Volume 64 Number 91 
      Produced: Sun, 14 Feb 21 08:46:57 +0000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Belief based on personal experience 
    [Joel Rich]
Minhagim that change over time 
    [Joel Rich]
Need for a minyan at chuppas (2)
    [Yisrael Medad   Susan Buxfield]
Rav Soloveitchik (2)
    [Ari Trachtenberg  Dr. William Gewirtz]
Spit for Roasting Korban Pesach 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 9,2021 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Belief based on personal experience

On belief based on personal experience:

A pure rationalist would separate himself from his own experience and analyze,
starting with how many people there are, how many situations similar to his own,
and determine based on the entire sample space (ex. one person has a dream that
someone they know got sick, and they actually did. analysis - how many dreams
were dreamt in the world, how many about friends, how many sick, how many did
get sick...)

Me - How do we take this into account in our emunah process?

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 9,2021 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Minhagim that change over time

Understanding how certain minhagim change over time:

IMHO this is a process which plays out historically without a clear algorithm.
Only through the eyes of retrospection (e.g. the aruch hashulchan) is the result
koshered (see hilchot aveilut as an example)

Joel Rich


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 7,2021 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Need for a minyan at chuppas

Martin Stern (MJ 64#90) asks regarding whether a minyan is required (and I will
not repeat the many dozens of words) for a chuppah including the recital of the
Seven Benections which would then permit conjugal consummation of the marital
relationship: "Any comments?"

My only comment would be to investigate a marital ceremony facilitated by sexual
intercourse, one of the three Talmudic methods according to the first Mishnah in
Tractate Kiddushin or the status of a Yedu'a B'Tzibbur, a common-law wife.

Yisrael Medad

From: Susan Buxfield <susan.buxfeld@...>
Date: Mon, Feb 8,2021 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Need for a minyan at chuppas

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#90):

> Why he refers to Shulchan Aruch, Eben HaEzer 34:4, eludes me - it is
> concerned with birchat erusin which should be said with a minyan but are
> valid even without one. This would appear to be irrelevant to birchot
> nissuin

AFAIK birchot erusin and birchot nissuin are the same thing. The brachot can be
recited at any time, starting at the erusin. At a minimum, Kiddushin only
requires three, the bride and two witnesses one of whom could also be the shaliach.

While brachot are an integral part of any Jewish ceremony only when there is a
mandatory bracha d'oraitha does its lack of recital invalidate the action about
to be taken. And as part of a larger ceremony the lack of a bracha and the lack
of the subsequent action has often no effect on the overall status of the
ceremony. For example the lack of spices during Havdalah.

Martin then discusses whether a minyan could be arranged for a town like
Darwen. That is purely a matter of logistics where the wish is to fulfill the
issue in the best possible manner.

He then suggests that perhaps without brachot, relationships may not be
permitted even though there is 100% Kiddushin. The parallel to Chuppat Niddah is
not relevant since in that case her body is what deters a relationship. While
the issue of Massechet Kalla is that she has a right to expect brachot. If she
is willing to forgo then there's nothing to prevent a relationship.

Why Kiddushin should be considered 'arcane' is difficult to fathom. Although
formal marriage generally lasts longer and is usually more stable especially for
children, Kiddushin is by no means the only kosher relationship, to the chagrin
of the Rambam, as is documented in this week's parsha. The Hebrew slave is
permitted to live with a shifcha kena'anit, the sold daughter with yiud to her
master and the yavama to her yavam by 'biah' even against her wish (if pursued
today there is usually a rabbinic kiddushin otherwise halitzah is the normal
procedure). What is important to comprehend is that the main purpose of
Kiddushin is to provide financial security to the bride. Food and clothing in
return for financial interests in his wife's income and property.

In today's world where many women are financially independent, there are those
who object to a husband's automatic right to her paycheck, to his ability to
inherit her in place of her children from a previous marriage and of course the
general misogynistic attitude to the giving of a "get". A pilagesh relationship,
sanctioned by the SA and endorsed by the Beit Shmuel has a validity for many
orthodox second time rounders.


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 7,2021 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Rav Soloveitchik

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 64#90):

> Thoughts on the following as applied to Rabbi JB Soloveitchik?
> James Gleick-"There are two kinds of geniuses: the 'ordinary' and the
> 'magicians'. An ordinary genius is a fellow whom you and I would be just as 
> good as, if we were only many times better. There is no mystery as to how his 
> mind works. Once we understand what they've done, we feel certain that we, too, 
> could have done it. It is different with the magicians. Even after we 
> understand what they have done it is completely dark. Richard Feynman is a 
> magician of the highest caliber."

I can't speak to Rav Soloveitchik z'l, because I didn't know him and, frankly, I
cannot really understand his writing.  However, on the front of geniuses ... I
think that the quote is mistaking the difference between intuitive thinkers who
cannot explain their rationale ("magician geniuses") and sequential thinkers who
are aware of each step of their thought.  The difference is in the ability to
explain the reasoning, not in the reasoning it self.



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

From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 7,2021 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Rav Soloveitchik

In MJ (64#90) Joel Rich inquired about the Rav ztl's genius. 

First, a story. When learning the sugyah of eidim zomamim, the Rav posed a
question to which almost 2 dozen hands, including mine, shot up. The Rav smiled
broadly and said I hope no one was going to say...., at which time all hands
went into hiding.

My view, reflected by most I know, is that after the Rav said something, the
reaction was, why did I not think of that? On rare occasion what was said was
involved and intricate.


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 7,2021 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Spit for Roasting Korban Pesach

David Ziants wrote (MJ 64#90):

> In Daf Yomi, have just started chapter 7 of Mesechet Pesachim, and the first
> Mishneh talks about on how the Korban Pesach should be roasted. The Mishneh 
> says only a branch from a pomegranate tree can be used for a spit and not from
> another tree nor from metal. The Gemara explains:-
> 1) Metal conducts the heat so the roasting would be partially from the heat of
> the metal skewer and not fully from the fire.
> 2) Branches from trees other from the pomegranate can have moisture and so 
> there might be a little bit of boiling from this moisture and therefore would 
> not be fully cooked by roasting.
> With today's advances in material production, would it be permitted to use a
> skewer made of artificial material that does not conduct heat more than wood 
> nor has any moisture issues? Maybe it is even better than a pomegranate tree 
> branch, which is the only option of the Mishneh?
> This, is really a general question in halacha. To what extent does our 
> tradition allow us leeway when there is an explicit rule with reason given 
> for this explicit rule, yet we might have an alternate possibility that seems 
> just as good when examining the intent of the law?

What's really wonderful about Halacha is its attitude towards logic. Generally
speaking, unless specifically mandated for a particular reason, Jewish Law is
very permissive. Logic, sometimes referred to as sevarah, can in some cases make
a law into a Biblical law.

If it works  - go for it.

Stuart P
Mevaseret Zion


End of Volume 64 Issue 91