Volume 64 Number 40 
      Produced: Fri, 23 Aug 19 04:06:55 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Chilul Hashem on the plane 
    [Immanuel Burton]
    [Saul Mashbaum]
Shidduch dates 
    [Carl Singer]
Singular or plural? 
    [Martin Stern]
Why did Chazal accept medical treatments? 
    [Joel Rich]


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 19,2019 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Chilul Hashem on the plane

In MJ 64#39, Martin Stern quoted various pieces by Rabbi Doniel Neustadt
regarding flying on an airplane, gathering together to make a minyan, etc, and
invited comment.

In his book "Code For The Road - A Driver's Halachic Companion", Rabbi Avrohom
Bookman writes that it is forbidden to park in a manner that blocks public
passage.  By doing so, one could be considered stealing from the public as one
is depriving others from their right of passage along a specified route.

I would suggest that a similar idea would apply to blocking the aisle in an
aeroplane without consent.  All the passengers on a plane are equally entitled
to use the aisle, and blocking the aisle would deprive the other passengers of
that right.  This may even apply to any case where one uses a communal resource,
e.g. the aisle in a synagogue, in a manner that excludes others from using it.

The OU, in their article on the laws of airplane travel 

states that one should not make a minyan on a plane if doing so will interfere
with the stewards or the comfort of other passengers.

Martin's statement about avoiding Chilul Hashem at all costs reminded me of a
comment that I've heard from my father more than once:  Don't confuse frumkeit
[religiosity] with menchlichkeit [human decency].  I have understood this in two
ways:  Firstly, one should be aware of how one's actions will appear to others,
and secondly, one should not be frum at the expense of others.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Saul Mashbaum <saul.mashbaum@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 15,2019 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Flirting

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#39):

> Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 64#38):

>> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#37):
>>> traditional Jewish practice has been to frown on gender interaction outside
>>> the immediate family on any but the most superficial, and clearly
>>> non-relational, level - and flirting would clearly be a prime example of
>>> this sort of behaviour.
>> Can one, male or female, flirt on a shidduch date? Or traditionally, is that
>> not allowed?

> I would have thought that the purpose of a 'shidduch date' was to assess
> whether the other person would be a suitable spouse. Until both parties have
> decided that this is the case, any flirting would be inappropriate since it
> would tend to cloud their judgement of the other's true character and
> compatability.

A date is more complex than a job interview, and the point Martin makes,
although it has some merit, also shows why many, mostly girls but also boys,
find shidduch dates a frustrating experience.

A shidduch date is more than an intellectual evaluation; each partner should
also, and at some point mainly, be trying to evaluate if they enjoy the other
person's company, if they are interested in the other person, and if the other
person is interested in them.

It's hard for some to break out of the pattern of behavior they are used to for
so long outside of a dating framework when going on a shidduch date, but this
behavior, most appropriate up to that point, is a serious impediment to a
successful shidduch date.

Many Orthodox young people, when coming in contact with members of the opposite
sex, consistently broadcast a certain distance - "don't come too close" (I'm
speaking, of course, not only physically, but socially, emotionally). The person
in question wants to make clear that he, or more usually she, is not interested
in the other person becoming "too friendly" in a way they would find
inappropriate. The problem is that some, perhaps many, find it difficult to
break this pattern when going on a shidduch date, and continue to broadcast a
certain coldness towards their date.  Clearly, someone who projects coldness,
distance, and a lack of interest in their date (other than the answers to
questions that are asked) is going to have a great deal of trouble establishing
the emotional connection that is an important goal of shidduch dating.

If a girl is in fact interested in the boy, attracted to him, she should expend
effort in making that clear to him. If she doesn't, she defeats the very purpose
of the date. If the girl on the date studiously avoids looking at the boy, and
in general gives the impression that she is uncomfortable in his presence, or
even just is indifferent to him, the chances of a successful date are small.
Looking and smiling at one's date, and laughing at their jokes, is not merely
appropriate, but virtually mandatory.

I think many girls miss the above point (although if it were pointed out to them
they would definitely accept it), and thereby cause themselves avoidable
disappointment and frustration.

