Volume 64 Number 92 
      Produced: Tue, 16 Feb 21 18:37:28 +0000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Belief based on personal experience 
    [Ari Trachtenberg]
Delivering Shalach Manos During a Pandemic 
    [Prof. Levine]
Doing Laundry Halachically  
    [Prof. Levine]
Minhagim that change over time 
    [Ben Katz, M.D.]
Need for a minyan at chuppas (2)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern]
The Megillah and Women's Names 
    [Prof. Levine]


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 14,2021 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Belief based on personal experience

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 64#91):

> 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?

I'm afraid that the rationalist would be wrong to assume that his position is
entirely rational.The Greeks already realized that every logical system must,
ultimately, rest upon unprovable axioms.  This was reinforced with Godel's
theorem, which decimated the rationality of higher-order mathematics (the
pinnacle of rationality) by demonstrating that all sufficiently complicated
systems must be either incomplete (i.e., some theorems cannot be proven from the
axioms) or inconsistent (i.e., some theorem may be proven both true and false
from the axioms).

As a result, Joel's question boils down to which axioms to accept in life.  I
choose to accept and live my life by the axioms that have been passed down from
generation to generation over thousands of years, leading up to me.  This
includes the entirely reasonable proposition that this crazily complex world was
created by G-d according to a clear plan and purpose, even if we are not capable
of comprehending either.

So, in short, no problem ... but, if I may humbly suggest further, beware of
those who give simple answers to infinitely complex questions.



From: Prof. Levine <larry62341@...>
Date: Mon, Feb 15,2021 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Delivering Shalach Manos During a Pandemic

The Council of Erudite Torah Sages recently met via Zoom to discuss the issue of
delivering Shalach Manos this Purim.  The issue discussed was how one is to
deliver Shalach Manos, given that one is supposed to maintain a distance of at
least 6 feet from others. The Council suggests two methods.

1. Use a long handle pizza peel such as the one shown at:


One would put his/her Shalach Manos on flat part of the pizza peel.

The theme that would go nicely with this would be to dress up as a pizza baker!

2. Put the Shalach Manos in a bag and put the bag at the end of a long pole such
as the one used in hand matza bakeries.

The theme that would go nicely with this is to dress up as a matza baker.

The Council will be discussing this issue further and welcomes suggestions from
the public.

Professor Yitzchok Levine


From: Prof. Levine <larry62341@...>
Date: Mon, Feb 15,2021 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Doing Laundry Halachically 

The Council of Erudite Torah sages would like to remind everyone of their
guidelines for doing laundry according to Halacha. These guidelines were
recently  reported exclusively by the Torah True Times.

It has come to our attention that many families, including those who pride
themselves on following all aspects of halacha, are regularly not conforming to
proper Tznius guidelines. Unbelievably, many, many families are washing men's
and women's clothing together at the same time in the same washing machine. This
is an unprecedented breach of Tznius, rachmana litzlan!!!  How could anyone
think that one is allowed to wash men's and women's undergarments at the same
time in the same washing load?!!!  What has our nation come to when people have
fallen to such a low level? For shame!!! This practice must stop!!!!

Given this we are issuing the following guidelines regarding the doing of laundry.

!. Ideally each observant home should have two washing machines and two dryers -
one washing machine and one dryer should be used exclusively for men's clothing
and the other washing machine and dryer should be used exclusively for women's

2. In the event that a family cannot afford to have two washing machines and two
dryers, the following rules should be adhered to.

         a.  Under no circumstances should men's clothes in the same machine as
women's clothing.  They should, of course, also be dried separately.

         b.  After doing a load of men's clothing, one should run the washing
machine through a complete cycle without any clothes in it.  Then one may wash
women's clothing in this machine. The same procedure should, of course, be
followed after washing a load of women's clothing, namely, run a complete cycle
without any clothes in the machine. Then one may wash men's clothing in the machine.

         c. After drying a load of men's clothing the dryer should be allowed to
cool off completely. After this, one may use the dryer for drying women's
clothes. The same applies after drying a load of women's clothing before using
the dryer for men's clothing.  It is not enough to let the dryer cool below Yad
So Ledas Bo. The dryer must be completely cooled off.

Our forefathers lived in a land that was between two rivers - the Tigris and the
Euphrates. The reason is obvious to anyone who thinks into it a bit. One river
was used to wash women's clothing and the other to wash men's clothing. Surely
we can continue this tradition by observing the rules stated above.

We are confident that everyone who takes Yahadus seriously will abide by the
guidelines stated above.

With Torah greetings,

The Council of Erudite Torah Sages


From: Ben Katz, M.D.<BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, Feb 15,2021 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Minhagim that change over time

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 64#91):

> 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)
> Thoughts?

Customs change much more than is commonly admitted or acknowledged.  There are
MANY well documented examples.  Some become more strict with time, some more
lenient.  To name just a few:
1. Turning around at the last stanza of lecha dodi is pretty universal in my
experience yet the Talmud specifically prohibits people tuning their backs in
the synagogue.

2. Writing sifrei torah such that each column started with a vav was a
relatively new innovation that was severely criticized by the leading
authorities of the time, yet is now the leading custom.

3. My favorite example: When Rav Yosef Karo wrote his commentary on the Tur he
mentions a delightful new minhag of leviim washing the hands of the kohanim
before birchat kohanim.  20 years later when writing his shulchan aruch he
states that is what should be done.

Purim sameach to all.

Ben Zion Katz


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 14,2021 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Need for a minyan at chuppas

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 64#91):

> 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.

