes:

>When I raised this point, I did not have in mind 'social' invitations
>but students or other single people who could not make shabbat for
>themselves.  Though I specified Friday night, the same applies to any
>Shabbat or Yom Tov meal. We have not infrequently waited about half an
>hour or more and then started without the guests who may have turned up
>as we were serving the main course.

Here is a classic case of conflict of needs between a family with
children who want to eat early and what are often the very different
demands on singles.

As (some of) you know, I work in a large international law firm in
London.  The nature of these firms is, as many of you may also know,
very demanding in terms of time commitments.  The standard contract says
that the hours are 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday and such other time
as is required by the nature of the work.  My contract specifically
includes a carve out acknowledging that I will be leaving before sundown
on Fridays in winter (it doesn't specifically state an hour and three
quarters, but that is what I generally tell people to give them some
idea when they need to cover).

In London, that can mean having to leave before 2pm in winter.  I
cannot, however, with any justification to my employers, insist on
leaving in summer with sufficient time to get to a shabbas meal
scheduled for 7pm (which would mean leaving on or before 5pm, which
after all is still before even the secretaries leave at 5.30pm), because
my host has chosen to bring in shabbas early and his children are likely
to get fractious.

That means by definition that either I cannot not accept invitations
from people who bring in shabbas early, or we have to agree that they
will start and I will show whenever I show.  I certainly agree that on
accepting an invitation a person should try and spell all this out to
one's host (or potential host), but the reverse is also true, a host
should, in the nicest possible way, explain the constraints on them when
inviting - ie "we would love to invite you but because our kids get
fractious waiting if we start eating after 7pm we really can't invite
guests who can't get there by then."  That way you are offering what you
are able to offer, and it allows the person with other, very different,
constraints the ability to accept what they can accept.  Or
alternatively - "our kids get really fractious if we don't start by 7pm,
so we start precisely at 7pm, but don't worry, if you come later there
will be wine and challa for you and food" (and the host plans the
catering of the meal accordingly).

The same issues crop up in relation to lateness for shul.  I tend to
disagree with the statement that one is keeping HKBH waiting in the
circumstances described.  HKBH has staked out his "appointment" times
very clearly, and they end with "sof zman tephila", which is determined
on the assumption that Jews are bnei melachim [children of kings] and
hence do "lie in" [until the third and fourth hour - not that such a lie
in is considered a lie in today].

The issue about lateness to shul therefore is not about keeping HKBH
waiting (assuming you are well within the halachic constraints of zmanei
tephila), but a) keeping the other people waiting who want to get
started and are getting fractious; or b) of disturbing people who have
already gotten started (similar to coming in late to the shabbas meal).

And, like the shabbas meal example above, it was the other people who
presumably determined exactly when the time for the minyan should be,
and the latecomers who are having, for whatever reason, to fit
themselves into other people's timelines.  If a minyan is struggling to
actually make a minyan at a given time, maybe it is a sign that the
minyan is set for the wrong time for enough of the attendees.

Part of the problem is often different work start times.  You will
notice that my law firm contract above has starting hours set at 9.30am,
which most people would regard as a very late start.  The reason for
this, proverbially, is that one's clients tend to get in at 8am, but
need to read through what is on their desk and generally are not
interested in contacting their lawyers until 9.30am.  But then they
expect lawyers to work through the night to get a document onto their
desks by 8am the next morning (when they have only phoned to give
instructions just before they go home).  That of course means that the
minyan demands of "clients" and of "lawyers" is going to be
significantly different, because of their differently structured working
days.  If you ask a "lawyer" to make up a minyan of early starters, he
is doing the minyan a favour, because he would really prefer a later
minyan (but either is trying to help out, or cannot find the numbers to
start when he wants to).  He is unlikely to feel embarressed by this
fact, he possibly just wishes people were more like him.

