Volume 46 Number 81
                    Produced: Thu Feb  3  6:21:57 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beauty in Marriage--Seriousness of issue
         [Russell J Hendel]
Calendar Question
         [Nathan Lamm]
February Aliyah Educational Workshops in New York
         [Michelle Berkowitz]
Grammar Question (2)
         [Stuart Feldhamer, Shimon Lebowitz]
Prayer for the State of Israel
         [Baruch J. Schwartz]
Tallit Query (2)
         [HB, Michael Mirsky]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2005 12:06:21 -0500
Subject: RE: Beauty in Marriage--Seriousness of issue

Although the Beauty-in-marriage thread has gone for on several digests I
have seen almost no mention of the seriousness of the issue. What I want
to point out here is that the issue is very serious---this is not like
gebrach or standing/sitting for kiddush. The issue of beauty in marriage
affects whether people go out and convert or become criminals (By
contrast no one has ever left Judaism because of the symbolism in
standing vs sitting during Kiddush).

Let me briefly outline my argument (and hope others take up this trend
of the thread). First let me recapitulate (and refute those saying to
the contrary) that beauty IS a reason for getting married. On my Rashi
website when a problem comes up I advocate using LISTS to study
alternatives and appreciate the power of precedents.

With regard to patriarch marriages we have a list of 4: CLEARLY Sarah
was a co-worker with Abraham (The verse speaks about the soles that THEY
made in Charan (Gn12)). Similarly EVERYBODY knows that Rivkah was
selected for a wife because of her charitableness --- she freely gave
water both to a slave who used slang language as well as fed all his
camels. THEREFORE, if the Bible explicitly says that 'Rachel was
attractive...Jacob said let me work for Rachel your younger daughter'
then that is EXACLTY what the Bible wishes to tell us. It is simply
wrong to read things into this passage that are not there.

What about the Talmudic statements about Rachels greatness: Examining
them we find that her greatness was that she didnt let her sister get
embarassed and participated in tricking Jacob into marrying her. But
this great sacrifice came AFTER Jacob had chosen her. The fact remains
that the Bible explicitly states that Jacob chose her for her physical

Furthermore Jacob had all the problems that people who married for
beauty have. Let us examine 4 of them.

Shimons name means GOD-HEARS. Leah named him GOD-HEARS because GOD-HEARS
that she is hated. What kind of effect would that have on a child?  It
is not surprising that Shimon at least twice gets involved in criminal
activity -- he destroys a city where his sister is raped (possibly
justified but Jacob (Gn49) criticizes Shimon for doing it out of temper
and hotheadedness) and a statitsical analysis by Rav Hirsch shows that
the majority of people sexually sinning with the moabites in Nu24 where
Shomonites (Furthermore the prince of shimon blatantly slept with a
non-jewess in public to mock Moses (Nu24 Nu 25).

All these are ROUTINE characteristics of children from hated
mothers. The children do not have role models of 'wait and you will
get'. They therefore grow up with anxiety and 'clutchiness'. 'Grab
before someone takes it from you'

We see this in Leahs other children. It is not surprising that Reuben
has to bring mandrakes so that his mother can win an evening with his
father.  The Talmud calls Leah and Dinah 'forward'--not necessarily in
the perjorative sense but in the descriptive sense---Leah because she
was hated had to be forward to win time with her husband and she became
a role model for these attributes to her children.

Even if you disagree with the above psychological analysis it is CLEAR
that Jacob made a mistake in showing favoritism to Joseph the son of
Rachel his favorite wife. This favoritism let to jealosy and attempted
murder by the other children (In passing Chazal say that Shimon headed
the desire to kill Joseph).

It may be you disagree with some of the above but I have listed (a)
shimons hot temper (B) the involvment of his tribe in sexual sins with
moab (c) the favoritism of Joseph which led to attempted murder (d) the
forwardness of Leah and Dinah which resulted in a horrible rape and the
destruction of a city (Possibly deserved according to some).

But I am not talking theoretically here....every day I see religious
people who have been denied --either thru redicule or peer pressures or
the 'improperness of talking about it'--their quest for beauty and
physicality AND then I see these same people either sinning, or ruining
their marriage or intermarrying.

It is of course conceivable that I have exaggerated or missed some
counterarguments. But the above should at least be discussed! I think
there are strong arguments that frustrating a persons attempt to obtain
beauty in marriage as Laban did to Jacob) leads to extremely serious

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


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 07:24:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Calendar Question

Michael Savitz writes:

"Pesach must fall in the spring, but it is certainly not the case that
R"H "must fall in the autumn".  The most recent R"H was on September
16-17, and the equinox occurred on September 22.  Even Sukkot sometimes
begins before the equinox (which occurs on September 22 or 23).  In
1994, 1975, 1956, 1937, etc.  (i.e. every 19 years) the first day of
Sukkot was on September 20, and in 2013 Sukkot will begin on September
19.  Or do you mean a different (halachic?)  definition of "in the

I meant a broader definition, as in "Tishrei must fall toward the end of
the growing season." Sukkot, of course, is a harvest festival, as the
Torah says.  Autumnal equinox notwithstanding, Rosh Hashana must fall at
a certain time of the year (as must Pesach and Shavuot, also linked to
harvests). And the seasons, of course, most closely match the secular
calendar (to be more accurate, vice versa).


