Volume 46 Number 47
                    Produced: Mon Jan  3 23:06:13 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Coming late to shul -- A Curious Anecdote
         [Chana Luntz]
Cost of Simchas
         [Chana Luntz]
New Daf Yomi program for Palm Pilot
         [Aliza Fischman]
Smoking (2)
         [Bill Bernstein, Tzvi Stein]


From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2005 01:51:21 +0000
Subject: Coming late to shul -- A Curious Anecdote

In message <m1CkOF2-000ejFC@...>, Avi Feldblum 
<mljewish@...> writes

> As far as the discussion of people who are coming to fulfil the 
>(probably) rabbinic requirement of tefilah with a minyan, as to whether 
>they choose to ensure that they participate with the minyan from the 
>portions that were once part of the private tefilah, likely before shul 
>but are now part of shul (birchat hashachar), the custom to recite the 
>karbonot passages, the portion of the service that is meant to get one 
>ready for the main tefillah sections (pirkei d'zimrah), or only from 
>the main portion of the tefilah - Borchu and the Shema with it's 
>blessings, I really do not see that as a critical issue facing Jewish 
>communities today. Those who are there prior Borchu, each in his own 
>time, are fully contributing members of the minyan.

I tend to share your sentiment.  But, to be fair, there is a concept of
zrizus which is one of the midos mentioned in all the mussar sfarim.  As
Avodah Zara 20b states "Torah brings to zehirus [watchfulness], zehirus
brings to zrizus [zeal], zrizus brings to nekius [cleanliness], nekius
brings to prishus [separation], prishus brings to tahara [purity],
tahara brings to chassidus [saintliness], chassidus brings to anava
[humility], anava brings to yiras chet [fear of sin], yiras chet brings
to kedusha [holiness], kedusha brings to ruach hakodesh [holy spirit],
ruach hakodesh brings to techiyas hamesim [revival of the dead].

I am quoting from Mesilus Yesharim [The Path of the Just] the Shraga
Silverstein English translation (since I have it and it saves me doing
my own) on the divisions of zeal (p89):

"The man whose soul burns in the service of his Creator will surely not
idle in performance of his mitzvoth, but his movements will be like the
quick movements of a fire; he will not rest or be still until the deed
has been completed.  Furthermore, just as zeal can result from an inner
burning so it can create one. That is, one who perceives a quickening of
his outer movements in the performance of a mitzvah conditions himself
to experience a flaming inner movement, through which longing and desire
will continue to grow.  If however he is sluggish in the movement of his
limbs, the movement of his spirit will die down and be extinguished.
Experience testifies to this.  It is know that what is most preferred in
Divine Service is desire of the heart and longing of the soul.... "

That is, zrizus in the performance of mitzvos is a highly regarded trait
and a mida [attribute] to which we should all aspire.

That of course does not mean that zrizus is something that should be
done at all costs.  There is a famous story of R' Yisroel Salant who
went somewhere and was told that he could be generous with the amount of
water he used for nitilas yadaim in the morning, and not just use the
minimum shiur, because they had a Jewish maidservant who drew the water
- and R' Yisroel's response was that he did not want to be generous in
his mitzvos on the back of a Jewish girl.  In like vein, shalom bayis is
a big mitzvah, - Hashem was even willing for his name to be erased in
order to further it, and if zrizus in some mitzvos is going to come at
the expense of a mitzvah such as shalom bayis it strikes me as in the
same category as R' Salant's water.

A part of the problem, I think, is that in today's world, while we have 
numbers of people who are financially poor, we are also increasingly 
having people who while not financially poor, are "time poor".  I see 
this in my office all the time, because the demands on lawyers and 
similar busy professionals just keep increasing and increasing with the 
application of technology such as mobile phones and blackberry handsets 
and the use of email to mark-up and send documentation.  So that you are 
finding certain classes of people who are money rich, time poor, because 
the nature of their jobs is increasingly such that it sucks more and 
more time out of them, in a way that was just not possible in earlier 
generations.  And hence just as some people do not have the financial 
wherewithal to spend, some people do not have the time to spend, or 
struggle to find every minute that they spend in the way that others 
struggle to find every penny, by pushing off the other "creditors" that 
are constantly beating at their door (or ringing on the phone or email). 
An understanding of the modern affliction of time poverty, and the fact 
that it only hits certain segments of our population, seems to me to be 
essential in discussing some of the issues raised further on in your 
posting, only a portion of which I quoted above.

