Volume 57 Number 81 
      Produced: Tue, 02 Feb 2010 21:18:11 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

18 minutes candle lighting 
    [Joseph Mosseri]
Chareidi Internet 
    [S, Wise]
Chaz"al about the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach? (2)
    [Lisa Liel  Ira L. Jacobson]
Contemporary Composers of Prayers 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
kosher wine 
    [David Ziants]
Mail-Jewish / Jack Abramoff 
    [Joseph Friedman]
Shabbat Elevators 
    [Bernard Raab]
Shidduch crisis 
    [Stuart Wise]
Spousal abuse (2)
    [Shoshana L. Boublil  Menashe Elyashiv]
Thinking outside the box 
    [Rabbi Meir Wise]
Torah Reading on Chanukah 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]


From: Joseph Mosseri <vze4sjnz@...>
Date: Mon, Feb 1,2010 at 09:01 PM
Subject: 18 minutes candle lighting

Most Jewish Calendars the world over show candle lighting as 18 minutes before
When did this custom of 18 minutes start?
Where did it start?
What sources do we have that mention it?
Why was 18 chosen and not 10, 20, or 30?
Joseph Mosseri


From: S, Wise <smwise3@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 17,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Chareidi Internet

Mordechai Horowitz wrote:
> There  are risks in everything.  
> Should we ban phones because some  people use them to arrange affairs?
> Should we ban regular mail because  you can order Playboy to be delivered 
> by the mail?
> At what point do  we say enough is enough of these bans.  And indeed 
> halacha has the  concept we don't make prohibitions the community will ignore...

Well said! I'm glad to see there are other rational heads out there. I've  
been similar things and have been criticizes for questioning the wisdom or 
the  motive for such bans. I feel fairly certain that those who have banned 
it are doing so without first-hand experience and are relying on others, 
which is  tantamount to a bes din [Jewish court --MOD] making a psak [ruling
--MOD] based on second-hand information.  
We often forget that our leaders have been put in their positions because  
other humans felt they were worthy of it, not through some Divine decree or  
prophecy. They too are human.


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 24,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Chaz"al about the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach?

David Ziants wrote:
>I am asking what chaz"al say about the real man that existed rather 
>than the "mythological" version ...

There's no certainty that the man ever existed.  Sometimes his 
historical existence is stipulated merely because the issue is 
moot.  Regardless of whether he existed or not, the character 
described in the Christian books was not Mashiach.  So either he was 
a fictional non-Mashiach or a real non-Mashiach.  There doesn't seem 
to be much of a nafka mina (practical difference).

>The background to my question is that there are some Modern Orthodox 
>Rabbanim who perceive that man as a normal Jew who kept Torah and 
>mitzvot, was a charismatic teacher and he wasn't to blame that he 
>was turned into a false Messiah. Do they base themselves on any 
>early Jewish sources or did they just make this up to appease Xtrians?

In my opinion, and based on everything I have read on the subject, it 
seems that they are either making it up to appease Christians, or are 
relying on popular culture without actually checking out Jewish 
sources, which are uniformly negative about the character.

>Yet it seems the gemarra (in the uncensored editions) refers to him 
>as yesh"u, which can be interpreted negatively. I think that these 
>Modern Orthodox Rabbannim claim that the 'yesh"u' that is mentioned 
>in the gemarra has nothing to do with the man whom the Xtrians 
>believe is the messiah, but was a different person who lived at a 
>slightly later period.  Also there is reference in the (uncensored 
>editions of the) gemarra of "otto ha'ish" [= "that man"], without 
>mentioning any name.

It's rather lame to try [to] claim that there's no connection 
whatsoever between Yeshu and the Christian deity.  Not only did he 
have the same name, but several of his disciples match the names of 
talmidim of Yeshu.  Was the character in the Christian books based at 
least partially on the Yeshu described in the Gemara?  Almost 
certainly.  But that Yeshu far too early to have been the person the 
Christians base their religion on.  According to the Gemara, he was a 
talmid of R' Yehoshua ben Perachiah, who lived around the time of the 


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 24,2010 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Chaz"al about the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach?

David Ziants wrote:
>Yet it seems the gemarra (in the uncensored editions) refers to him 
>as yesh"u, which can be interpreted negatively. I think that these 
>Modern Orthodox Rabbannim claim that the 'yesh"u' that is mentioned 
>in the gemarra has nothing to do with the man whom the Xtrians 
>believe is the messiah, but was a different person who lived at a 
>slightly later period.  Also there is reference in the (uncensored 
>editions of the) gemarra of "otto ha'ish" [= "that man"], without 
>mentioning any name.

This reminds me of the claim that the works commonly regarded as 
having been authored by William Shakespeare were really written by 
his brother-in-law, who was also named William Shakespeare.



