Volume 46 Number 34
                    Produced: Wed Dec 29  7:29:12 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Cell Phone Ban (2)
         [Richard Schultz, David Riceman]
Cost of Simchas (2)
         [<shimonl@...>, Martin Stern]
Internet Ban (2)
         [Carl Singer, Elhanan Adler]
Kashrut Info for Spain
         [Dr. Noah Dana-Picard]
kol Yisrael areivim ze bazeh and Rebuking Others
         [Harlan Braude]
Occam's Razor---Judaism does not agree!
         [Russell J Hendel]
         [Meir Possenheimer]


From: Richard Schultz <schultr@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 07:53:56 +0200
Subject: Re: Cell Phone Ban

In mail-jewish Vol. 46 #29, Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...> writes:

: I remember a question being posed a few years ago about the so-called
: "Internet ban" and why it seems to be ignored by most people. . . .

: Personally, I think the rabonnim that issued the Internet ban were (as
: usual) being pressed by zealots and they (the rabonim) did not
: appreciate the extreme unlikelihood that most people would be able to
: follow such a decreee.

If that is the correct explanation, then how do we explain the general
refusal of those same rabbis to ban smoking, which, unlike the internet,
has clearly proven detrimental effects on the smoker's physical health?

                                        Richard Schultz

From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 09:10:26 -0500
Subject: Re: Cell Phone Ban

>> From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
>> However, the rabbis of Agudah/Degel haTorah in Israel have recently
>> prohibited internet enabled cell-phones.  Makes this a mitzva ha-ba
>> be-averah :-) .
> They have only done this as a "fence" of their general ban on the
> internet from 5 years ago.

I'm puzzled by this.  As far as I know "rabbis" don't have the authority
to ban anything, only the kahal [community] as a whole, represented by
representatives of all its members (not just rabbis) can do that.  Is a
political party a community? Do the rabbis represent all parts of that
community? Otherwise they can only clarify existing prohibitions, not
add new ones.

David Riceman


From: <shimonl@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 10:52:15 +0200
Subject: Re: Cost of Simchas

> Dov Teichman, paraphrasing a lubavitcher rebbe says that there should be
> no limits on spending for simchas for rich people

And I heard that when a Gerrer Rebbe made spending limits, and a well to
do hasid said "but I can afford much more", the rebbe said "OK, so why
don't you go buy yourself a different rebbe?".


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 09:16:01 +0000
Subject: Re: Cost of Simchas

on 28/12/04 2:11 am, Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...> wrote:
>> From: <FriedmanJ@...>
>> Why should my daughter look like she is a
>> pauper, why should I shame my family?
> So the only alternatives are (a) be incredibly creative and industrious
> in order to make the chasuna look much more expensive than it really is
> (b) saddle yourselves with crippling debt to pay for the real price of
> an expensive chasuna or (c) make your daughter feel deprived, look like
> a pauper, and shame your family?

Why is it a disgrace for someone not to be wealthy enough to afford an
expensive wedding? If HKBH has decreed that one should not be able to
afford to spend so much, then that one should spend what one can afford
and not feel deprived. Is it really correct to make an apparently lavish
affair just to impress other people? Maybe it is even prohibited as a
form of genevat da'at (deception). One's child's wedding should be an
occasion for rejoicing in the building another link in the continuity of
the Jewish people stretching from the beginnings of our people until
the, hopefully soon to come, culmination of history with the coming of
Mashiach. It should not be used as an opportunity for vulgar materialist
ostentation or, worse, ruined because of the headache of incurring
crippling debts in order to "keep up with the Cohens".

on 28/12/04 2:11 am, <HHgoldsmith@...> (H. Goldsmith) wrote:

> One way to cut down on the cost is to include on the reply card the
> option of the guests only attending the chuppah. Many people are
> hesitant to indicate this in their reply, but end up leaving before the
> main course is served. If guests felt comfortable choosing this option,
> it may greatly reduce the number of people staying for the meal, which
> is a large part of the cost of the wedding.

In England, weddings in the strictly Orthodox community are organised
slightly differently to the US and Israel. Here the chuppah is usually
followed by a relatively simple reception in the afternoon and the
dinner is held later often at a different location. One then has the
option of inviting 'everybody' to the former and thereby restricting the
numbers at the latter which tends to be the major cost.

One can also invite people, mainly friends of the young couple, for
sheva berakhot much later in the evening. Since they come more for the
dancing than anything else the level of refreshments offered can also be
relatively modest.

Having acted as mashgiach at some 'fancy' weddings I have noticed that a
large part of the food is not consumed and is simply thrown out at the
end which might partially explain the excessive charges made for the
catering.  This might also possibly violate the prohibition of bal
tashchit (unnecessary waste).

Martin Stern


From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 21:03:29 -0500
Subject: Internet Ban

Not to be more disrespectful than usual -- but let's get back to
jurisdictional issues : If MY Rabbi tells me something then that's one
thing -- if another Rabbi makes a general statement to his "flock" --
what are the implications.

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.
70 Howard Avenue
Passaic, NJ  07055-5328

From: <elhanan@...> (Elhanan Adler)
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 08:19:00 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Internet Ban

>From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
>I remember a question being posed a few years ago about the so-called
>"Internet ban" and why it seems to be ignored by most people.  There
>didn't seem to be much discussion in response.  Maybe it's time to
>revive that question.

At the time, I was contacted by the "Special Internet Bet Din" (or some
such name) in Bnei Brak which apparently was authorized to give heterim
in cases of need. They wanted to know if it was possible to access the
catalogs of the academic libraries in Israel other than via the
Internet.  The answer then was "not really", and today is totally no.