Shavuah tov

Chana Luntz


From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 23:43:17 +0000
Subject: Cost of Simchas

In message <m1Cj61y-000vp9C@...>,
>Y. Askotzky Writes:

>After reading about the cost per person to make a wedding in NY/NJ I 
>thank G-d I live in Israel where a nice wedding can be made for under 
>Aliyah anyone? :)

Actually, this is one thing you can get the benefit of without making

We got married in Israel despite neither of us living there (my husband
is from England, and I am originally from Australia, although I was
working in England at the time).  And yes, cost was one of the
significant factors (although there were others) that swung us towards
Israel rather than London.  In the process though we priced up in both
London and Israel and came to the conclusion that there was nothing we
could afford in London that was even vaguely nice (remember this was
being paid for by Australian dollars, which were running at two to the
pound) - and yet is Israel, on the same budget, there was only one hotel
in Jerusalem that was out of our price range, ie we could afford
everything, including a wedding co-ordinator (essential since nobody
organising the wedding was in the country) on a budget of around
US$25,000 (that is all in, FLOPS, dress and all) plus airfares and
accommodation - and yes, one can go a lot lower in Israel, it was just
that after pricing for London, and trying to work out how far we could
stretch, that sort of became our budget.

Advantages of holding the wedding in Israel when you come from chutz 

- everything seems (and is) so cheap compared with what you would pay at 

- you are putting money into the Israeli economy;

- you don't have to worry about people getting upset about not being
invited and making difficult seating decisions.  Anybody prepared to
spend their holiday in Israel around the time of our wedding was
welcomed with open arms (and felt like a special guest to the bride and

- the chossen-kala get to invite all their friends to the dinner
(because even if you, like both me and my husband, have extensive family
in Israel, it is not like being local) making it a much younger and more
leibedik crowd (the fact that both my husband and I had spent
significant time in Israel meant there were a lot of young people there
either learning or living for us to invite);

- you can do crazy things like get married with har habayis as your 

We had just under 200 guests - and I certainly had a terrific time (this
was five years ago).  We figured that if we were dragging everybody from
around the world to Israel (we had representatives from all continents)
we wanted

a) Jerusalem and b) not some hotel garden - so we hired out the Hecht
Synagogue (which is the shul on the Mount Scopus University Campus on
Har Hatzofim - and which looks out direct onto Har Habayis), had mincha
there, the tish in the area outside the shul, and used the various
layers of steps for the reception buffet and the chuppah itself.
Admittedly we didn't count on the wind, which meant the chuppah nearly
took off, but that rather added to the fun - and we have some terrific
shots of us and the sun setting over har habayis.  Then we had the
reception in the Hyatt Hotel which is a short walk from the University.

That is, it felt like (and was) a "posh" wedding with all the trimmings, 
on a budget smaller than the thrifty ones in the UK/US

To give you an illustration of the price differentiation - even after
deciding on getting married in Israel, and having talked to a seamstress
in Israel while I was there I was still convinced that I was going to
get my dress in England and bring it over.  But... a) there was
absolutely nothing off the peg in London that was even vaguely
tzniusdik, don't lets talk about what I might have liked; b) most
seamstresses here will not do a wedding dress in under 6 months (the non
frum market tend to be engaged for years before the actual day)-
although since we had a long engagement by frum standards (part of the
international co-ordination requirements) we would have able to make
something work; c) the cost was extra-ordinary and the only other
alternative seemed to be borrowing something from a gemach. On the other
hand the cost of getting the dress specially made for me in Israel by a
French seamstress was a THIRD of the cost of getting the same thing in
England, and that is allowing for the fact that a) I bought all the silk
and lace here (the seamstress said you can get much better variety in
England and in Israel) and sent it over and b) that *third* included the
cost of me flying out to Israel for a fitting (which time I also used to
sort out the Rabbanut and various other matters).  And I got exactly
what I wanted made by a terrific seamstress.

I would say that third price differentiation carried through to just
about everything we priced - although London is unquestionably more
expensive than America is - which is why all these conventions about not
inviting the friends to the dinner but only to the dancing afterwards
have grown up here. I confess though that I do not like this at all -
especially when, as so often again to save cost, the wedding is held at
one of the hotels near Heathrow Airport, which is a good hour or so
drive out of North London - which means you are making people shlep out
so far an hour or so of dancing, it is just horrible.  At least when we
were asking our friends to shlep to Jerusalem, there is Jerusalem at the
end of it, and they can make a holiday out of it, and we can offer them
a proper meal for their trouble.

