Volume 46 Number 23
                    Produced: Tue Dec 21  6:51:41 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Checking Tephillin
         [A Liza]
Cost of a wedding
         [Tuvia Lent]
Cost of Smachot
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
Ecology - endangered species
         [Bernard Raab]
kol Yisrael areivim ze bazeh
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Making Recipes Kosher.
         [Immanuel Burton]
Men in the Women's Section
         [Martin Stern]
Mother Drinking from Wine and Brit in the Shul
         [Tal Benschar]
Standing / Sitting during Kiddush
         [Tzvi Stein]
Weddings etc


From: A Liza <aliza43@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 08:57:01 -0600
Subject: Re: Checking Tephillin

On 12/05/04, Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote:

>The difference between gassot and peshutim lies in the battim rather
>than the parshiyot. Peshutim are less robust and can more easily become
>distorted and cease to be square. To check for this does not require
>opening the tefillin at all, only measuring the lengths of the
>diagonals. If these are equal, the battim are still square.

AFAIK, the equal diagonals is a property of _all_ rectangles.  Equal
sides defines a square and thus the sides of the bayis must be of equal
length to be kosher.


From: Tuvia Lent <sld11@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 19:07:29 -0500
Subject: RE: Cost of a wedding

I would like to add my two cents to the current discussion on the cost
of a wedding. I have both boys and girls and writing this so I cannot be
accused of an agenda. There is a certain mindset out there that still
believes we are still in the era where the father of the Kallah has to
pay a dowry.  This is the source where the kallahs side pay for the
wedding and that the Chasans side only have to pay for FLOPS
(Flowers,Liquor,Orchestra,Photography and if applicable Sheitle) came
from.  After having negotiations with my son in laws parents I found
that this custom has reached the level of Halacha Mesinai. Despite the
fact that the hall and caterer ran three times the amount of Flops they
DEMANDED to have the same amount of guest that I did. In addition, they
demanded that we do the Lchaim and Vort and they could invite as many
people as they want because that is what the rules say. Who came up with
these rules? The acrimony has reached the point where we only talk
through the kids which I know is not good. I am interested to hear the
reasons pro and con of these Rules and similar disagreements

 Tuvia Lent


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 21:34:09 +0200
Subject: Cost of Smachot

> Subject: Cost of Smachot
> I'm not worried about my kids, thank G-d they are not spoiled at
> all. They have learnt what is important in life is not the advertisers
> gibberish.

This is a general response to the topic.  Sometimes, I feel that people
are so concerned with costs -- that they forget what is important -- the

B"h I married off 3 daughters.  My husband has, B"H a very large family.
Generally, I invite everyone in the extended family.  There is an
agreement within my husband's family that each person covers his/her
plate, plus a gift to the Ba'al/at Simha (bride, bar mitzvah, bat
mitzvah, groom etc.).  Those that can afford a more expensive affair, do
so, but the guests' gifts are based on a medium expense and what they
can afford.  The result is that every ba'al/ba'alat simha knows that the
important factor is the people, not the money, and therefore the money
received goes to cover the event -- and what's left goes to the simha

I find the Simha of family, especially in the face of the decimation
that the Holocaust has caused (most of my family were lost) very
special.  They know the bride/groom bar/bat mitzvah who is celebrating,
and they are very happy to participate -- and it shows.

For the 1st Simha, my daughter's groom was limited by his Rosh Yeshiva
to a sum of $6,000 for the food, hall, photographer orchestra and bridal
gown.  With the mid-range plates in Israel between $25-$35, we looked
for something lower.  We travelled south and found cheaper halls.  If
you do the math, after you pay for the orchestra (we took the Yeshiva's
orchestra) and a photographer (we found a very cheap, very nice guy), we
realized that even though we could actually financially afford to pay a
g'mach for a dress for the bride -- we couldn't do so and stay within
the limits set by the RY.  I can't begin to describe my embarrassment.
Luckily, this yeshiva is known, so the G'mach was understanding.

We limited ourselves to 300 guests.  Just to get some idea -- I had over
300 guests for my youngest's Zeved HaBat (mostly family), and this was
guests for BOTH sides, for a wedding.

So, 1st were the friends of the bride and groom.  Then, we counted
immediate family.  I think we managed a total of a minyan of friends.
After that -- we waited for cancellations, and we counted them one at a
time -- even inviting people the night before the wedding when a seat
became vacant.  The agravation was unbelievable.  Instead of being happy
for the wedding, I was crying b/c I couldn't invite a favorite aunt.

In our frustration, we contacted other families.  In one case a groom
left the Yeshiva b/c his father, who was a big RY and political figure
in his own right had a guest list of 1000...  Other parents said that
they lied to the groom and bride, and made sure that the owner of the
hall and the others all lied about how much they were paid.  I don't
know about everyone else -- but this sounds awful to me.

There was another solution.  Apparently, the limit was only for the
wedding.  So, another couple had a small wedding, about 100 people, and
then had a Sheva Berachot at a hall with close to 300....  As I told my
husband, we could have had a giant Henna a day before the wedding,
inviting all the wedding guests, and just had a minyan for chupa the
next day -- and the RY would have been satisfied that the wedding was

B"H at my other 2 daughters, the limitations were reasonable financial
considerations (marrying off 3 daughters in 6 months B"H), but, as I
pointed out to the previous RY's secretary -- all the guests that came
to the larger weddings (over 600 guests) all danced and were happy for
and with the couple.  They weren't there for dinner, they were there for
a Simhat Mitzvah.

Why did I share this?