From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 7,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Contemporary Composers of Prayers

Mail_jewish had the text of another one [prayer] in Volume 46 Number 92 in a
post dated Wed, 9 Feb 2005.

It is a "Driver's Prayer" composed by Rabbi Michael Graetz and was
printed in the Jerusalem Post 5 years before. It was intended to be
something a little bit different than Tefillas HaDerech,

Naomi Graetz of Ben Gurion University of the Negev said it was
available in Hebrew and English on printed cards.

It's not quite clear when it was thought this should be said, but if
it said too often, it loses its impact and if it is said too
infrequently it might as well not be there. Maybe it depends on the
individual. An idea might be any time a car is driven for the first
time, or taken out of repair or storage after an interval of a month or
the first or nearly first time after Shabbos or Yom Tov.


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 31,2010 at 04:01 AM
Subject: kosher wine

maury (moshe) bach asked:

> On various occasions, I have attended weddings or gone to restaurants under
> kosher supervision that serve (kosher) wine that is not mevushal (cooked :)),
> ...
> Can someone point me to written teshuvot (responsa) that permit drinking such 
> wine?

Don't we have a famous dictum in chaza"l [=our Rabbis of blessed memory] 
that translates to:

Even though (the People of) Israel are sinners they still remain Israel!
(I'm sorry that I do not remember the exact quote in Hebrew, nor the 

I think though, that there is a chareidi [=Ultra Orthodox] /modern 
orthodox divide on our attitude towards irreligious/unobservant people 
especially for those who never received a Jewish education or for those 
who received a convoluted education.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Joseph Friedman <yfriedman@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 2,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Mail-Jewish / Jack Abramoff

FWIW, the famous Jack A. Abramoff was a subscriber and participant on the
Mail-Jewish list in late 1993 to early 1994.


He mentioned on various of his posts to mail-jewish known things (some even
mentioned on Abramoff's Wikipedia entry) about himself - i.e. his work in
Hollywood, his friendship with Rabbi Lapin, etc.

I just thought it is an interesting tidbit, not that it is relevant to
anything. I happened to notice this when searching for something else. Was
this interesting little bit of trivia well known amongst the longtime m-j


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 17,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Shabbat Elevators

Orrin Tilevitz wrote:
> I know that this is a CLOR question, but for those who believe that being an
> elevator is problematic (as opposed to absolutely forbidden), what about the
> following? ...

This recalled for me the shabbat that I spent in a 5-star hotel in Reno NV some
years ago for a professional conference. To get down to the lobby, I went down
the fire stairs, only to discover that at ground level, the stairway veered into
an enclosed metal corridor which led me around the outside of the building, and
finally exited into a parking lot in the back of the building. Of course this is
good if you are escaping a fire in the building, but...not what I had in mind.
And of course there was no way to get into that corridor from the outside. My
routine for ascending was to get into any elevator with other passengers and
getting off at any floor that anybody else was going to that would be closest to
my own. Many times the passenger who I was following would become alarmed and
very wary of my behavior.

The use of magnetic keys is now ubiquitous, and badly needs to be judged mutar
[permitted --MOD] if we are to avoid becoming latter-day Amish. The blanket
prohibition of all forms of electricity is the easy way out. A more
sophisticated approach is long overdue.

Bernie R.


From: Stuart Wise <smwise3@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 17,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Shidduch crisis

Is there really a shidduch [marriage matching --MOD] crisis?
I hear there is a shidduch crisis, and recently saw a full-page ad signed  
by rabbonim with recommendations on age-related issues when making  
shidduchim.  I don't recall if this issue has been raised here, but how can such 
guidelines be issued in the face of what we believe to be bashertkeit [the
notion of a fated match --MOD]? Do  you make shidduchim based on age just
because someone told you to?
I have a single male friend in his mid-30s who has shadchanim tell him they 
 have no one for him.  He's a normal guy, maybe with some quirks. So where  
are all the single women.  A friend of mine involved with older singles was  
surprised when I said I didn't realize that a problem appears to be that 
the girls are more accomplished and not interested in guys who are not on the 
level, and that there are guys who likewise don't want women more 
accomplished than they are. This sounds sick to me.  Sounds like if this is an 
issue, this is what shadchanim should be talking about: ignore what the person 
does, and focus on what the person is. Anyone who uses profession as a key 
criterion deserves to remain single.
Stuart Wise


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Mon, Jan 18,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Spousal abuse

Rabbi Meir Wise wrote:
> Being one of the two rabbis discussing agunim, I cannot let Russell
> Hendel's posting go unchallenged. Again he takes a one-sided biased
> approach to the whole subject and again lays all the blame at the feet
> of the rabbis.

First of all, I would like to give a reminder that the majority of people 
who enter the divorce court are not friendly towards each other, and they do 
not go there to help each other.  Many actually are angry, vengeful and 
feeling put-upon. The better courts manage to work with the couple towards 
an equitable agreement and a reduction of these feelings leading to a 
reasonably quick Get [Jewish divorce --MOD].

