Volume 53 Number 05
                    Produced: Tue Nov  7  6:29:42 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Collecting Candy on Halloween
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Drishah classes on Family Purity Laws
         [Gershon Dubin]
Fish in Noah's ark
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
Mis-read word in the haftara of Lech-Lecha (Isaiah 40:31)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
The new "will your grandchildren..." (5)
         [Ari Trachtenberg, Shimon Lebowitz, Stephen Phillips, Tzvi
Stein, Ben Katz]
Revisionist Zionism & SSSJ
         [Carl Singer]
Wedding Bands (5)
         [Joel Rich, <ERSherer@...>, Tzvi Stein, David Eisen, Ben


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 15:20:51 +0200
Subject: Re: Collecting Candy on Halloween

> Rabbi Broyde asserts that " one is hard pressed to find a religion in
> the United States that recognize Halloween as a religious holiday."
> That may be literally true.  However, a gentile acquaintance told me
> that in New Orleans, where she is from, All Saints Day, the day after
> Halloween, is observed by visiting and cleaning up one's ancestors'
> graves.  To me, that seems to be a religious activity, Christian or
> otherwise.  Rabbi Broyde's case may be stronger than the one he makes.

Here in Israel I don't ever remember hearing halloween mentioned until
this year. On the 31st leminyanam (according to "their" calendar) the
rav of my Daf Yomi shiur had to run off before we davened maariv, to his

The elder man's caretaker is (IIRC) a Romanian goy, and was taking the
day off for a religious holiday. As my rav said: 'epes yoim hameisim'
(the day of the dead). The man explained that he is not really
religious, but 'this year' he is observing it cause he is still in
'aveilus' for his father.

I told the rav that having grown up in America I had *heard* of it being
a religious holiday associated with the dead, but in *practice* it was
more like Purim in a bad mood (especially the evils of 'trick-or-treat',
which is IMHO institutionalized vandalism and mayhem).



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 14:15:46 GMT
Subject: Drishah classes on Family Purity Laws

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
> If over 50% of women do not observe what we consider to be modest
> attire, wouldn't this change the definition of modest attire.  In
> other words, isn't the definition of modesty dependent at some level
> on the surrounding culture?

Only within very narrow parameters.  For example, the lower leg of a
woman is erva in those areas where it is normally covered.  The upper
leg is erva even in a nudist colony.



From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 17:26:03 -0500
Subject: Fish in Noah's ark

>     I find this "Ergo" and what follows [below] completely
>fallacious.  Most see the eating of meat after the Flood as a
>condescension to man's frailty and sinfulness, which God is (kavyachol)
>coming to terms with; note how God makes almost the exact same
>declaration before and after the flood - ki lev ha-adam ra minurav.  Rav
>Kook was a vegetarian and (while not one myself) it can be seen as the
>ideal state of man in gan eden to which we should aspire.

>>Thus, while individual vegetarianism is not "wrong", it would be wrong
>>to promote it as an ideal, something everyone should follow.

>Ben Z. Katz, M.D.

"Most" see eating of meat after the flood as a condescension?

I will agree that some do, but I note that none of the major poskim
(Tur, Shulchan Aruch, and the like) make any point like "baal nefesh
yachmir" or the like, which would support your statement.

Since NONE of them saw fit to do this, I must deduce that a single Torah
giant being a vegetarian means absolutely nothing. Based on your
standard, I could point to a certain Rabbi and claim that the "ideal" is
to wear 100 pairs of tzitzis!  There was another Gadol, a friend of Rav
Kook, who was a nazir. Would you have it that this is now the standard
to "aspire" to?

The fact that a single person did something, no matter who he was, does
not yet make it something to "aspire" to.

WADR, I stand by my position that carnivorous menu's are the ideal, at
least until we have a revelation otherwise.

