Volume 46 Number 04
                    Produced: Tue Nov 30  6:45:37 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Brit - Mother Drinking Wine
         [Aliza Berger]
Carrying weapons on Shabbos and Yom Tov (2)
         [Yehonatan Chipman, Bill Bernstein]
The Cockerel has Binoh?  Really?
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Cost of Simchas
         [Martin Stern]
Effective Prayer
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Jewish source?
         [Tzvi Stein]
Lateness and Guests
         [Martin Stern]
Lateness to Shull
         [Stephen Phillips]
Occam's razor and Benefit of Doubt
         [David Curwin]
Parsha Derash Question
         [Joshua Sharf]


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 10:31:30 +0200
Subject: Brit - Mother Drinking Wine

In your community, how common is it for the mother to drink from the
wine at her son's brit? I'm interested in actual modern-day practice in
various communities (Ashkenazi, Sephardi, haredi, modern, etc.) Rabbi
Dr. Daniel Sperber, in the first volume of his book "Minhagei Yisrael,"
seems to imply that this is not common. For those who wish to look, the
chapter begins on page "samech" and is entitled (my translation)
"Societal Influences on Custom: On the Drinking of Wine at a
Circumcision and the Status of Women in Society." His historical
development of who drinks the wine at a brit is fascinating.

By the way, at our son's recent brit, we said the special misheberach
for mother and son's health that he mentions in the chapter, after
discussing it personally with Rabbi Dr. Sperber. Our mohel, who was
Yemenite, told us that this misheberach is said at every Temani
brit. This fits in with Rabbi Dr.  Sperber's development in his chapter
which deals with Ashkenaz. I also drank from the wine (actually, grape
juice) but it is not clear to me that this was unusual. That's what I'm
trying to find out here.

Aliza Berger-Cooper, PhD
English Editing: editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: statistics-help.com


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 13:10:18 +0200
Subject: Re:  Carrying weapons on Shabbos and Yom Tov

Bill Bernstein wrote:

<<It was my impression that carrying on Shabbos was obviously forbidden,
based on Shulchan Oruch OC 301:7.  But it should also be forbidden on
Yom Tov because of muktzeh and because it does not fall in the category
of "ochel nefesh."  I think we are agreed that carrying in a makom
sakana should not be an issue...  Has anyone seen discussions of this or
knows of any sources?>>

Since Israel has an Army with many shomrei shabbat, the place to start
is with literature written to guide the religious soldier in knowing
what he may or may not do.  Of course, the soldier enjoys the "heteir"
of being in a situation of danger and/or protecting the nation from
possible danger, but halakhic literature on this subject works through
the "regular" halakhah before arriving at a pesak.

The late Rav Shlomo Goren, ztz"l, wrote a book entitled "Meshiv
Milhama," and there is another guide book , "Hilkot Milhama ve-Tzava,"
by Rav Yitzhak Kaufman, used in, for example, the "Makhonim
Kedam-Tzevaaiim", the one-year pre-military Torah study programs for
young men, with an emphasis on precisely these halahic issues.

The question is whether these books are available in libraries in the
United States (my guess would be that they may be found in a handful of
university libraries that specialize in Hebrew books).

Jonathan Chipman

From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 08:21:42 -0600
Subject: Re: Carrying weapons on Shabbos and Yom Tov

Thanks.  Someone quoted Shlomo Goren's psak to the effect that a gun was
no different from a kiddush cup since both are necessary for shabbos.  I
found this statement to be problemmatic in the extreme.  A more apt
comparison would be to a candlestick.  Both are necessary for shabbos but
a gun is worse than a candlestick since a candlestick cannot produce fire
but a gun can (and does and is designed to do so).  And no one will argue
that a candlestick is not muktzeh.

Also, the situation of an Israeli soldier (or even a civilian in many
areas) is in noways akin to an American citizen in most circumstances in
America.  So the first issue is not whether carrying a weapon is
permitted (it obviously is in some circumstances) but whether the weapon
is muktzeh or not.  The answer to that will determine other situations of
permissibility beyond pikuach nefesh.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 16:01:12 +0200
Subject: Re: The Cockerel has Binoh?  Really?

Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>, on Thu, 25 Nov 2004
11:21:15 +0000, stated the following:

      I feel that this idea may need some more development for it to
      work, as it hinges on a cockerel representing the Jewish People,
      and I don't see why that should be the case.

      Any further comments, anyone?

The general understanding of sekhvi--a hapax legomenon--as rooster makes
sense regarding a creature that can distinguish between day and night.

Any such word that is used in Scripture but once is not simple to define



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 09:18:55 +0000
Subject: Re: Cost of Simchas

on 28/11/04 12:05 am, Deborah Wenger <deb.wenger@...> wrote:
> I'm writing this on a day when many of us are sitting down with our
> loved ones and giving thanks for what God has given us. At the same
> time, let us not forget those who are not as fortunate as we are.

Unfortunately Deborah's comments are all too true. There is a terrible
insensitivity to the difficulties that many people have.

There is also a tendency among the more affluent to 'bid up' the
extravagance of simchas. This hits the middle income families hardest;
the very poor are often helped by charitably minded communal activists
but those who normally can just about make ends meet feel pressured to
conform to social expectations. Their children mix with those with
greater resources without realising the difference in incomes. They feel
let down if they cannot have a wedding celebration like their friends',
which puts further stress on their beleaguered parents.