Similarly, more and more books are accessible only or primarily via the
Internet. The Jewish National and University Library has major
digitization programs which are meant to ensure preservation and
security of rare materials by making them accessible only via the Web
(the added value of this is that it also makes them freely accessible
world wide).

see, for example:

I can't imagine that the haredi world will cut itself off from the
wordwide digital libraries being created. There will have to be a
compromise - probably based on blocking software or using a 'kosher'
Internet provider as already exist in Israel (however, as we know, none
of this filtering will ever be 100%)

Elhanan Adler                                                     #
Deputy Director for Information Technology                        #
Jewish National and University Library                            #
P.O.B. 39105, Jerusalem 91390, Israel                             #
Email: <elhanan@...>, elhanana@savion.huji.ac.il           #


From: Dr. Noah Dana-Picard <dana@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 12:28:54 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Kashrut Info for Spain


I plan to attend a professional conference in Spain, in a place where
there is no Jewish community.  Does somebody know about a list of Kosher
food available in spanish regular supermarkets?

Thanks a lot,

Dr Thierry Dana-Picard
Department of Applied Mathematics
Jerusalem College of Technology - Machon Lev
Jerusalem 91160


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 08:12:34 -0500
Subject: RE: kol Yisrael areivim ze bazeh and Rebuking Others

> And while you rebuke other Jews, and cause sinat chinom,
> because you had the temerity to judge your fellow man, which
> you have no right to do, you are taking care of Hashem's
> business, which is not yours to take care of.

Sounds like we may be throwing out the baby with the bathwater here.

Perhaps 'rebuke' is too strong a term to use when translating
"hochayach, tocheeyach" if it conjures up images or recollections of
sarcastic, pedantic or inappropriate "corrections". But it doesn't have
to be that way.

This is a mitzvah that requires finesse, empathy and insight (not
necessarily in that order). When done properly, it accomplishes just the
opposite of what is described above.

This may be anecdotal, but I've seen it done properly and it was really
a wonderful experience for all involved.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 22:08:09 -0500
Subject: RE: Occam's Razor---Judaism does not agree!

I am a bit surprised about the length of the LATENESS-TO-SHULE thread.
I guess this reflects that the problem happens often.

Recently several postings brought in Occams razor--the idea that you
take the simplest explanation that fits the facts. Judaism rejects
Occams razor as the following Talmudic story clearly shows

A Rabbi was with his students in his market place. He excused himself.
The students watched as the Rabbi approach some prostitutes. He spoke to
them for a while. Then he went into a house with one of them. When he
came out he asked the students what they thought when they saw him
approaching the prostitutes. "We thought you were inquiring about Jewish
captives who are frequently made into prostitutes." The teacher then
inquired about what they thought when he went into a house with one of
them. "We thought that you had located somebody and were making payment
arrangments for her release." The teacher replied: May God be praised:
That is exactly what happened.

Legally: The concept of inference from observations is governed by laws
of judging favorably (Which have been touched on in this thread). One is
obligated to judge favorably a righteous person EVEN when the actions
speak to the contrary. Similarly one is obligated to judge disfavorably
a sinner EVEN when the actions speak to the contrary. A
middle-of-the-road person is judged by actions.

Now Occam would undoubtedly have looked at the simplest explanation of a
person speaking with prostitutes and then going into seculsion with
them.  But Judaism rejects occam--it says that we must consider his
personality and let it override inferences. (Perhaps Occam could retort
that we look at BOTH the present instance and the totality of his
life...but then Occam is admitting that his principle of simplicity may
have to be overridden by more complex data needs).

Let us return to the synagogue issue. I have spent my whole life going
to synagogues. I know what it is like in the morning to try and get a
minyan. A person who comes to synagogue in the morning is not
middle-of-the-road person. He leans towards righteousness. It is our
obligation to judge him favorably.

Let me put it another way: Suppose this person was going with somebody
and someone inquired from you about him. Wouldnt it be slanderous to say
that this person comes late to minyan. Rather we should simply say that
he is one of those rare individuals who goes to shule every day.

I think this thread has missed the REALITY of shule going---people by
and large dont go to shule during the week...if someone does go what
difference does it matter whether he is on time or not.

I have in a previous post on this matter suggested that the law does not
even require us to be in shule on time. We are obligated to say Shma and
Shmoneh esray with the congregation!

Allow me to give some insights from the past few months at the shule
where I now go in the morning.  Sometimes people are late: So we work
around it--we say Rabbi Ishmael and Mizmor Shir after the davening so
people who missed a kaddish can get it back. One or two of the people
must get to work around 8 and things are tight on Monday and
Thursday....we always go out of our way to make sure they can leave if
they have to.

In short....our discussions should not be on judging people....our
discussions should be on the opportunities for kindness and social
interaction. I for one would like to see this thread continue with
real-life stories.

Enough for now (or I will get up late for minyan tomorrow!). I really
think we have missed the boat on this thread. Judaism has very definite
ideas on how and what we may judge.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.rashiyomi.com/


From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 11:35:14 -0000
Subject: Re: Reuven

Nachman Yaakov Ziskind asks:>
> How does one reconcile parshah Vayeitze's chronology that Reuven was
> conceived after Yaakv married Rochel with parsha Vayechi's statement (as
> explained by Rashi) that Reuven was conceived from the first drop of
> Yaakov's strength?

The Riv"a (Rabbeinu Yehuda bar Eliezer - 13th/14th Century CE) already
raises this difficulty but does not provide any answer


End of Volume 46 Issue 34