Volume 50 Number 86
                    Produced: Mon Jan  2  5:34:10 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beegday Shabbos (Shabbos Clothing)
         [Akiva Miller]
Common Law Marriage
         [Martin Stern]
Nekudas HaBechira (2)
         [Tzvi Stein, Orrin Tilevitz]
The Term "homophobia" and Some Questions
         [Tom Buchler]
Who does represent Jews? (3)
         [Jeol Rich, Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Jonathan Groner]
Who speaks for Carl, Avi and / or Lisa
         [Freda B Birnbaum]


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 13:44:13 GMT
Subject: Re: Beegday Shabbos (Shabbos Clothing)

Carl Singer asked 
> Any sources on non-chasidish communities today that wear significantly
> different clothing (headgear included?) on Shabbos vs. weekday? It
> seems, today, in many communities (for the men) it's the same (or
> similar) black suit / black hat seven days per week.

I don't dispute Carl's observation, but I often wonder... If someone
wears the same thing during the week and on Shabbos, where is the Kavod
Shabbos? Shouldn't we do something to dress better on Shabbos than
during the week? I suspect (and hope) that although it may APPEAR to be
the same style, the individuals themselves do have special Shabbos
clothes, and they do perceive a difference in the styles.

In my non-chasidish (but mixed yeshivish and not) community (Elizabeth
NJ) it seems that during the week, most men wear whatever is appropriate
for their line of work, which is usually what we call "business casual"
-- clean slacks and a buttoned shirt without a tie. Jackets and ties and
hats are generally seen only on those who are the teachers and rabbis,
or (without the hat) on those who are in some other job which requires
such attire. Many also wear a jacket (without a tie, with or without a
hat) for davening only.

Shabbos is a sharp contrast. The great majority (95%? I'll check
tonight!) wear both a tie and suit (not just a sport jacket) and many of
them wear a hat too. Among those who don't wear a hat, many wear a nicer
yarmulka than during the week. Even among those who do not wear a
jacket, it is usually clear to me that they've gone out of their way to
pick a very sharp and nice shirt, l'Kavod Shabbos.

Akiva Miller


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 12:43:24 +0000
Subject: Re: Common Law Marriage

on 30/12/05 12:04 pm, Marc DVer <mdver@...> wrote:
> Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the first Mishna of Gitten explain
> the 3 ways a man can marry a woman, those being:
> 1.  Kesef (money)
> 2.  Shtarr (Document)
> 3.  Be'ah (marital relations)
> If I understand the machlokes correctly, R' Moshe Feinstein holds that
> for Be'ah to effect a marriage the act must be done with the specific
> intention of effecting the marriage, while R' Heinken holds that Be'ah
> done with the intention of continuing a relationship is sufficient to
> effect the marriage.

To be effective, these modes of marriage must be performed in front of
two kosher witnesses. Luckily, in the third case, it is sufficient for
the couple to inform the witnesses that they are secluding themselves
for that purpose and the latter to verify that they were ding so for
long enough to implement their intention! This is essentially the
purpose of the yichud that takes place after a chuppah. If the witnesses
are not aware of their intention then it is doubtful if a marriage is

Martin Stern


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 09:11:48 -0500
Subject: Nekudas HaBechira

> From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
> At another time, one of my Jewish co-workers asked me for halachic
> guidance: His daughter was flying home for Yom Kippur, but was scheduled
> to arrive after nightfall. Otherwise not at all observant, he wondered
> about the propriety of picking her up at the airport on Yom Kippur. I
> tried to explain to him that the rules which govern such behavior are no
> more stringent on Y"K than they are for any "ordinary" Sabbath. This
> puzzled him beyond comprehension, and he went off to consult someone
> more sensible.

If you may allow me to offer some constructive criticism, I don't think
your response to him was proper and here's why.  Everyone ... me, you,
your co-worker, the gadol haDor, etc. struggles within their own
"nekudas haBechira"... the place where their choice lies.  I don't make
a choice every week about whether to observe Shabbos.  I have passed
that nekuda and moved on.  Nor do I make a choice about whether I will
complete shas this year.  I have not reached that nekuda yet.  Neither
of those are within my nekudas haBechira.  If someone would talk to me
about completing shas this year or observing Shabbos this week, it would
only irritate me.  It would not improve me or cause me to choose well.

If I'm on my way from Miami to Brooklyn and I call you in confusion
about which way to go on the Washington Beltway, it won't help me if you
try to talk to me about the Verazzono Narrows Bridge.  It will only
confuse me...  I'm holding by the Beltway, not the Verazzano.  After
I've travelled a few hundred more miles I'll be ready to hear about the

Your co-worker's nekudas haBechira was whether to drive to the airport
on Yom Kippur.  It was not whether to be a frum Jew and keep Shabbos.
You answered a question he did not ask and which he was not ready to
hear.  By helping him make the right choice about observing Yom Kippur,
you would not be compromising your standards or teaching him the wrong
thing.  You are not saying that he's right to break Shabbos.  He was not
asking about Shabbos.

Just my $.02

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 07:20:26 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Nekudas HaBechira

[Note: I modified the Subject line to match Tzvi's in his response on
the same topic, as I particularly liked the chosen subject line. Mod.]

