Volume 46 Number 67
                    Produced: Wed Jan 19  6:20:33 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beauty in Marriage
         [Russell J Hendel]
Cost of Simchas
         [Bernard Raab]
Costs of Simchas
         [Tal Benschar]
Costs of Wedding
         [Akive Miller]
Igrot Moshe
         [Martin Stern]
Imitation Treif Food
         [Arnie Kuzmack]
Population Explosion in Egypt
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
Rav Moshe Feinstein
         [Mark Steiner]
Shabbat Shalom as a Greeting
         [David Curwin]
Sharing Wedding Costs
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
         [Bill Bernstein]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 15:21:54 -0500
Subject: Beauty in Marriage

Chip writes, regarding my advocating encouraging (with caution) requests
for beauty in marriage, as follows:

>>        I actually got into some difficulty because of this. When I was
>in my early 20's and people/shadchun would ask me what I was looking for
>in a mate I responded with "sensuality , common sense and backbone". I
>was surprised when a Rabbi who was also a bit of a shadchen responded
>that he bet I didn't get setup too much, which was true. He said I
>shouldn't mention sensuality which I thought was silly since a major
>component of marriage is having sexual relations, which should require
>that there was a sensual attraction.  He said true, but that people in
>BoroPark/Flatbush were not willing to hear someone single say that. So I
>stopped listing 'sensualitly' when asked (not that it helped).

This is exactly why I brought up this thread. How many Chips are there
out there. More important how many 'Boro Parks' and 'Flatbushs' are
there out there. What happens to the people who give in --- suppose
after they get married they are not satisfied--a fraction of these
people will end up having bad marriages and may get involved in sinful

In passing I provided an answer to Chip and the Rabbi who was concerned
about how it sounded when he asked for sensuality: A seeker can always
say: 'I want a woman who will do for me what Rachel did for Jacob.' It
would be hard to redicule such a request (even in Boro Park and
Flatbush).  The Patriarch Jacob is not the only one. Rabbi Chiyyah said
(discretely) about his selection of a wife: 'It is enough that they
prevent us from sin and raise our children' (Translation: Sensuality,
common sense and backbone). Again let me emphasize that unlike for
Rivkah,the Bible mentions NO personality traits (Middoth) of Rachel,
only her beauty.

I think we have established that there is a problem: I think the next
step is to focus on criteria for talking about sensuality. Let me
suggest three criteria: (a) If ALL a person wants is beauty then he
should be criticized (e..g. '...and what will keep your marriage
together after the first few months'). (b) If a person asks for beauty
and other things (e.g. 'sensuality, common sense and backbone') a good
shadchan/friend should focus on the non-physical without rejecting the
physical (e.g.  'what type of common sense?', 'backbone in what
areas?'...). (c) If the shadchan/friend (for non-religious reasons
thinks that a person is emphasizing physical beauty too much he is still
not allowed to redicule the seeker but he might inquire: 'I know two
women which fit your criteria--one is more attractive and the other has
more backbone--with whom do you want to go out first.')

Just as the act of shadcanuth (when properly done)is a meritorious act,
so is the advice we give each other on mail-jewish a meritorious act.
Therefore I warmly advocate continuing this hot thread.

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


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 14:13:49 -0500
Subject: RE: Cost of Simchas

>Leah S. Gordon wrote

>> 2. Why did you host the wedding in Brooklyn if your family lives in the
>> midwest??  Surely you could have found a suitable environment closer to
>> home...?  This smacks to me of the NY-centrism that I find really
>> irritating in the Jewish community.

> to which Nadine Bonner replied:

>1. The prices are much higher in the midwest because they don't have the
>abundance of kosher facilities. The quotes I got were so high that when
>the chossan and kallah said they would rather have the wedding in NY
>because they were living there and so were their friends, I ended up
>saving a bundle.

