Volume 65 Number 75 
      Produced: Mon, 22 Aug 22 15:31:16 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Babies crying during services 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Blessing before or after mila 
    [Chana Luntz]
Is Geirus deOraisa? (2)
    [Sammy Finkelman  Yisrael Medad]
Makom kavua (was Why do people think it's okay ...)  
    [Joel Rich]
Shabbat Candles and the Blessing 
    [Chana Luntz]


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 22,2022 at 05:17 AM
Subject: Babies crying during services

We have discussed this before but I think this snippet from Edinburgh's recent
Fringe Festival provides a wider perspective (The Guardian, Aug. 22):


> Another comedian, Matt Forde, sparked online controversy last week after
> complaining on social media that a crying baby had derailed his fringe show,
> Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right.
> The infant's father wouldn't do the decent thing and just leave when it
started > crying, Forde tweeted. I get that it must be tough as a new parent,
but please, > don't bring babies to adult shows. Its always a problem  It's like
someone's > > phone continually ringing and them not turning it off.
> Forde later told BBC Scotland his social media had gone mad. He added: I think
> once a baby starts to cry in a venue it's just common sense that you leave for
> the baby's sake and for the performers and the rest of the audience.

Yisrael Medad


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 22,2022 at 06:17 AM
Subject: Blessing before or after mila

Menashe Elyashiv (MJ 65#71) notes that the Sephardic minhag, excepting Sefad, is
that the father says lehachniso [to bring into the covenant] before the mohel
says al ha'mila [on the circumcision] while Immanuel Burton (MJ 65#70) brings
the Ashkenazi practice of the father saying it after the circumcision. This
dispute is discussed in Tosfot Pesachim 7a on the gemara I brought in my last
post (MJ 65#74) which states that everybody agrees that the blessing is said
before the performance of a mitzvah (which was subsequently qualified in the
gemara in relation to immersion as discussed in that post).

The Tosafot begins by saying that the Rashba derives from this gemara and also
the language of the blessing, which implies that it will happen in the future
not that it has happened, that the blessing must be said by the father prior to
the circumcision.  However the Tosafot then brings Rabbanu Tam, who says this
does not seem right to him, given the wording found in Shabbat 137b et seq.
(which is the relevant gemara that discusses the procedure of circumcision). 
The Tosafot then dismisses both the Rashba's concerns - firstly regarding the
wording as not being a problem and secondly "he does not need to bless prior to
performance except in a place where the one doing the mitzvah blesses but when
another blesses this is not the case that you should know that behold the
blessings of marriage [erusin] are not blessed until after the marriage". 

So, not so surprisingly given the way it usually goes - the Sephardi practice is
to (mostly) follow the Rashba, and the Ashkenazi practice follows Rabbanu Tam.




From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 21,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

In response to Yisrael Medad (MJ 65#73):

The word 'Ger' may originally have had a different meaning from "convert", and
indeed means a temporary resident (although a convert is a special category of
'Ger' that almost entirely displaced the original meaning by Mishnaic times, I
think, and, as used in the Torah when dealing with halacha, often is understood
not to include idol worshippers (and those who do not accept the other 7 laws of
B'nai Noach)

But Geirus is deOraisa (Conversion is a Torah-based issue). because it is
mentioned in Pashas "Bo" in connection with the Korban Pesach (Shemos 12:48) and
if you think about it, you can see that all the laws of  Geirus are derived from
the laws of who is permitted to eat from the Korban Pesach (adapted to the
absence of the Beis HaMikdosh)

They are milah (in the case of males), tevila and korban (plus some kind of
intention which almost does not neem to be said).

And while the mishkan and Beis HaMikdosh was standing there may have been
contingent conversions that needed to be ratified or finalized by eating from a
Korban Pesach, That would explain some things from the time of the Shoftim like
in Megillas Ris.

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 22,2022 at 01:17 AM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

If Martin Stern (MJ 65#74) suggests a reading list, I would add "Conversion to
Judaism in Tannaitic Halakhah" by Lawrence H. Schiffman and other texts of his
that are to be found online. 

But he relates to another of my points and writes:

> There is no command because we are not obligated to convert non-Jews

Even if we desire to marry such a person?

Yisrael Medad


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 21,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Makom kavua (was Why do people think it's okay ...) 