B/c I think that sometimes in our zeal we lose sight of what's
important.  If it's too expensive to give the friends of the couple
place-settings -- get organized and have a buffet with lots of drinks,
cakes and some decent food for them, and make it a community standard.
Think creatively.  The easiest method is to say "NO".  It's harder but
infinitely more rewarding to say -- "yes, but let's work out a solution
to problem xxx".

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 14:07:14 -0500
Subject: Ecology - endangered species

Two years ago, spurred on by a discussion in M-J, I studied the mitzvah
of "shiloach ha-kan" (D'varim 22:6,7) in order to try to make some sense
of the very mysterious mitzvah. I eventually put together a shiur for my
shul on the subject. I concluded that the best explanation for this
mitzvah is precisely to teach preservation of species as a goal for
mankind. The Torah requires that, faced with a nesting bird, that you
send away the mother bird and take the eggs or chicks instead. Very
coincidentally, the very week of my shiur, there was a report in a local
newspaper that environmentalists have concluded that the typical fishing
license is totally wrong in requiring that undersize fish be thrown back
but that full-size fish may be taken. A mature fish is in the prime
reproduction phase and should be allowed to live, whereas an undersize
fish might never make it to that phase. Of course fishermen would never
tolerate that sort of change, but it serves to illustrate, in my
opinion, the wisdom and the purpose of the mitzvah of "shiloach ha-kan".
Unfortunately, none of the miforshim that I consulted suggest this
explanation. But this should not surprise us, since the idea that
species can actually become extinct was not recognized until the 20th
century. In fact the Sefer Ha-chinuch (12th century) considers this
explanation, but concludes that the wisdom and hashgacha of HKB"H has
prevented (and perhaps will continue to prevent) the destruction of any
of His glorious creations.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 10:57:58 -0500
Subject: Re: kol Yisrael areivim ze bazeh

Martin Stern wrote on 12/12/2004 04:00 AM:
 >> As it so happens the version used in the Gemara (Shav. 39a), Rashi (Nid.
 > 13b) and Tosafot (Yev. 47b) is "kol Yisrael areivim ze bazeh", the other
 > version is first encountered in the Shulchan Arukh, Choshen Mishpat 87.20
 > where, however, it is quite clear that the meaning is also the "harsher"
 > one.

Take a look at (top of page 2):

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 12:47:52 +0000
Subject: Making Recipes Kosher.

Does anyone know of a list of equivalent ingredients that can be used to
make kosher versions of recipes?  For example, what can one use instead
of lard or ghee?  (Ghee is Indian clarified butter, especially from a
buffalo or cow, and so Cholov Yisroel issues aside might not need a
hechsher.)  Can margarine always be used as a substitue for butter when
making a meat dish, or is there sometimes a better alternative?  I'm
sure there are many other examples.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 14:39:19 +0000
Subject: Re: Men in the Women's Section

on 12/12/04 12:51 am, Carl Singer <casinger@...> wrote:

> Perhaps the discussion should be retitled "Women in the Women's Section"
> I disagree that women must establish their presence in the women's
> section (on weekdays) by coming (more) often.  They have no halachic
> obligation to to daven with that minyan.  If they choose to do so -- say
> for a yahrzeit -- that's fine.

I entirely agree with Carl that women should not be forced to be
pro-active in the way I suggested; it was more a counsel of despair to
prevent the establishment of illegal male settlements in women's
unoccupied territory.

Martin Stern


From: Tal Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 10:08:13 -0500
Subject: Mother Drinking from Wine and Brit in the Shul

This discussion reminded me of a halakhic position I saw attributed to
Rav Soloveichik.  He held that, ideally, a shul should be used ONLY for
prayer and learning (Torah u'Tefillah.)  The fact that a bris often
takes place in the shul is not a stringency but rather a leniency --
since a bris should be performed as early in the day as possible, and
since the public (tsibbur) is already gathered together in shul for
shacharis, we are lenient in permitting the bris to take place there,
rather than causing a tircha detsibbura.  However, where for whatever
reason a bris is held later in the day, it should not be held in the
shul proper.  (The kiddush room or side room, if the shul has one, is

Does anyone know of anyone who disagress with this opinion?

Tal Benschar


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 15:34:23 -0500
Subject: Standing / Sitting during Kiddush

Many guests have remarked that we are the only family they know of that
sits throughout the whole kiddush, even "Vayehi Erev, Vayehi Boker, Yom
HaShishi".  Some even suggested that what we do is assur.

[I think you can be assured that there are quite a number of well
learned people who sit throughout the whole kiddush. Mod.]


From: Yakir <yakirhd@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 13:06:38 +0200
Subject: Weddings etc

Jay Bailey wrote:
> MY biggest problem with weddings is that 90% simply follow a dull,
> predictable formula, from the minute you arrive until the end. Solve
> that problem and nobody remembers how big the flower arrangements
> were.

I couldn't let this go as, to me (!), it seems to compound the problem it
tries to address.

IMHO the emphasis on form and not on content is problematic. It is
correct that the emphasis should not be on the "flower arrangements",
but neither should it be on changing the "dull, predictable formula" by
some new "shtik" or more refined innovation.

The emphasis should be on giving expression to the real joy for and
significance to the couple, the families and the friends (in that
order). If that is expressed also in some modified external fashion,
fine. But going the other way by adopting new or "bigger" trappings and
thus hoping to engender a "special" occasion is putting the (dessert)
cart before the (bridal carriage) horse.

It is similar to the demand (sic) for changed tefillot/services. Where
this reflects an improved way of expressing an inner content -
good. Where it is done for change's sake in the hope of making the
experience "impressive" - I am not sure it always works or achieves the
true intended goal.


End of Volume 46 Issue 23