In fact, the issur of melacha (e.g., driving a car) on Shabbat is
technically more stringent than that on Yom Kippur, because the former is
punishable with death by stoning and the latter is punishable only by
karet.  But I'm not sure that matters here or that it's appropriate to
point this out to a nonobservant (not necessarily nonreligious) Jew. 
About 25 years ago I knew of a shul north of New York City, out in the
country, where on normal shabbatot nearly everyone drove to shul and, of
course, back home.  They drove to kol nidre, too.  And while nobody made
any announcements - there was no rabbi - nearly everybody walked home,
without street-lights.   The cars did not move until the fast ended.
Many nonobservant people feel a particular reverence for Yom Kippur that
they cannot feel for ritual practices more than once a year, and
deflating their balloons seems to me more likely to decrease their
reverence for Yom Kippur than to increase it for Shabbat.  In his essay
on chumrot, published in Tradition a number of years ago, Dr. Chaim
Soloveitchik compares the atmosphere during the yamim nora'im in his
father's shul in Boston, populated largely with simple tradesmen, with
that in a typical yeshiva in Brooklyn.  In the former, one could feel the
walls shake, and in the latter one felt - nothing.  Halachic
technicalities are not everything.


From: Tom Buchler <tbuchler@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 10:33:31 -0500
Subject: The Term "homophobia" and Some Questions

>From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
>(A) According to all authorities there is a biblical prohibition "Dont
>do like the Egyptians did." 
> ...
>(B) The Rambam opens the chapter by citing the verse "Don't [even] come
>near to uncovering nakedness" (This is an introductory verse to a series
>of "dont uncover nakedness"). 

Russell, thanks for your overview on these issues.

A couple of questions raise themselves to me: What are the limits and
principles regarding application of the prohibition regarding "the ways
of the Egyptians?" I've only ever heard that verse used to prohibit
things that are not specified, but never to prohibit actions that the
Torah clearly says the Egyptians did, such as set up a FEMA-like
organization with a Jewish director to deal with an impending natural
disaster. (Too timely... I couldn't resist...)

Also, what are the verses specifying the punishments for this
prohibition and the prohibition "Don't [even] come near to uncovering



From: Jeol Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 08:40:33 -0500
Subject: Who does represent Jews?

 WADR I think the real question is who represents HKB"H. The answer is
each of us in every interaction with our fellow human beings (and, to
quote the bard of Avon, to our "own self")

Joel Rich

From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 09:05:03 EST
Subject: Who does represent Jews?

Israel Caspi MJv50n84 wrote:

<<Federations across North America would probably take exception to this
statement and would assert that they are in fact the democratically
elected representatives of the entire Jewish community (at least in
their respective geographic area). >>

Federations in the USA are not democratically elected institutions,
neither are they representative of the Jews in their area. There are no
held elections to Federations leadership positions, and even the
constituents are vaguely defined. It is basically machers and or
philanthropists electing each other. Their work is important on many
levels, but their opinions are clearly nor representing anyone but
themselves. In many places in the USA they are the offshoot of
institutions started by the German Jews over a hundred years ago.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Jonathan Groner <JGroner@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 10:50:34 -0500
Subject: Who does represent Jews?

Israel Caspi wrote:
>[Jewish Federations] frequently take positions that seemingly reflect
>politically correct liberal positions rather than Jewish attitudes
>(about which the so-called Federation "Leadership" seems to know very
>little and seems to assume is the same as any position which may be
>taken by the ACLU).
>Notwithstanding their claim to representation, Federations with which I
>am acquainted almost never reflect the attitudes of the Orthodox
>community -- and I sometimes wonder if they care or even know what those
>attitudes are.
>It is time for those of us in the Orthodox community to let Federations
>know that they neither represent nor do they speak for us.

With all respect, I believe that this can be poor advice for Orthodox
Jews. The federation with which I am best acquainted, the Jewish
Federation of Greater Washington (representing a metro area with the 6th
largest Jewish population in the U.S.) currently has an Orthodox
president, and Orthodox men and women have been active for decades in
Federation volunteer work. At the most recent "Super Sunday," one of the
major fundraising events, I saw representatives of the Yeshiva of
Greater Washington, as well as the headmaster of the Hebrew Academy,
making telephone calls to potential donors. The federation recently
hired Erica Brown, a nationally known Orthodox scholar, as its full-time
scholar in residence; she had held the same position some time ago in
the Boston federation. Erica is a wonderful speaker and enjoys very high
esteem among federation lay leaders and professionals. She teaches Torah
regularly to them and writes a weekly e-mail column on the haftarah of
the week. She, her husband, and four children, are also very active in
the Silver Spring Orthodox synagogue that my family and I attend. All
federation events are kosher under accepted supervision.

I do not know whether our federation's political positions are the same
as those of the ACLU, or indeed whether it takes political positions at
all. I do know that the values that it upholds through the programs that
it supports are the same values that we uphold: bikur cholim (visiting
and helping the sick), kibbud av v'em and v'hadarta p'nei zaken (respect
for parents and elderly), strengthening of the State of Israel, and so
on. Most importantly, the federation represents the ideal of "am echad,"
the unity of the Jewish people, in that it brings together Jews of many
religious beliefs, including Orthodox Jews, on the issues that unite us.

I do not wish to denigrate Israel Caspi's attitudes, which are based on
his personal experiences. However, we should not paint all federations
with the same brush.


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 10:26:22 -0500 (EST)
Subject: re: Who speaks for Carl, Avi and / or Lisa

Carl Singer said:

> Now, speaking for ALL Jews (past, present & future ....) I hereby 
> proclaim -- have a frelichen Chanukah.

Just to show that you can never please all of the people even some of
the time....: in our house we say "have a lichtigen Chanukah"!  (Too bad
plain-text doesn't allow for LARGE smileys!)

And on a more serious note: thanks to Jeannette Friedman for her last
two, about full disclosure to the bride, and the bizarre phone-lines

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


End of Volume 50 Issue 86