To state the obvious, everything said above about the girl applies to the boy.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 15,2019 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Shidduch dates

I want to back up a bit and discuss the concept of shidduch dates -- and
matchmaking in general.

Several alternatives exist in today's society:

1 - Parent-arranged marriage (as in Fiddler on the roof -- "The first time I met
you was on our wedding day.")

2 - Shidduch - Review and culling of resumes by shadchan and parents leading to
a meeting of the two parties.

3 - Fixing people up - Someone who knows both parties believing that they might
be compatible and suggesting or arranging a meeting.

4 - Singles Groups / events -- (sometimes "speed dating")

5 - Acquaintances grow into friends grow into a couple.

6 - Same Time / Same Place happenstance -- The Aybishter works in mysterious ways.

The purpose of all of these is to match a woman and a man to a form healthy,
viable marriage. I'm characterizing them from my vantage point, perhaps others
with more experience can elaborate / contradict, etc.

1 - I can't speak to number one -- that's very dependent on an insular society
with controlled expectations.

2 - First it should be noted that people who seek their match via a shadchan
have "subscribed" to this method.  Essentially, passive on their part until a
potential match is identified.

I've seen the "resumes" -- I believe they can be comprehensive and can be used
to filter out unlikely matches (She's 6' tall and is looking for a "learner" --
he's 5'2" and was happy to escape yeshiva.) --   But from what I've seen it's
terribly inefficient -- hours and weeks are spent "matching" -- so this couple
can meet in some public place -- airport, hotel lobby, etc., to see if in the
brief span of an hour (?) they "click" -- also at times lots of external
pressure from those who made the arrangement and thought that this would be a
"good shidduch" -- if the couple doesn't move forward then some who helped make
the arrangements feel that it reflects upon their matchmaking abilities.

3 - Much less formal.  Among my older veterans when asked "How did you meet your
spouse?"  I've often gotten an answer -- my buddy invited me to Shabbos
dinner and his female cousin was also a guest at the table.  Or simply, a few
folks thinking that Woman A and Man B  (girl A & boy B) would make a great pair
-- shared "frumkite" level, personality, sense of humor, intelligence, etc., and
they fix them up or try to seat them next to each other at a party or at a wedding.

[Aside - I think it's beyond ridiculous to have a bunch of marriage-age young
women and men at a wedding and seat them at separate tables with a barbed wire
fence (sorry, I meant mechitzah) between them so they have no possibility of

4 - Our shule has hosted a few singles Shabbatons -- it seems the same people
always attend - as if the Shabbaton is it's own ends -- not a means towards

5 - There have been several young people in our shul whose families are long
time members -- essentially, they've known each other for a long time and
they've gotten married.

6 - Myriad stories:   Met at work.  Worked at same camp.  Waiting in line to
register for university class.  Mis-seated at an event and started speaking with
person next to them.

Unfortunately, anecdotal data isn't all that useful.   There are examples of
great successes and dismal failures with each of these situations.

Carl Singer


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 18,2019 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Singular or plural?

Apart from pokeiach ivrim, malbish arumim, matir assurim and zokeif kefufim, the
birkhot hashachar are formulated in the singular - shelo ASANI ... etc.

There is a dispute as to whether the paragraph beginning "Viyhi ratzon ..." and
concluding "Hagomeil chasadim tovim le'amo Yisrael" is a separate berakhah or a
continuation of "hama'avir sheinah mei'einai utenumah mei'afapai" so the general
custom is that the shatz does not say it aloud, thereby avoiding the tzibbur
answering amein in between.

What struck me as incongruous was that this paragraph is phrased in the plural
whereas "hama'avir" is in the singular. If they really were one extended
berakhah one might have expected it also to be in the singular like the
succeeding paragraph (not formulated as a brakhah) "Yehi ratzon ..." which in
many ways resembles it.

Has anyone come across any discussion of this point?

Martin Stern


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 20,2019 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Why did Chazal accept medical treatments?

Clarke's first law states that any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from magic. 

If so, how did Chazal accept any medical treatments from non-halachic sources
since no one knew how these treatments actually worked (and in the end they didn't)?

Joel Rich


End of Volume 64 Issue 40