From: Michelle Berkowitz <lmberko@...>
Date: Tue, 01 Feb 2005 14:05:15 +0200
Subject: February Aliyah Educational Workshops in New York

Religious Education and Aliyah:

 Finding Your Way Through the Israeli School System

Education can be one of the most challenging aspects of aliyah.  This
session will help prepare parents and children for the move by
identifying some of the more significant differences between the Israeli
religious educational system and that of hutz la'aretz.  We will report
facts, evaluate certain trends and attitudes, and makes suggestions for
finding the right school for your children.

Presenter:  Michelle Berkowitz

Michelle Berkowitz is a MaLaCH (Madricha L'Tichnun CHinuchi),
Educational Consultant, practicing in Beit Shemesh and
Jerusalem. Michelle has a B.S.  in Speech Therapy and Audiology and a
Masters Degree in Jewish Education.  Michelle has taught in four
continents, has directed and run an English preschool program and taught
in post high school programs in Israel.

Michelle Berkowitz is a MaLaCH specializing in helping teens and their
parents in their search process for the right school, organizes high
school fairs, advises parents who are considering aliyah, and
specializes in finding high schools for preteens/teens. She publishes
handbooks to assist the search and continues to provide private
counseling educational services, also in conjunction with AACI, Tehilla
and Nefesh B'Nefesh.

In addition, potential Olim can schedule private consulations about
their children's educational needs between February 6-13. Appointments
can be made by contacting Michelle at <lmberko@...>

Tehilla Members : Free Admission
Non - Members : $5 per person

Sessions will be given at the following locations-

Flatbush:          Sun., February 6, 2005     8:00 PM
West Hempstead:    Mon., February 7, 2005     8:30 PM
Queens:            Tues., February 8, 2005    8:30 PM
Highland Park:     Thu., February 10, 2005    8:00 PM
Manhattan:         Sat., February 12, 2005    8:00 PM
Teaneck:           Sun., February 13, 2005    10:30 AM
                   Sun., February 6, 2005     8:00 PM

[For additional information, please contact Michelle]

Michelle Berkowitz
Madricha L'Tichnun Chinuchi
Educational Consultant
E-Mail: <LMberko@...>


From: Stuart Feldhamer <Stuart.Feldhamer@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 11:20:51 -0500
Subject: RE: Grammar Question

Can one of the 13 or so people who responded to the grammar question
please provide a source for the assertion that the "vav hamehapechet"
ceases to perform the function of making the word be in the future tense
if it is pronounced incorrectly?

Stuart Feldhamer

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Wed, 02 Feb 2005 23:39:58 +0200
Subject: Re: Grammar Question

> (incidentally this is also one
> example where one can use the "context-sensitive expressionist" approach
> in leining by singing the word like the noise that a sheep makes - "BA -
> a-a-a-a-a" - which the r'via trop also facilitates!)

I never heard the term "context-sensitive expressionist" before, but my
favorite example of it would have to be Shmuel's rhetorical question to
Shaul: "U-Meehhhhhh kol hatzon hazeh", "what"/"meeehhh" is this sound of
sheep. (Shmuel I, 15:14)

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 13:30:43 +0200
Subject: Prayer for the State of Israel

In my opinion, having the person/s holding the Sefer/Sifre Torah stand
next to the shaliah tzibbur during the Prayer for the State of Israel,
thus requiring all present to stand, is not a clever way of misleading
the authorities into thinking we are honoring them, nor is it a way of
tricking people who don't attach importance to praying for the welfare
of the Jewish state into standing up, nor is it a way of enabling us to
accommodate those who would like to remain seated by giving them
Hagbahah rather than create an unpleasant scene. Rather, I think, it is
a statement-- something to this effect:

"In this congregation, we view the existence of the State of Israel as
being of supreme religious importance. Indeed, the Torah did exist for
thousands of years without our having Medinat Yisrael, but that was an
unnatural, inferior situation--for the Torah, for the Jewish people, and
for God Himself. This intolerable situation has finally begun to be
rectified, and in this congregation we acknowledge that fact. We are
full of reverent gratitude to Him who made this miraculous event
possible, we solemnly recall those who sacrificed, and continue to
sacrifice, in order to make it happen, and we consider it our duty to
pray earnestly for the security and prosperity of Israel on a regular,
communal basis. We do not hide this conviction, nor do we attempt to
"accommodate" those who feel otherwise; we are proud of it and consider
it to be an essential part of Jewish religious life to display it and
express it in full--now, and permanently. We consider the prayer for the
welfare of the State of Israel to be one of the most solemn moments of
Shabbat worship, and we therefore accord it the highest possible level
of reverence."

A small footnote to my neighbor Sholom Parnes' remarks in M-J 46/78: At
the Rimon Central Synagogue in Efrat (in accord with guidelines set long
ago by the local rabbi, Shlomo Riskin), the Torah-holders stand next to
the hazzan for this prayer, the prayer for the soldiers, and the prayer
for the MIA's -- as of course for the community El Maleh prayers at
Yizkor and other similar solemn events.

Baruch J. Schwartz


From: HB <halfull2@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 11:12:48 -0500
Subject: Tallit Query

A 20 pound silver atara should hold down all but the silkiest of

From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 10:56:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Tallit Query

Avi Heller asked how to keep a Tallit from constantly slipping off.

One technique which I use is to roll the sides on your shoulders so that
they are under the rest of the tallit.  The weight of the tallit on top
of them holds it into place.  (I think I've seen this in Chassidishe
shuls - don't know if it's a minhag or just good practice!)

Michael Mirsky  <mirskym@...>

[I believe that is the Chabad minhag. Avi]


End of Volume 46 Issue 81