In the RCA Koren siddur, it states:


lt is appropriate for one to establish a set place within the synagogue where one 
regularly prays (Makom Kavua), which is considered a significant enhancement to
one's prayer. Nonetheless, if one comes to synagogue and sees that a guest has
inadvertently taken one's seat, hospitality and sensitivity to the guest's 
embarrassment should take priority, and one should sit elsewhere rather than
offend the visitor. This is the case even it one's concentration will be
significantly diminished by sitting in a different seat. The best practice is for
the synagoque to have officials who are charged with the task of welcoming
visitors and guiding them to open seats, so as to avoid conflict.

Joel Rich


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 22,2022 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Shabbat Candles and the Blessing

Immanuel Burton writes (MJ 65#68):

> When a woman lights Shabbat candles, she first lights the candles and then 
> says the blessing, even though a blessing on a mitzvah is usually said before 
> the mitzvah is performed. The reason for this is that she accepts Shabbat 
> when she says the blessing, and so can't light the candles after she has 
> accepted Shabbat. See, for example, Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 263:5.
> How does saying the blessing constitute acceptance of Shabbat? The blessing 
> ends with the words, "...to light the Sabbath light". Surely this indicates an
> intention to light the lights, which, as it's something that's forbidden to do
> on Shabbat, would mean that Shabbat is not being accepted at that point?

Perhaps the place to start is with the BehaG (Sefer Hilchot Gedolot siman 9
Hilchot Chanukah): 

"[Ruling] That when he comes to light the Chanukah light and the Shabbat
light, first he should light that of Chanukah and after that he should light
that of Shabbat, as if he lights the Shabbat one first, it will be forbidden
for him to light the Chanukah one because the acceptance of Shabbat is upon

Note that both Sephardim and Ashkenazim do this, i.e. light the Chanukah candles
first on erev Shabbat and there is no dispute in the Shulchan Aruch (Orech Chaim
Hilchot Chanukah siman 679 si'if 1) even though it violates the halachic
principle of tadir v'aino tadir, tadir kodem [when faced with a more frequent
mitzvah and a less frequent one, the more frequent is to be done first]
(Zevachim 89a).  Were it not for the concern of the BehaG, it would be expected
that we would all light Shabbat candles first and then Chanukah candles on erev

On the other hand, there is extensive discussion in the Rishonim as to what
triggers the acceptance of Shabbat and the imposition of Shabbat obligations (if
done earlier than the time in which Shabbat enters anyway), with the dispute
being between the lighting of shabbat candles (following the BehaG) and the
prayer of arvit.  For a list of the Rishonim on both sides see the Beit Yosef
(Orech Chaim siman 263 ot yud) as there is quite extensive discussion with
proofs going either way.  And instead of a clear ruling like one sees more
usually in the Shulchan Aruch, he rules like this (Orech Chaim Siman 263 si'if 10):

"According to the BehaG, since he has lit the candle of Shabbat, Shabbat is
operative for him, and he is forbidden to do work. And because of this a few
women are accustomed that after they have blessed and lit candles they throw to
the ground the wicks that are in their hands that they lit with, and they do not
put them out.  And there are those who say that if they make a condition before
they light that they are not accepting Shabbat until the chazzan says barachu,
it works, and there are those who say that it does not work for her.  And there
are those that disagree with the BehaG and say that accepting Shabbat is not
depending on lighting the candles but on the evening prayer, that since when the
chazzan says barachu, all separate from their work. And according to us, when
they have began mizmor shiur l'yom hashabbat, this is like their barachu." 

And the Rema adds "and the custom is that a woman who lights accepts Shabbat
with her lighting if she does not stipulate first, and even if she stipulates in
her heart it is enough (Mordechai) but the rest of the household is permitted in
work until barachu." And then there are commentators that are very uncomfortable
with making a condition, and say it doesn't work at all (see the Magen Avraham &
Mishna Brura there).

> Secondly, if a man can say the blessing, then light the lights, and then
> accept Shabbat later on, e.g. during the evening service, why can't a woman
> do this?

In brief, it would seem (and is this not fascinating?) that the practice, at
least amongst Ashkenazim, is that Ashkenazi women follow the BehaG and Ashkenazi
men do not, i.e. that women operate as a different form of congregation to men,
even in something in which they are both equally obligated (analogous to the
differences between Sephardim and Askhenazim).  One can see why in practice this
makes sense, because by and large women did not go to shul, and did not daven
arvit or kabbalat shabbat, so, were they not to adopt the position of the BehaG,
Shabbat would either only be obligatory on them when it actually came in, or, at
a time unknown to them when the community chazzan on the other side of the town
said barachu.  While on the other hand, the men might well be in shul by the
time their wives have lit, so if they were bound by that lighting, Shabbat could
be obligatory on them without them knowing precisely when.  So because of the
traditional division of roles, it does make sense that men and women ended up
following different rishonic positions. 

