Volume 46 Number 14
                    Produced: Tue Dec  7  3:06:12 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Carrying weapons on Shabbos and Yom Tov
         [Frank Silbermann]
Correctness of old sifrei Torah
         [Ben Katz]
Cost Of Simchas
         [Bill Bernstein]
Darkei Emoree
         [Ira Bauman]
Expecting Perfection
         [Binyomin Segal]
Men displacing women in the women's section of the shule
         [Martin Stern]
Passing wine to mother during/after a brit (2)
         [Lawrence Myers, Abbi Adest]
Red strings and normative Judaism
         [Abie Zayit]
Seating Problems
         [Harlan Braude]
When mourning (r"l) commences
         [Carl Singer]


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2004 11:40:39 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Carrying weapons on Shabbos and Yom Tov

Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...> V46 N04:

> 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 don't believe Rv. Goren considered the kiddush cup to be a firearm's
closest analogy.  I think he was just trying to emphasize in the
strongest way possible that a defensive firearm is not to be considered
mukseh on Shabbas.

> 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.

On the other hand, even though firing a gun and lighting a candle are
both forbidden on Shabbas except in cases of Pikuach Nefesh (saving
life), a candlestick is not normally intended for Pikuach Nefesh whereas
a weapon in the hands of an observant Jew exists _only_ for the sake of
preserving innocent life.

Also, a candlestick is pretty much useless except for its role in
Shabbas-prohibitied work, whereas even an unfired gun can save life by
deterring evildoers.  Deterring evildoers without firing falls outside
the category of shabbas-prohbited melacha; the Talmud tells us that a
vessel with two uses -- one permitted on Shabbas and one forbidden -- is
not mukseh.

In fact, one might argue that deterrence is the primary purpose of the
firearm, in that evildoers are less often shot than they are deterred by
the possibility of being shot.  Deterring them is our preference;
shooting them is merely a backup plan; so one might argue that the
permitted use of a gun on Shabbas is in fact its primary use.

> 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.

I think it is quite clear that Rv. Goren did not rely on Pikuach Nefesh
in permitting soldiers to carry firearms on Yom Tov or within an eruv on
Shabbas, but rather argued that a gun is not mukseh.

Had he merely given a heter to soldiers based on Pikuach Nefesh, perhaps
some very pious soldiers might choose to be strict with themselves and
not rely on it when they felt the danger to be remote -- one day leading
to unnecessary disaster on the day when their feelings of security
turned out to be wrong.

Frank Silbermann        New Orleans, Louisiana          <fs@...>


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Sun, 05 Dec 2004 10:20:41 -0600
Subject: Re: Correctness of old sifrei Torah

>From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
>When the computer examination of Sifrei Torah began about 15 years ago,
>I remember hearing that of the first 100 checked, not a single one was
>kosher.  If this is correct, the obvious conclusion would be that the
>Rambam and the Chazon Ish (just as examples) most likely never heard a
>"kosher" Torah reading....Hard for me to accept.
>Do the standards change with the improvement of the checking technology?

         They shouldn't, just like one does not need to worry about
microscopic bugs in food.  Sifray Torah were never meant to be checked
by computers that are so exacting and have no "judgement".

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2004 11:59:58 -0600
Subject: Re:Cost Of Simchas

Several people have written about scaled down simchas that were nicer
than a lot of more expensive ones.

There is a fellow here who spent WW2 in Matthausen and after the war
ended up in a DP camp.  There he met a woman and they decided to marry.
He told me what the chasuna was like.  He borrowed a jacket from
someone.  Someone else "gave" him the ring.  Someone else hand copied a
kesuva.  The rabbi was the mesader kiddushin and afterwards he gave back
the jacket and the ring.  Maybe someone made a cake and there was a
l'chaim.  That was it.  That couple has been married now almost 60
years.  I somehow doubt the absence of a caterer or Viennese table has
seriously impinged their marriage.  While I might advocate a little more
than this. it is important to keep in mind the minimum it takes to get

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2004 13:39:35 EST
Subject: Re: Darkei Emoree

      "why do we single out the Emoree and not the many other Canaanite
      nations whenever we are forbidden to emulate non-Jewish conduct."

Perhaps, we are reading too much into the selection of Emori to
represent superstitious practice in Halacha.  The choice may be more
serendipitous than we suspect.  After all we know that the Netherlands
is not the only place that restaurant checks are divided up, Mexico is
not the only place we might find a stand off, not only asians are
disorganized enough to be involved in a Chinese Fire Drill and conjoined
wins usually don't hail from Thailand.

Ira Bauman


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2004 02:39:07 -0600
Subject: Re: Expecting Perfection

In my previous post, I made the mistake of being flip. I quoted a source
I knew to be irrelevant to a discussion of Jewish principles, rather
than carefully evaluate the issues. Let me try again.

It is my contention that the right to correct another person's actions
stem only from the responsibility to do so. If I do not have the
responsibility to correct your actions, I do not have the right to do
so. There are two basic sources for this responsibility: chinuch
(education) and tochecha (rebuke).

Our discussion has focused on community members correcting others in
their community. This clearly falls under the rubric of tochecha. But
the mitzva of tochecha is severely limited. There is a broad consensus
that the mitzva can and should only be fulfilled when the rebuker is
CERTAIN s/he will cause no damage in the rebuking. That is almost never
the case. It is certainly not the case when the motivation for rebuke is
personal - you are bothering ME when you don't come to shul on time.

Absent the responsibility, it is not permitted to rebuke a person.