We lived in Maryland when our daughter was getting married. We visited
basically all the kosher caterers in Washington, Baltimore and suburbs.
We asked each one if they could provide a choice of entrees, such as
meat or fish, for example. This turned into a useful test of the
caterer's attitude and capability. Almost all said they could (or would)
not. One offered to serve a "surf and turf" entree with steak and fish
on each plate! (yes, he seemed to have a reliable hashgacha.) The only
one who offered to do it, wanted us to include a card in the invitation
asking our guests to make the choice when they responded!

We then went to New York where we have many friends and family anyway.
The first caterer we met with, who worked in a beautiful Long Island
synagogue, said "no problem". He offered prime rib, roast chicken, or
poached salmon (or all three) to every guest at the dinner without any
fuss or previous notice. Plus his professionalism reassured us that
everything would be taken care of and we would not have to worry about
details from out of town.

He was true to his word, our daughter had a beautiful wedding, and the
cost was no greater (maybe a little less) than it would have been in

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Tal Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 10:37:57 -0500
Subject: Costs of Simchas

Having been married only six and a half years, I have not yet married
off my children.  But the arrangement my parents had with my in-laws for
my wedding seemed fair to both sides:

Each side paid the caterer's per head charge for their own number of
guests.  This included the hall, food and liquor.

The other charges FLOP ( or in our case, FOP) was split fifty-fifty.

Since my wedding was out of town near my kallah's home town, her side
had about three times as many guests as my side did, so they paid more
on the per head charge.

No fighting on the number of guests -- you want to invite more, you pay
for more.

Tal Benschar
Clifton, New Jersey


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akive Miller)
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 07:43:44 -0500
Subject: Re: Costs of Wedding

Chips wrote (and many others have written similarly): <<< Seems to me
that if one parent(s) is footing the bill than they should have veto
power. >>>

I'd have to agree that if the various parties involved are unable to
come to agreement, the one paying can't be forced to pay for things he
doesn't want.

But it is very unfortunate when things reach that point. The ideal
situation -- and it saddens me that this doesn't happen more often -- is
when the parents simply decide how much they have available to spend,
and then the decisions of how to spend it are made by the chasan and
kallah.  It is, after all, THEIR wedding.

Akiva Miller


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 08:30:19 +0000
Subject: Re: Igrot Moshe

on 17/1/05 4:16 am, Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> wrote:

> And other things in the Igrot Moshe are at least difficult, for
> example, can anyone explain, other than rhetorically, the statement
> that Conservative Judaism is "avoda zara" (as opposed to "a religion
> other than Judaism", which is quite different).

The literal translation of "avoda zara" is "strange form of worship"
which can quite fairly be applied to the liturgical practices of Reform
and Conservative places of worship. The Igrot Moshe was merely following
the long-standing Jewish polemical tradition of using phrases with such
overtones to denigrate groups which have broken away from Jewish

Martin Stern


From: Arnie Kuzmack <Arnie@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 15:52:53 -0500
Subject: Imitation Treif Food

Andy Goldfinger wrote:

> ....I work with a woman who is a non-Jewish Lithuanian, and she
> brought in a Lithuanian cook book to show me.  Among the recipes were
> "kugali," which was potato pudding, and "chraini," which was grated
> horseradish.  Of course, the Jews in Eastern Europe appropriated local
> food customs....

Actually, in this case, I would suspect it's the other way around.  The
fact that the Lithuanian word seems to be derived from the Yiddish
suggests that the non-Jews borrowed the kugel recipe from the Jews.  The
word khreyn, on the other hand, is common in Eastern European languages,
but appears to be Slavic in origin.  The Lithuanians could have borrowed
it from the Jews or from Slavic-speaking people.

This is not to deny, of course, that there was plenty of borrowing in
both directions.


From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 19:17:07 +0200
Subject: Population Explosion in Egypt

abh, sheni beshalah

Does anyone know the mathematical formula whereby 70 souls came down to
Egypt with Jacob and in 210 years became several million (600,000 males
of 20 and over plus their spouses and families)?