This is all different to issues of pushing past people, for example but
even there, there can be all sorts of reasons.  There is a halacha that
if you need to go to the bathroom (as the Americans call it) it is a
sakana [danger]not to go, and you aren't permitted to continue with
tephila.  Now my husband seems to have the need, as some people do, to
go to the bathroom more frequently than most.  So when the shul redid
its seating, and shifted the area he and his father had davened in for
over 30 years into the ladies section, he tried to "bag" a new seat on
the aisle.  However, the committee decided that there was so much
whinging and controversy about seat selection that they were going to
allocate seats and brook no interference - and he didn't get an aisle
seat.  So the poor fellow whose seat is next to him is by definition
getting disturbed all the time, and there is nothing either of them can
officially do.

For those who have more option as to their seat selection, choosing or
not choosing an aisle seat is clearly a way to minimise disruption
depending on who you are and what your needs are, but it is not always
possible.  But the derech eretz aspect of it (as with all the cases
above) works both ways.  If you have no fixed seats, it is arguably just
as much not derech eretz to fill up the aisle seats when you are early
to minyan, so as to make sure the latecomers have to push past to get a
seat, instead of thinking of them and leaving the space.  And if you
take an aisle seat, you are putting yourself in the position that means
others will have to push past or be forced to stand.  Again, a question
of conflicting needs that does not necessarily go to the question of
attitude to tephila at all.



From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 12:55:26 -0500
Subject: re: Love

In MJ 45:75, Yehonatan Chipman wrote <<< I would add here that Judaism
does not necessarily have a concept of romantic love. >>>

and in MJ 45:78, Martin Stern wrote <<< it is precisely this concept of
romantic love which became a dominant theme in fiction from the 18th
century onwards that lay behind the strong rabbinic opposition to reading
secular literature and, by extension, to secular studies in general. By
its very nature, emphasising strong personal emotion, it was seen as
corrosive to traditional social mores, >>>

Perhaps the concept of "romantic love" needs to be defined. I understand
it as the feeling that this other person is a part of me, which makes me
feel lacking and incomplete when that person is not with me.

This is not something which I find to be foreign to Jewish thought. On
the contrary, examples abound:

Yitzchak and Rivka: "... and he took Rivka, she became his wife, and he
loved her; and Yitzchak was comforted over his mother." (Bereishis

Yaakov and Rachel: "Yaakov worked for seven years for Rachel, but they
were like a few days in his eyes, because of his love for her."
(Bereishis 29:20)

Shir Hashirim: "I am lovesick for You." (2:5) [Granted that this is love
between us and G-d, and might be considered only a *metaphor* for
romantic love, but the metaphor would not work if such love was not a
legitimate concept.]

Talmud: "A man who doesn't have a wife isn't a complete man." (Well, I
couldn't find this exact quote, but there are several similar comments
near the bottom of Yevamos 62b.)

I don't think it was <<< this concept of romantic love which became a
dominant theme in fiction from the 18th century onwards that lay behind
the strong rabbinic opposition to reading secular literature >>>, or at
least, it could not have been the concept of romantic love per se,
because that *is* a legitimate Torah concept. However, they very well
may have objected to the role which romantic love played in that

For example, the literature may have put too much emphasis on "falling
in love" as the motivation for selecting a mate, while Jewish tradition
would emphasize other factors (such as lineage and character). Also, the
literature may have given the impression that the pre-marriage situation
is optimal for romance, while the rabbis may want to stress that even
married couples can continue to grow in their love for each other.

[Note: I could have included Adam and Chava as an example of my
definition of romance (see above), but I excluded it, because of my
interpretation that prior to eating from the Fruit, their
decision-making was a logical process, in which emotions like love
played no part. "Bone of my bones! Flesh of my flesh!" was a logical and
practical observation in their case, not a romantic one.]