Yossi Ginzberg


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 12:55:11 EST
Subject: Mis-read word in the haftara of Lech-Lecha (Isaiah 40:31)

I just noticed on Shabbat that most people read the pasuk (Isaiah 40:31)
incorrectly as "ve-kovey Hashem..." when the correct reading is
"ve-koyey Hashem". The letter Vav has no nekudot, and no ta'am, and
therefore should not be pronounced. The problem is that many Bibles and
shul Chumashim misprinted this word and placed the tzere under the
letter Vav, when it should be under the letter Yod. (See for example the
Letteris Bible edition, Chorev edition, Hertz edition, Soncino edition,
and also the Isaiah perushim by Hartum and by Gordon to list just a

For those sceptics who would like to know why I am so sure about it, the
answer is that Masoretic text has it that way, and it is attested by
Tanach Keter Aram Tzova MS, Leningrad Codex and Mikra-ot Gedolot. Radak
and Minchat Shai elaborated on it to be followed by Mandelkern

It should be noted that Koren, Saperstein, Stone, Torat Hayim, BHS, and
Etz Haim have it right.

The reason for this confusion is that this very word appears one more
time in Tehilim (37:9), as ve-Kovey, and by the rules of grammar (Kof,
Vav, Hey) it should be "kovey"and so some simply corrected the Isaiah
text to make in conform to the Tehilim text and follow the grammatical
rules. But, as previously discussed in this forum, we do not correct the
Masoretic text based on Gammar rules.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 10:24:03 -0500
Subject: Re: The new "will your grandchildren..."

Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...> wrote:
>> A friend just sent me a link to the revised (using data from NJPS
>> 2000) version of "Will Your Grandchildren be Jews?"  by Gordon and
>> Horowitz.
>> It is available at:
>> http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/WillYourGrandchildrenBeJews.htm

First of all, it's clear from the exposition and discussion that this is
not a scientific work, but rather an opinion piece; the choice of phrase
underlining and the seemingly arbitrary emphasis on Orthodoxy (e.g. the
distinction between Orthodox and Modern Orthodox, in addition to the
choice of names, is not delineated), etc.

That said, I think that the main table on the first page is highly
misleading.  For one, the populations of the various denominations are
not equal today.  More importantly, there is no reason to expect
intermarriage rates and growth rates to stay static over the generations
 ... there are many very complicated interactions between these
parameters that make any sort of extrapolation ridiculous.  Finally,
from a halachic perspective, if you take 100 inter-married Jews, roughly
half of their kids will be Jewish (i.e. where the mother is Jewish).
Thus, one quarter of the grandchildren will be Jewish, and one eighth of
the grand-grandchildren would be Jewish (clearly, the table is not
following this definition of Jewishness).  If the split is uneven
between intermarrying males and intermarrying females (and there is some
cross-denominational marrying, as is the case), you could conceivably
have more Jews through intermarriage than through in-marriage.

It reminds me of work my wife did when we were undergraduates ... taking
the recent increase of women as a percentage of the entire student body
as a basis, she fit a very nice curve that, when extrapolated, predicted
that there would be no men in the institution by 2030 ... we'll have to
wait and see.

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 15:30:19 +0200
Subject: Re: The new "will your grandchildren..."

> From: Ken Bloom <kbloom@...>
> Average Children Per Family:
> Orthodox 6.4
> Modern Orthodox 3.23

> What are the two groups doing differently that causes such different
> birthrates?

My guess is that lemaaseh (in practice), more of the modern orthodox
practice birth control, which the Hassidic/Yeshiva orthodox (as they are
called in some of those documents) more stringently avoid.

Another possibility might be that the modern orthodox tend to marry
later (or should I say the Hassidic marry earlier?).

Or both. :-)


From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 11:58:25 +0000
Subject: Re: The new "will your grandchildren..."

I would guess it has to do with attitudes to birth control and (a)
whether or not the MO ask a Rav for a Heter [permission] to use it and
(b) if they do, the answers that are given.

Stephen Phillips

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 07:47:54 -0500
Subject: Re: The new "will your grandchildren..."