Further, I will agree with Ben Katz:
> I do not believe there is technically even a Jewish idea of hypocrisy.
> In other words, if I rebuke someone for not keeping kosher,
> technically it makes no difference whether I myself keep kosher.

Further, I would bring this around to the earlier conversation and use
it as a support for my point. Just because a rebbe does not come to shul
on time, indeed is unwilling to accept rebuke in this regard, does not
mean he does not deserve the title of rabbi. Rabbi does not mean
"perfect". Judaism recognizes that no one is perfect, and therefore
hypocrisy is at some level encouraged - even if you do x wrong, do y

I am, however, troubled that while some have commented on my unfortunate
flippancy, no one has yet commented on my basic contention. We can not
expect our teachers to be perfect - and doing so is unfair to them, and
sets everyone up for failure. Judaism is about striving for perfection,
not reaching it.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 05 Dec 2004 20:50:26 +0000
Subject: Re: Men displacing women in the women's section of the shule

on 5/12/04 4:58 am, Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...> wrote:
> Perhaps I was unclear in my original posting - the woman was praying
> outside because she would not go in to the women's section as long as
> there were men there. Once I told them that a woman was outside, waiting
> for them to move, they did so.
> However, your statement that a woman in such a situation "should have
> entered the women's section", while it may be correct "legally", just
> does not work. I know of women (my own wife included) who simply will
> not do such a thing (even when I urged her to)

The real problem is that the ezrat nashim is almost never used by women
during the week so some men feel entitled to take it over. This will
only be solved if women come during the week to daven there. Perhaps
those who do not have dependent children, i.e. single girls or those
whose children have grown up should arrange a rota to come to shul on
weekday mornings and evenings so that it is in regular use. After all,
though they are not obligated to participate in public tefillah, they
are entitled to do so and have the advantage of their prayers being more
readily answered.  Furthermore, the majority opinion is that women are
obliged to say at least the shacharit and minchah shemonei esrei and the
minority only exempts those who are prevented by their domestic
responsibilities. Surely this is a halachically entirely acceptable way
of asserting women's rights and participating in the synagogue service.

Martin Stern


From: Lawrence Myers <lawrence@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2004 09:44:40 -0000
Subject: Passing wine to mother during/after a brit

AFAIA, at all britot I've been to in London UK, whether in Shul or at
home, the wine goblet is sent to the mother to drink from after the
completion of the berachot.

Lawrence Myers

From: Abbi Adest <abbishapiro@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2004 12:13:24 +0200
Subject: Re: Passing wine to mother during/after a brit

Gil Student <gil_student@...> wrote:
<<I've never seen it done and I'm not sure how it could be done, since
according to the Rama (YD 285:11) the mother is not supposed to enter
the men's section of the shul.>>

It's not clear to me why a designated couple who do not have an issue
with niddah couldn't pass the wine to the mother in the women's section
or the wine could be brought to the mother in the "recovery" room
immediately after the brit.

Abbi Adest


From: <oliveoil@...> (Abie Zayit)
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2004 09:13:58 +0000
Subject: Red strings and normative Judaism

Gilad Gevaryahu, writing about "Red Bendeles" wrote:

>>How do we explain the practice among the Orthodox which appears to be
>>specifically prohibited by the Tosefta?

See Rachel Furst's article in JEWISH LEGAL WRITINGS BY WOMEN (ed. Micah
D. Halpern and Chana Safrai)

Abie Zayit


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2004 10:19:49 -0500
Subject: RE: Seating Problems

> > words were "you're in someone else's seat and you should move."

I think this is another example of clashing expectations.

The visitor sees himself as entitled to sit anywhere because he is,
after all, a Human Being deserving of respect, not to mention one who is
also Jewish like everyone else in attendance, and, lastly, that he is
also a guest and guests are to be treated regally. In addition, the
visitor - a person of culture - knows, from having attended the movies
on several occasions, that in public gathrings seating is occupied
strictly on a first-come, first served basis.

The daily congregant, on the other hand, expects people in attendance to
have at least a passing familiarity with the conventions of a synagogue
and the courtesy not to occupy a seat without making an attempt to
determine where one is available. After all (as long as dinner
invitations serve as the model for synagogue behavior), when one is a
guest for dinner, one typically waits to be seated.

If one is a visitor anywhere and is unfamiliar with the local customs,
it behooves one to ask.

I think most people are familiar with the custom of a mourner sitting in
a different seat in the synagogue during the mouring period. What
meaning does that custom have when there's no such thing as an assigned

The other reason for sitting in the same seat each time is so that one
who misses the minyan feels a sense of embarrassment when his neighbors
ask where he was. The idea is to give oneself additional incentive *not*
to miss minyan.

Now, does that give one license to make the person in the wrong seat
feel bad? No, certainly not. There are ways of doing things that
minimized the hurt.

I used to sit next someone now retired to Florida who would invite the
person to sit next to him and then make the person feel quite at
home. Wow, the genius of that man!

Harlan Braude


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 05 Dec 2004 06:11:21 -0500
Subject: When mourning (r"l) commences

I thank Baruch for his information.

I beg to differ with his source re: only one minor point:

"especially in civilized countries, every cemetery has a telephone and
it is possible to inform people in any part of the world of the exact
moment of burial."

Although cell phones may be an alternative -- making this moot -- that's
not necessarily the case

As a matter of interest we used my son's Treo (internet enabled phone)
to download / view a "Kayle M'lay Rachamim" from the web -- as the
Sephardic tradition / siddur didn't have such and we wanted to include
it in the service.

As I mentioned in my initial post, I'm especially curious re: (new?)
customs re: timing of burial, etc.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 46 Issue 14