Volume 62 Number 69 
      Produced: Sun, 20 Mar 16 16:20:03 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Blocking the Aisle (3)
    [Martin Stern  Gershon Dubin  Susan Buxfield]
Halachically married without civil marriage (3)
    [Martin Stern  David E Cohen  Susan Buxfield]
Inane Expression 
    [Martin Stern]
Mishloach manot inflation 
    [Harlan Braude]
Of samech, tsadeh, and shin/sin (2)
    [Robert Rubinoff  Robert Rubinoff]
Synthetic meat?` 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Tircha d'Tzibbura 
    [Yisrael Medad]
    [Martin Stern]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 15,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Blocking the Aisle

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 62#68):

> Yisroel Medad notes a problem (MJ 62#66):

>> And while we're on the subject, in my shul I've experienced two additional
>> problems.
>> One is someone who insists on stepping out of his aisle seat, and davening
>> Amidah in the aisle,blocking it so that people trying to pass coming in or
>> out can't.  I have taken to gently brushing past, making sure his shoulder is
>> touched, and this after asking him several times to keep out of the aisle
>> ...

> I recall reading of a Rosh Yeshiva who was less gentle then you -- he
> physically removed a bocher from the aisle so he and others could pass. (I do
> not have sources)

Some years ago at our daf yomi shiur, the magid shiur told us that he had
done precisely this on Rosh Hashanah. I may have reported this on Mail
Jewish previously and that may be Carl's source.

Martin Stern

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 15,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Blocking the Aisle

In reply to Carl A. Singer (MJ 62#68):

For those who follow the Dirshu Daf Yomi Behalacha daily Mishna Berurah
schedule, this is quoted in yesterday's portion in the name of the "Daas Torah"
and seconded by Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. (Halichos Shlomo, Hilchos Tefila)
who apparently is more definite on the permissibility of moving the offender
than on walking past him while he says Shemoneh Esrei. 

Gershon Dubin

From: Susan Buxfield <susan.buxfeld@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 20,2016 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Blocking the Aisle

In reply to Carl A. Singer (MJ 62#68):

The Dirshu edition of the MB 102/5 note 29 quotes the MaHarsham that a person
davening in the aisle not only is it permitted to walk in front of him, but that
he is like a bor bireshut harabim [a pit in the public thoroughfare] that it is
permissible to remove since it is likely to cause damage to the public. In the
same note Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach paskens that it is permitted to physically
move him.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 15,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Halachically married without civil marriage

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 62#68):

> ... BUT -- apparently in certain American communities (monogamous) couples are
> marrying halachically but eschewing a civil marriage -- this affords the
> "unwed mother" and her children several welfare benefits as the husband's
> income is not of relevance -- there being NO civil husband.
> I will not discuss either the legality or halachic permissibility of such an
> arrangement.

Unlike the USA, in the UK such cohabiting couples are treated as married as
regards welfare benefits but not for other purposes. 

However, in 'modern society', such arrangements are common and do not raise any
social disapproval. In fact, anyone referring to such a couple as 'living in
sin' as was the norm in days gone by is more liable to be looked at askance as a
'bigot' than the couple themselves. It has got to the stage where one is no
longer asked in official documents for the name of one's husband/wife but rather
one's partner, presumably so as not to embarass those not legally married.

On another point, I believe it is not uncommon for those remarrying later in
life to omit the civil aspect so as not to make complications for their children
regarding inheritance matters but this is a completely different subject from
Carl's 'welfare benefits scam' query.

Martin Stern

From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 15,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Halachically married without civil marriage

In reply to Carl Singer (MJ 62#68):

I have heard that this is a problem under American law, and a rabbi I know well
has told me that he has refused requests to conduct such marriages due to their
illegality, but frankly, I have never understood how a law prohibiting such
religious marriages could be Constitutional.

There are many couples that choose to live together without the benefit of any
marriage, civil or religious, and as far as I know, the State has no objection
to this, or to these people being considered as unmarried in the eyes of the
law.  If the religious beliefs of a couple preclude them from living together in
the absence of a particular religious ceremony having been conducted, how can
the State say that due to their religious beliefs, they have no way of living
together while remaining "unmarried" under civil law, while their neighbors, who
do not share these religious beliefs, can do so with no problem?

-- D.C.

From: Susan Buxfield <susan.buxfeld@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 20,2016 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Halachically married without civil marriage

In reply to Carl A. Singer (MJ 62#68):

Monetary benefits perhaps as is mentioned in


> For example, a single mother with two children who earns $15,000 per year
> would generally receive around $5,200 per year of food stamp benefits. However,
> if she marries a father with the same earnings level, her food stamps would be
> cut to zero. A single mother receiving benefits from Section 8 or public housing
> would receive a subsidy worth on average around $11,000 per year if she was not
> employed but if she marries a man earning $20,000 per year, these benefits would
> be cut nearly in half. Both food stamps and housing programs provide very real
> financial incentives for couples to remain separate and unmarried.

but as the rest of that article claims, children from single parent homes are
much more at risk socially.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 15,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Inane Expression

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 62#68):

> Yes, the greeting "boker or" can be found at Genesis 44:03 as Russell Hendel
> points out (MJ 62#67).

Actually this is not the case; the verse states "haboker or" with the heh
hayedia [definite article] and cannot be meant as a greeting there.

> The question, though, is that perhaps that should be read there as "boker, or"
> i.e. "morning came - and light appeared".

The cantillation is: 'haboker' with a tippecha (a disjunctive separating it
from the following word) followed by 'or' with an etnachta which emphasises
that it is a statement with the meaning Yisrael suggests.