This can be exacerbated when one of their children marries into a more
affluent one and the latter expect the same contribution to the wedding
expenses as they wish to make. The Agudah has come out against excessive
spending on weddings but even their guidelines on maximum expenditure
appear on this side of the pond to allow very elaborate affairs but then
perhaps we are not as well-to-do as our US cousins.

While anyone is entitled to spend as much of their own money on a
simchah, perhaps they should consider the effect it has on society as a
whole. What do others on mail-jewish think can be done?

Martin Stern


From: David and Toby Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 15:32:23 +0200
Subject: Effective Prayer

From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich:
> Lack of desire - I wish I knew how to set a soul on fire. A number of
> suggestions were made (intellectual-read a book like Kavanah,
> experiential-daven with people to whom "it works") (FWIW standing next
> to avi mori vrabi ZLL"HH and reading R" Soloveitchik ZT"L on tfila are
> responsible for whatever small success I have with tfila
> btzibbur/tfilat hatzibbur)"

I work at the main office of the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem. Until
recently the Attorney General was Elyakim Rubenstein, an Orthodox Jew, a
talmid chacham, and a real mensch. When ever he was in the office, he
would daven mincha with all the workers.

After seeing him there for several weeks, I had to approach him. I said,
"I have small issues on my mind - work, home, etc. And they can distract
me enough to not always pay attention and have sufficient kavana in my
prayer.  You have issues that affect life and death, the future of the
entire State of Israel - every day! How can you possibly clear your mind
of these things and focus at Mincha?" He told me two things. One, he
doesn't always manage to do so. But secondly, he told me that what does
help him is to look at the words of the siddur.

I think this may be the key to effective prayer. A large part of it is
due to Jews who aren't familiar enough even with modern Hebrew to
understand their tefilot. (One more great reason to make aliya!) But
even for those that do, we often pray by without really reading the
words, and sometimes prefer to not use the siddur. Maybe this advice can
help us.


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 08:16:42 -0500
Subject: Jewish source?

A recent post quoted "Let he who is without sin..." Of course that is a
well known New Testament verse.  However, seeing it me reminded me that
I have heard that several "famous" New Testament verses actually are
copied from Jewish sources.  Does anyone happen to know if this is one
of them, and what the Jewish source is?


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 09:30:17 +0000
Subject: Re: Lateness and Guests

on 28/11/04 12:21 am, W. Baker <wbaker@...> wrote:
> As Martin is explaining this, I don't see any particularly Jewish
> resonance to the issue.  It is just bad manners in any society.  If
> asked to come at a certain time, either arrange to be there or decline
> the invitation when given.
> Of course if there is an emergency, that is something "entirely different."

I am heartened by Wendy's reply. After several such experiences I was
beginning to wonder whether perhaps I was a bit eccentric in expecting
guests to come at more or less the time I asked them.

Martin Stern


From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 13:24:20 +0000
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shull

> From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
> Why is it that when one invites non-Jews or not-yet-frum Jews to, say, a
> bar mitzvah, they show up at the time listed in the invitation -- it's
> almost comic when the only people who are there on time are guests and
> those who "don't know any better."

Indeed! Every year our Shul holds an AJEX (Association of Jewish
Ex-Servicemen and Women) to commemorate those who died in the various
wars. We invite local civic dignitaries and those who are not Jewish we
ask that they come at 11 o'clock in time for the Prayer for the Queen,
etc. When he was our MP (Member of Parliament) Dr.  Rhodes-Boyson would
turn up right at the beginning of the Service.  When I asked him why he
came so early, he replied that he wanted to be in Shul for the whole of

Stephen Phillips


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 15:47:28 +0200
Subject: Occam's razor and Benefit of Doubt

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>:
> "Similarly, someone might be late for a weekday minchah or ma'ariv
> because of an unexpected traffic jam. It is those who are persistently
> late, in the absence of specific crises, at every tefillah -shacharit,
> minchah, ma'ariv - weekday, shabbat, yom tov - that make it difficult
> to find some limmud zekhut (justification) other than lack of interest
> in davenning. This comes from the well known principle of Occam's
> razor that the most likely correct explanation is the one that
> explains the largest number of phenomena."

I think that the concept of judging everyone "l'kaf zechut" (favorably)
overrides the concept of Occam's razor in these cases.

When in Pirkei Avot it says to judge everyone "l'kaf zechut" it
obviously isn't referring to a classic legal dispute. In that case the
judge needs to use whatever means are necessary to get to the truth -
and Occam's razor can be applied. But when it comes to when we have to
judge our neighbor's motivations, an area where we are unlikely to ever
reveal the "truth" - we are commanded to judge favorably, even if the
explanation is less likely.


From: Joshua Sharf <jsharf@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 21:31:37 -0700
Subject: Parsha Derash Question

In this past week's parsha, Jacob asks the name of the angel he's been
wrestling with, and the angel refuses to tell him.  There's a drash that
connect "shem" with "sham," meaning that Jacob is asking the angel his
essence.  In fact, he's the Satan.  Since the essence of anti-semitism
changes from occurrence to occurrence, the angel's refusal to tell his
name is saying, in effect, "it doesn't matter what my name is, there's
no universal secret to beating me, you'll have to struggle with me in
every generation."

Does anyone know the original source of this drash?

I know there are other extensions, connecting the angel to the avodah
zarah, but I'm particularly interested in the source of the above

Joshua Sharf
Site: http://www.jsharf.com


End of Volume 46 Issue 4