As regards Yisrael's first point, the three methods of acquisition mentioned in
the first mishnah in Kiddushin effect kiddushin or erusin which establishes a
marital bond that can only be severed by a get (not a mere engagement as the
words are used in modern Hebrew). The particular method to which he alludes,
kiddushei biah - copulation in front of two witnesses for the purpose of
effecting a marital bond - though it would be effective, was outlawed by Chazal
who punished anyone doing it by flogging. In any case it was a one-off act which
did not permit further marital relations.

It did not permit the couple to set up a home together which required nissuin in
which the kallah is brought publicly into the chatan's house, symbolised by the
chuppah, where the seven marriage blessings are said after which they retire to
a private room (yichud) usually to break their fast. The sheva berachot require
a minyan. After this the couple can set up home together.

In Talmudic times, these two stages were often up to a year apart but, as is
evident from Tractate Ketubot, this can give rise to problems. So the practice
for over a thousand years is to combine them into a single ceremony as we do today.

As regards his second scenario, a couple living together as married but without
any formal halachic ceremony (or for that matter a civil or non-Orthodox
ceremony), are treated as if married only as a stringency in case they had
performed kiddushei biah at some stage. In any case their relationship is not
considered a proper marriage but what used to be called "living in sin".

The only halachic consequence is that, should they separate without a get and
the woman wishes to marry a 'second' husband, we insist she first obtain a get.
However, Rav Mosheh Feinstein ruled that, should she 'marry' without a get,
either in a civil or non-Orthodox ceremony (or even merely cohabit as in her
first relationship), any children are not treated as mamzerim.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 14,2021 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Need for a minyan at chuppas

Susan Buxfield wrote (MJ 64#91):

> 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.

They have completely different purposes though we perform both together nowadays
to avoid the sort of problems evident throughout Mas. Ketubot. Erusin effects a
marital bond that can only be severed by a get. Nissuin establishes a new Jewish
household, and, generally, permits marital relations between the couple. The
exception to the latter is where the kallah is a niddah at the time of the
chuppah, in which case they are postponed until she has been to the mikveh.

> At a minimum, Kiddushin only requires three, the bride and two witnesses one
> of whom could also be the shaliach.

Presumably this is a typo and Susan meant four, the groom, the bride and two
witnesses ... What does Susan mean by '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.

All berachot are derabbanan [Rabbinically ordained, MOD] and therefore
cannot invalidate an action bedieved [ex post facto].

> 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.

Spices are not an intrinsic part of 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.

Susan has misunderstood the point I was making. In the Middle Ages, it was 
quite common for Jews to live in small communities which did not have a minyan.
Because of the danger involved in traveling because of highwaymen etc., it was
difficult to bring people from outside to complete a minyan so a chuppah would
have had to be held with fewer and the sheva berachot could not be recited.
Nowadays this is generally not the case and it is hardly even inconvenient to
call people from elsewhere if necessary so the special heterim [leniencies, MOD]
are hardly relevant. I chose Darwen as a place where I only knew of one Jewish
> He then suggests that perhaps without brachot, relationships may not be
> permitted even though there is 100% Kiddushin.

Kiddushin does not permit relationships. For that one requires nissuin which are
basically the sheva berachot under the chuppah.

> 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.

On the contrary Massechet Kallah states specifically that "A bride without
berachah is forbidden to her husband like a niddah without immersion". If Susan
were correct, there would be no real objection to a couple living together
outside marriage  (provided she immerses each month). But this is what is
considered zenut [licentious behaviour]. Some hold that, where a chuppah has had
to be conducted without a minyan, the couple cannot cohabit until such time as
they can assemble a minyan for the recital of the sheva berachot.
> 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).

The first two case are specific to Hebrew slaves and have no other practical
application. It has been suggested that this might provide a mechanism for
removing mamzer status since the children of a shifcha kena'anit are avadim who
could theoretically be manumitted and be ordinary Jews, no longer mamzerim like
their father. All this is of course purely theoretical nowadays.

As for the yevamah, her original kiddushin with her first husband
just 'carries forward' to his brother, the yavam. The yibbum is equivalent to
the final stage of nissuin. If she objects, he cannot force her any more than
any husband can force his wife. If, despite the prohibition, he does rape her
the yibbum is accomplished and he must now give her a get to sever the
connection. Beit Din would flog him if he refused (makkot mardut) possibly until
he expires though, unfortunately, the secular authorities tend to interfere in
its exercise of its duties.

> 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.

This is specific to nissuin, an arusah has no financial claim on her husband nor
he on her.
> 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 woman is entirely entitled to tell her husband that she prefers to be
financially independent, and live off her personal income, in which case she
forgoes any claim for support, but she can't have it both ways and say "What is
yours is mine but what is mine is nothing to do with you!"

> A pilagesh relationship, sanctioned by the SA and endorsed by the Beit Shmuel
> has a validity for many orthodox second time rounders.

Please could Susan explain in more detail.

Martin Stern


From: Prof. Levine <larry62341@...>
Date: Mon, Feb 15,2021 at 12:01 PM
Subject: The Megillah and Women's Names

Below is a Torah True Times Exclusive

In light of the fact that it is customary in some circles not to put the names
of wives on invitations to Chasanas, Bar Mitzvahs, etc.  the Council of Erudite
Torah Sages has issued the following edict. In the future the scroll read on
Purim is no longer to be referred to using a woman's name.  The scroll should be
referred to as the Megillah of Mordechai's Niece. "

When it was pointed out that the megillah itself mentions the names of several
women, a spokesman for the Council said, "It is well known that today we are
more religious than our ancestors.  By next year a new version of the megillah
will be available that avoids all explicit mention of women's names."

When asked if in the future the Megillas that have been used for centuries will
be acceptable for use on Purim (at least B'devid), the spokesman replied, "Don't
you see almost daily that practices that were acceptable in the past are no
longer valid?  This is the trend in Judaism today."


End of Volume 64 Issue 92