The downsides:

- there may be people you really want to have at your wedding that can't
make it (this is true of any international wedding though, even if we
had had the wedding in England, that meant many people from Australia
not there).  In our particular case, there were several of my husband's
close friends who would unquestionably have come if they had not been
having babies around that time (in one case, however, they missed the
sheva brochas we had back in England because she went into labor, so she
could have done that on the wedding day itself).  If you have elderly
relatives that can also be difficult (in our case Israel in fact
assisted, because I have an aunt there, my very elderly grandparents
from South Africa were able to come and be looked after by my aunt, and
Israel is just that bit closer than either England or Australia).

- dealing with the Rabbanut.  This is pretty scary (although truth be
told it went pretty smoothly for us, despite us committing the big no,
no of me turning up to at the Rabbanut without my husband - we weren't
sure if they would accept that "in England" was a good enough excuse or
would insist on us both showing, but in the end they agreed it was not
reasonable to ask him to make a trip from England just to appear before
them.  But it is still scary while you are waiting for them to check out
your rabbis and decide that they are kosher enough - plus they
threatened to go on strike on the key days I had set aside to deal with
the matter, and of course I had a cheap and hence unchangeable flight so
if the strike had gone ahead it would have been a disaster).

It may be more difficult if you are a 10 hour rather than a 5 and a half
hour flight away, but it is something worth considering as an

Chana Luntz


From: Aliza Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 18:35:14 -0500
Subject: New Daf Yomi program for Palm Pilot

As Yosi Fishkin is a friend of ours, I have been smiling following the
thread about www.godaven.com. I wanted to let all of you know of Yosi's
newest accomplishment in order to help Jews worldwide serve Hashem.

I'm pleased to announce that Yosi has just released Daf Yomi Calculator
2.0 for the Palm. Daf Yomi Calculator is a free program that calculates
and displays the appropriate daf to learn for any date.

The program will now work through the end of the next Daf cycle, in 2012
/ 5773. It is also now fully compatible with all versions of Palm OS,
including OS 5.0 and the upcoming 6.0 / Cobalt.

It will be up on all the major palm software sites over the next few
days.  For now, it's available on PalmGear at:

If you'd like him to email you the program directly, email him and
specify whether you want the actual program (145K), or a zip file (59K).
His e-mail is <Yosi@...>

I am posting this offer with his express written (e-mailed) permission.

Aliza Fischman


From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 19:27:44 -0600
Subject: Re: Smoking

> If one sees a friend smoking, is one permitted to take his or her
> cigarette pack and throw it away, or is that Bal Tashchit?
> He rules clearly that it is permissible and may be imperative to throw away
>the cigarettes, because of the demonstrated effects of cigarette smoking on
>one's health.>>

I find this difficult to understand.  It seems to me that the issue of
bal taschis would be the least of the issues here.  What about theft?
What about creating enmity and machlokes?  And if this is the case, what
about people who are overweight?  If I see someone who is obese and
eating, say, pizza, do I have the obligation to grab the pizza slice and
throw it away?  I have a hard time imagining this as a practical psak.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 18:29:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Smoking

> From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
> It is about 40 years since the famous US Surgeon General's report that
> first presented the dangers of smoking to the general public.  Had
> rabbinic leadership been shown on this issue earlier, a generation or
> two of smokers might have been prevented.  One need only spend a short
> time in yeshivish areas in Israel to see the large number of young
> smokers.  I would be interested in knowing the rationale of rabbis who
> refuse to protest against smoking and its harmful effects, as mentioned
> by Akiva Miller (MJ 46:38).

Exactly!  Not to seem callous, but these yeshiva bochurim are allowed to
start smoking with no discouragement (whereas if they were seen going to
a movie, watching TV or talking to a girl, or even listening to a radio
in some circles) they would be kicked out immediately. Then they grow
up, get married, have 8 kids, then die of a heart attack or lung cancer
at age 50 (without life insurance) and I get a letter in the mail
telling the tale of woe of the widow and 8 orphans and pleading me to


End of Volume 46 Issue 47