Akiva Miller


From: <AUNTIEFIFI@...> (Mimi Markofsky)
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 13:17:11 EST
Subject: Re: Minhag for Women to not work on Motzaei Shabbos

My family always followed this minhag with the explanation that we
should extend Shabbos Hamalkah as long as possible.  To do work (sewing,
laundry, etc.) would diminish the love and peace of the Shabbos we were
ending.  Thus we delayed the entry into the new work week by only doing
things that were absolutely necessary motzet Shabbos, i.e. preparing

Mimi Markofsky

From: <chips@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 06:17:04 -0800
Subject: Re: Minhag for Women to not work on Motzaei Shabbos

>  a similar minhag observed on Rosh Chodesh for which a reason is
> given?

"Minhag"? Why isn't it considered a "Halacha" that women are to refrain
from certain types of work on 'Rosh Chodesh'?


[I guess I would like to see a source as to why you view it as 'Halacha'
vs 'minhag'. Avi]


From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 17:06:39 -0000
Subject: Please say tehillim for

Anonymous said in respect of a plea for tehillim: "However, I
respectfully take exception to Leah's attempt to justify the need with
respect to the parental status of the victims.  Would her plea that we
should say tehillim be equally urgent if the victims were middle-aged,
single people, or even married people, without children?..."

I do not think that Leah was using this to justify the need, but rather
to allow us to direct our thoughts appropriately, in much the same way
that we find it easier to daven for our own family rather than for
strangers.  I remember when my mother a"h was ill, one of my teachers
wanted to know exactly what was the matter with her so that he could
have the appropriate kavana in his prayer.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 16:24:23 +0000
Subject: Re: Tachanun after Shkiah

on 22/11/04 11:38 am, Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...> wrote:

> There is a chapter of Tehilim that is part of Tachanun.  (it varies
> between different nuschaot of Tachanun).  Perhaps those that do not say
> Tachanun after sunset are those that refrain from saying Tehilim at
> night.

I have heard that there is a kabbalistic objection to saying tehillim at
night. However, those, especially chassidim, who do not say tachanun
after shekia', say psalm 134 before ma'ariv every weekday and various
psalms in kabbalat shabbat which they also tend to start after
shekia'. So I don't think this can be their reason for not saying

Martin Stern


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 10:57:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: re: Whatever happened to Bilhah and Zilpah?

re my:
>> And I knew a lady, now deceased, who would be well over 100, whose name
>> was "Pesha bas Bilhah".

ELPh Minden ask:
> Are you sure she wasn't an israelised "bas Beile" or even "bas Bella"?
> Often names aren't understood by native speakers of this Ivrit thing,
> and de-corrupted according to their natural competence.

Very sure!  As I mentioned in the post, she would be well over 100 if
alive today, and from very learned and Yekkishe background, not an Ivrit
speaker at all.  She herself told me her name so I could have a
misheberach made.

Freda Birnbaum


From: Wayne Feder <federfamily@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 11:15:43 -0500
Subject: YEHUDIS and the Nes of Chanukah

The gemara tells us that women are obligated to light candles (even
though its a mitzvah aseh shehazmaan grama [A time dependent positive
commandmant, from which women are generally exempt - Mod.]) because
(according to tosfot) the eekar [main part] of the miracle was because
of their action - I.e., yehudis (like esther on purim and the nashim
tzdkaniot [rightous women] of pessah) If Yehudis was so important, why
does no one ever talk about her (how many of our children learn about
her??) Tosafos disagrees with rashi's "af hen hayu be'oto hanes" [they
too were part of the miracle] and says 'ikar hanes beglalan" [the main
miracle was because of them] -- If she is the cause of the nes
[miracle], why is this story not more central to our experience and
celebration today?  (maybe more of a sociological qustion).  I am aware
of the story of Yehudis as recorded in megillas taanis and the otzar
midrashim, and the suggestion that there is a disconnect in the
recording of the story because of the indignities done to the women and
out of kavod [honor] to women it seems to be made less known.  Could
this really be the only reason??




End of Volume 45 Issue 87