Nowadays, in the rabbinic courts in Israel there are two types of Mesoravei 
Get [divorce refusers --MOD]:

The first kind are those who can't get the Beit Din [Jewish court --MOD] to
render a psak [decision --MOD], or where b/c of procedural issues, or
differences in outlook, the Beit Din 
decided to overturn a psak given by a lower court, sending the case back to 
be adjucated once again.  The majority of this type of case are the kind we 
are talking about when we are talking about couples who are still working 
through the process 5-10 years after they first opened the file.  In all 
these cases one side (wife or husband) is holding out claiming Shalom Bayit
[peace in the home --MOD].

I know, from my husband who is a rabbi and family law advocate, of a case 
where the couple were living at two ends of the country for 14 years, and 
still the court ruled in favor of the husband's request for Shalom Bayit. 
HKB"H solved this case by making the wife his inheritor just before he 
finally was going to have to give a Get, after 14 years.

The second kind are those cases that end up in courts where the majority of 
Dayanim hold with shu"t [responsa of --MOD] Maharshdam or Mahari"t.  The issue
is complicated but a short version is that if a recalcitrant husband agrees to
give the divorce if a reasonable demand of his is complied with - then he gets
what he wants and the Beit Din will NOT pressure the husband (i.e. place him in 
jail until he relents, and other legal actions allowed in Israel) - but 
rather they will pressure the wife to accede.

The question in this case is: what is a reasonable demand.  Here are some 
demands, that different Batei Din have acceded to:
(NOTE: not all courts agree to all the demands listed, different courts 
allow different demands):

- That the husband's debts for child support/wife support be canceled (the 
sums in this case usually run into the hundreds of thousands of shekalim 
that the husband hasn't bothered to pay for years).
- That the financial matters, which are  being contested in civil court, be 
transferred to rabbinic court.
- That the wife pay x amount of money to the husband.
- If the wife has already won a financial reward against the husband in 
civil court - that the wife agree to cancel this and not receive what she 
was awarded.

To conclude, the rabbinical courts aren't always to blame, but some of them 
do carry the responsibility for a good percentage of cases of Mesoravei Get 
(men and women alike).

Shoshana L. Boublil

From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 29,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Spousal abuse

SBA wrote
> The problem in Israel is probably worse because of the Mid-Eastern 
> 'culture' of acceptance of wife-beating which infiltrated into many Jewish
> homes.

Well, there are many articles in the newspapers here about violent 
husbands that came from the former USSR. And we (my wife works in the 
Social Dept.) know of quite a few non-oriental husbands that hit their 


From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 29,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Thinking outside the box

[Regarding permitting a fellow soldier access to an army car on Shabbat --MOD]
The ruling of the Rosh Yeshiva of Maalei Adumim, Maran Rav N L  
Rabinovitch [is] in his well known Sefer "melumadei milchamah". He deals  
with issue comprehensively in two places chapter 5 page 43 and the  
specific question on page 68. The book was distributed widely in  
shevat 5753.  The brilliant and incisive thinking of the Rosh Yeshiva is
definitely inside the box!

Whilst we have mentioned "the box" allow me to tell you two stories of  
the sharp humour of the Rosh Yeshiva when he was the Principal of the  
Beth Hamedrash LaRabbonim (Jews College) in London in the 70s.

The Honorary Officers in the synagogues in the UK often sit in a box  
(enclosed pew) in front of the almemar [pulpit --MOD].
At that time one of the first crisscrossed yellow lines appeared on  
the large crossroads at the top of Baker Street with a large blue sign  
reading "Do not enter the box unless you see that your exit is clear."
The Rosh Yeshiva remarked that this might be a good mussar [lesson
of proper conduct --MOD] for those people entering synagogue office!

When the first Chag Hasemicha was organised, the Rosh Yeshiva insisted  
that only the musmachim (the graduating rabbis) should sit in the box  
as a display of kavod Hatorah.

In the middle of the Gemara shiur one morning, an agitated Director of  
the College entered trembling saying that he had the President of the  
United Synagogue on the phone, saying that he would not attend unless  
he sat in the box!

The Rosh Yeshiva told the Director to tell the President that at his  
age he should not be so eager to get into a box!

Kol tuv

Rabbi Meir Wise
back in chilly London


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 27,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Torah Reading on Chanukah

The Minhag of the Torah reading in Israel during Chanukah is that the Kohen
has the first part of that day's Korban read[ing], the Levi the second part, and
the Yisrael the entire day's Korban reread. Outside Israel, I understand
that the Yisrael has the next day's Korban read[ing]. Can anyone explain what is
involved here?

Shmuel Himelstein


End of Volume 57 Issue 81