Martin Stern


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 15,2016 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Mishloach manot inflation

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#68):

> As we approach Purim, adverts for overpriced mishloach manot packages appear.
> One I saw this week was headed with a package (apparently consisting
> principally of single malt whiskeys) for ONLY 349.99 ($500), though it did
> have some more'modest' offerings priced as 'low' as 19.99 ($28)
> inconspiculously placed at the bottom of the page ...
> Apropos of this what other members of mail-jewish think of these comments by
> Rabbi Doniel Neustadt in his Weekly Halacha Discussion for Parashat Vayikra 
> this year?
> Question: What is the proper amount and type of food that should be sent for
> mishloach manos?
> ...
> Moreover, one does not fulfil the mitzvah properly if all he sends is a small
> piece of food etc. since manos is defined as a portion which is considered
> worthy of serving others ...

My notion of common sense is that one conducts oneself in concert with local
custom and within one's financial means. That which passes for the norm in the 
King's palace has no bearing on what is appropriate in pauperville.

Note that expensive delicacies like single malt whiskeys are produced for sale
because there's a market for them just like expensive homes, automobiles and 
jewelry. Not everyone can afford them (which is sometimes the real attraction)
and there's little reason for those who cannot to even concern themselves with them.


From: Robert Rubinoff <rubinoff@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 17,2016 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Of samech, tsadeh, and shin/sin

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#68):
> Jack Gross suggested (MJ 62#64):
>> Following on from the discussion of the spelling of Yitzchak / Yischak (MJ
>> 62#63):
>> Compare the sequence of Yud through Tav in our alef-bet with the sequence
>> JKLMNOPQRST in the Latin alphabet.
>> ...
>> 5. The place of Shin/sin is occupied by a letter (S) whose shape appears to 
>> be derived from our Tsadeh. (Perhaps they rejected the Shin shape, as too 
>> similar to the W that was eventually appended)
> This cannot be the case - the letter W did not exist in the Latin alphabet
> since the Latin language did not have the w-sound. In fact, it also did not
> originally distinguish the two forms of the semivowels I-J and U-V, and this
> explains why W is called double-u though its shape would have suggested a
> more appropriate name would have been double-v. The W was only introduced in
> Germanic languages, which needed to distinguish it from V, in the Middle
> Ages.
> Martin Stern

Actually, u/v in Latin (they're the same letter, just like i and j - in both
cases the split into two letters came later as a way of distinguishing cases
where it was a vowel from cases where it was a consonant) was pronounced like a
w in modern English. Over time the sound changed to the v sound for consonantal
uses. (The same shift happened in Hebrew, where vav changed its sound.) 


From: Robert Rubinoff <rubinoff@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 17,2016 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Of samech, tsadeh, and shin/sin

Arthur G. Sapper wrote (MJ 62#68):

> Martin Stern (MJ 62#67) is entirely correct in saying that the Semitic 
> alphabet from which the Greeks derived their notation was Ktav Ivri, not the 
> Ktav Ashuri we use nowadays for Hebrew.
> I cannot, however, quite agree with his suggestion that our letter s does not
> derive from shin/sin but from samekh.  (We both agree that the s can be traced
> to the Greek letter sigma.)  Although the matter is not free from doubt, and
> there are some who support his view, there others who do not.  The ancient
> shin/sin looked like \/\/.  Turn it on its side (as the Greeks were wont to 
> do) and you get the ancient Greek letter sigma.
> To support his suggestion, Mr. Stern argues that the name samekh became sigma
> through metathesis (i.e., interchange of the consonants in "samekh") and that
> shin/sin instead gave rise to the Greek letter san, which later dropped out of
> use.  There are scholars who disagree, however.  At least one thinks that the
> name sigma represents a conflation of the Semitic names samekh and sin/shin. 
> Another thinks that the Greek san sounded like ts rather than s and was 
> derived from the Semitic tzade, which brings us back full circle.

As someone else pointed out very tangentially,




in the Latin alphabet. (The samekh and tzadeh dropped out.) So s is shin/sin.

(I suppose its theoretically possible that s was originally from samekh, and
then it was moved to a different position in the alphabet that just happened to
be where another letter with the same sound had dropped out - but I think that
claim would need pretty strong evidence to hold up against the more natural
supposition that the Greek and Latin alphabets retained the order of the
original Semitic alphabet for all the letters they retained.)



From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 15,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Synthetic meat?`

Yesterday I read of a new process whereby cells of a live animal can be
grown to yield (within 9-21 days) the identical type of meat (chicken, beef,

To see further about this:


Thus one can obtain meat without slaughtering any animal. They are talking of
going commercial in a few years. Can anyone authoritative comment on this, in
terms of the following (for example):

Is it kosher?

Is it fleishik? 

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 15,2016 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Tircha d'Tzibbura

David Tzohar (MJ 62#68) notes the jumping element of Bratzlav.

Let us recall Rabbi Akiva, Berachot 37a:

"It has been taught: Such was the custom of R. Akiba; when he prayed with the
congregation, he used to cut it short and finish in order not to inconvenience
the congregation, but when he prayed by himself, a man would leave him in one
corner and find him later in another, on account of his many genuflexions and

As for Bratslav Jumping Customs, see:

Michael Fishbane


Yisrael Medad
Post Office Box 9407
Mobile Post Efraim 4483000


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 9,2016 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Why?

A friend asked me why the word 'lamah' is sometimes written with a dagesh in
the mem and sometimes without. Does anyone know if there is an explanation?

Also the word is sometimes read milra (stress on the final syllable) and
sometimes mil'eil (stress on the penultimate syllable). Does this alter the

Martin Stern


End of Volume 62 Issue 69