Now, within the view of the BehaG one can see a difficulty as per the Shulchan
Aruch- "a few women throw to the ground the wicks that are in their hands that
they lit with" - the problem being that if you predicate the acceptance of
Shabbat on the physical lighting of the candles, immediately the matches in your
hand are mukzah, and you cannot extinguish them.  And indeed this quote about "a
few women" seems to be reflective of the comment of the Shibolei HaLeket (siman
59) who notes that in his time (ie 13th century) "that there are men that light
the candles with a wick and after they bless and light the candle they throw the
wick on the ground", i.e. it is not very practical, not to mention dangerous, to
deem the acceptance of Shabbat on the actual physical lighting of the candles.

And yet another issue that the rishonim discuss is that in those days they often
needed to light candles all over the house, and how do you determine which
candle is "the" candle that triggers the imposition of Shabbat (and especially
given that, at a pinch, while the custom is to have two candles for shamor and
zachor, one candle is enough for the mitzvah, so if you have technically
fulfilled the obligation to light candles with the first which you are
definitely regarding as a Shabbat candle, how can you light the second?)  And
throw in that we tend not to like relying on thoughts, rather than verbal

So the solution, to pin the entry of shabbat on the verbal declaration that
women necessarily make - namely the blessing - means that you have a situation
where, just as barachu or mizmor shiur are accepted to have a double function,
both the prayer itself and as the trigger for the acceptance of shabbat,
similarly the blessing can to be understood to have that double purpose.
Although it is certainly true that any number of rishonim and achronim have
problems with it functioning in this manner (and there is particular difficulty
with a teshuva quoted in the name of the Maharam that allowed women who were
going to a wedding on erev Shabbat, and who didn't want to accept Shabbat until
after the chuppah which might well finish after nightfall, to either light the
candles before but not make the blessing until after the chuppah, or to ask a
non-Jew to light the candles and then make the blessing) and there are
significant concerns raised for the requirement for over asiyatan [the blessing
should be prior to the performance as discussed in my previous posting].  

To my mind, another fruitful line of thought justifying the practice of women
(although I have not seen anybody say this, it is just my own musing) is to
consider the nature of the mitzvah of candle lighting in the light of the
discussion we had in terms of netilat yadayim [washing the hands] where one
justification for the practice was because the mitzvah wasn't yet complete until
the hands were dried. While the most simple explanation of the mitzvah of
lighting candles is that it is simply to light candles, and that once the
candles are lit then the mitzvah is complete, it seems that is not the case
according to the Agudah (Shabbat perek 2 siman 45) as quoted in the Beit Yosef,
who rules that if no benefit is made on Shabbat from the light of the candles,
the blessing is a bracha l'vatala [blessing in vain] - and indeed the Shulchan
Aruch follows that position in siman 263 siman 9. 

So the essential mitzvah has to be understood as per the Rambam (Hilchot Shabbat
perek 5 halacha 1) which is rather to have a lit candle on Shabbat, as part of
oneg Shabbat (noting that the Rambam also includes the mitzvah of candle
lighting under kavod Shabbat in Hilchot Shabbat perek 30 halacha 5, with the
classic distinction, e.g. as per the Biur HaGra Orech Chaim siman 529:1 being
that oneg shabbat is on Shabbat itself and kavod shabbat is preparation on erev
shabbat). But if you understand the blessing is a blessing in vain if the light
of the candles is not used on Shabbat, then despite there being an aspect of the
mitzvah that relates to kavod, that is not what triggers the blessing , the
mitzvah over which the blessing is made is, at most, not completed until some
use has been made of such Shabbat candles on Shabbat, and arguably for the full
period until they go out on Shabbat after use has been made of them.   

This relates to the link of shabbat candles to "shalom bayit" [avoidance of
domestic friction] and a definition of shalom bayit that involves either
lighting for the meal (the essential aspect according to most) or, at a minimum,
to  prevent stumbling in the dark.  In which case, it seems to me that maybe you
can simply say that when a woman makes the blessing after she lights candles,
she is, like with netilat yadayim, making the blessing during the performance of
the mitzvah, or even before the performance of the key part of the mitzvah,
which is to have a lit candle on Shabbat itself.  In which case making the
blessing on the candles after lighting the candles might not in fact violate the
general principle of over asiyatan. 




End of Volume 65 Issue 75