[Very simplistically, I think you need to pick an average age for a generation,
i.e. how long till having kids, and then what is the average number of
kids per person (or family). If I put that in Excel and ignore all
previous generations, then if one uses 25 years for a generation and an
average of 4.5 kids / person = 9 kids per family, starting with 70
individuals you have about 2.6 million in the generation that leaves
Egypt. Avi]


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 08:55:25 +0200
Subject: RE: Rav Moshe Feinstein

	Rav Moshe Feinstein, of blessed memory, never in his wildest
imagination would dream that he is "infallible."  On the contrary, in
the Introduction to the Iggerot Moshe, first volume, he explains the
difference between "truth" and "truth for the purposes of an [halachic]
ruling]," stating that only the latter is required.

	With regard to blended whiskey, R. Moshe states that it is
permissible because (among other reasons) wine is nullified in the
amount of one in six.  He, however, states that, because his ruling is
controversial (he takes sides in a dispute of the greatest commentators
of the Shulhan Arukh, and he recognizes that other poskim might well
disagree), it is good to have a hechsher on whiskey that certifies that
there is no wine (and glycerine, by the way) in it.  He also states that
he himself does NOT drink blended whiskey at home, but in shul, at a
kiddush, so as not to embarrass the hosts, he does drink a lechayim
(since he thinks that blended whiskey is permissible).  I draw the
attention of the readers, by the way, to the greatness of R. Moshe bein
adam lahavero in this "hanhaga" (behavior).

	Accordingly, the major kashrus organizations are operating
exactly within R. Moshe's guidelines but not certifying any drink that
contains as much as 15% nonkosher wine.


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 20:33:08 +0200
Subject: Shabbat Shalom as a Greeting

> From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
> That same article recounts a vort said by Shlomo Leib of 
> Lantshneh (?) to R. Yitzchak of Worki that since the Shabbat 
> is one unified day, one doesn't have a greeting for Shabbat 
> evening and another for the day but simply says Shabta Taba 
> because Shabbat did not have the words "vayehi erev" as did 
> all the others at the time of creation.

It's interesting that you make that post. I was thinking about writing
something related in connection with the seuda shlishit thread.

I've been learning the mishnayot in Masechet Shvi'it, and they mention a
number of times the concept of "shalosh seudot" - three meals that a
person needs to eat in one day. I was thinking that perhaps that is the
reason for requiring a third meal, even before sundown, is to emphasize
that shabbat is, as you say, "one unified day".



From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 19:45:53 +0200
Subject: Sharing Wedding Costs

bh, shlishi   beshalah

In our weddings we followed a simple formula in sharing costs with
mehutanim.  We took all the fixed costs, such as band, photographer,
hall rental, clergy fee, etc (after agreeing on the ceilings )and
divided them in half.  Our logic was that these were not dependent on
the number of guests. All enjoyed them equally.  And then we took the
total cost of the catering for all guests and arrived at a per guest
cost.  This per guest cost was then multiplied by each party by the
number of their guests and each paid for their number.

It must have been successful because we are still on very good terms
with our mahutanim!


From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 08:29:22 -0600
Subject: Re: Smoking

<<One possibility is that smoking even one cigarette has a chance of
triggering a cancer-causing mutation, and the more one smokes, the more
likely the mutation will occur.  I think the other possibility is that
smoking causes mutations, and cancer is triggered when there are enough
of them. Either way, the proper analogy is not to eating but to playing
Russian roulette, crossing a busy street blindfolded, or eating

By that logic virtually everything should be forbidden.  Practically
every food or other item commonly consumed will cause cancer or some
other disease given a high enough exposure, from meat to sodas to breads
and even aspirin.  And especially chocolate cake.

Just as the Rambam says, excessive consumption will lead to illness.
There has never been a proven link of one cigarette to any illness and
much anecdotal evidence of the opposite.  Indeed, I saw a report about
some recent research positing a beneficial effect of nicotine in
retarding Alzheimer's disease.  That's not an endorsement to smoke, just
to say nothing is so simple.

I will add that the argument "were X alive he would say Y" to be among
the least persuasive.  No one, even a close relative or student, can
know what someone would say in any given situation.  One might be able
to extrapolate from other situations, but it is a guess at best.

Kol tuv,
Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


End of Volume 46 Issue 67