#1. Birth control
#2. Marrying later

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 11:38:32 -0600
Subject: Re:  The new "will your grandchildren..."

         Birth control, paying full tuition to day school ...

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 13:13:54 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Revisionist Zionism & SSSJ

I (still) don't get it!

Several people have made great efforts via postings and back-channel
messages to regurgitate the definitions and history of "Revisionist
Zionism" -- none have answered my original question -- and that is why a
founder of the SSSJ (Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry) is described as
a Revisionist Zionist.

Was this a gratuitous description, e.g., it so happened that a leader of
SSSJ was identified (also) a Revisionist Zionist -- or is / was there a
link between the Revisionist Zionist movement and the SSSJ?  And what
does this imply?



From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 08:10:56 -0500
Subject: RE: Wedding Bands

>From: <spooch81@...>
> Is there any basis in halacha for a man to receive a wedding band under
>the chuppah? I think I remember reading about this topic in the Igros
>Moshe but not sure where.

It's "pas nicht"!  BTW is there any basis for a woman receiving
specifically a ring?

Joel Rich

From: <ERSherer@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 18:35:47 EST
Subject: Re: Wedding Bands

> Is there any basis in halacha for a man to receive a wedding band
> under the chuppah? I think I remember reading about this topic in the
> Igros Moshe but not sure where.

No. The then-rabbi of the shul I belonged to (some thirty years ago)
told me of a wedding that he had, where the people asked about a "double
ring" ceremony. The rabbi told me that he explained to the choson, who
happened to be a young lawyer, that the ring given to the kallah by the
choson was the "consideration" for her becoming his wife. This legal
term was all he needed to convince the lawyer choson.  The alternative
makes the ring he gave her the consideration for the ring she gave
him. It makes the ceremony no more than an exchange of jewelry between
two people.

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 07:54:48 -0500
Subject: Re: Wedding Bands

It's highly problematic halachically for the woman to give anything to
the man under the chuappah.  The most important halachic element in the
wedding ceremony is the chassan giving the kallah an object of some
minimum value, since this is how he "aquires" her as his wife.  If she
gives him anything, then it appears that they are making an exchange...
one ring for another.  This "exchange" cancels out the value of the
object that he is giving her to aquire her as a wife and makes the
ceremony invalid, thus rendering them still unmarried.  Any gifts by the
kallah to the chasson should be after the ceremony and in a different
place, such as the yichud room.  The yichud room is actually ideal,
because there are no witnesses.

From: David Eisen <davide@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 15:09:01 +0200
Subject: RE: Wedding Bands

R. Moshe discusses the "double-ring ceremony" in IM Even Haezer 3:18
(and to a lesser extent in EH 3:25 and EH 4:13 in invalidating a wedding
performed by a reform rabbi and casting serious doubt on the validity of
a wedding performed by a conservative rabbi, respectively; furthermore,
see EH 4:32, in which R. Moshe clarifies that there is no contradiction
between 3:18, in which he validates the wedding, and 3:25, in which he
rules that the couple are not halachically married, as the former case
involved an orthodox mesader kiddushin and the latter was performed by a
reform rabbi, and in which R. Moshe permits a man to wear a wedding band
after the wedding, though he says that this may be an unsightly practice
for yarei shamayim) - he rules that this practice is forbidden, perhaps
even m'd'oraita.

Also see http://www.ottmall.com/mj_ht_arch/v40/mj_v40i63.html#CTY,
http://www.ottmall.com/mj_ht_arch/v33/mj_v33i77.html#CYU and
http://www.ottmall.com/mj_ht_arch/v17/mj_v17i83.html#CXL from the
Mail-Jewish Archives where some of these sources and this topic were
quoted and discussed.      

B'virkat HaTorah,
David Eisen

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 11:40:10 -0600
Subject: Re: Wedding Bands

What is the basis for walking down the aisle?  Seems to me that it might
have (shudder) came from the host culture.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.


End of Volume 53 Issue 5