Volume 65 Number 77 
      Produced: Fri, 26 Aug 22 12:22:15 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Balfour equals Ba'al Pe'or Origin 
    [Yisrael Medad]
    [Joel Rich]
Is Geirus deOraisa? (2)
    [Martin Stern  Yisrael Medad]
Makom kavua 
    [Joseph Kaplan]
Shabbat Candles and the Blessing 
    [Chana Luntz]


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 23,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Balfour equals Ba'al Pe'or Origin

I devoted some time to researching the use of the word play of Ba'al Peor and
Balfour that was mentioned several weeks ago when we discussed the matter of
Yishuv Eretz Yisrael (MJ 65#60-66).

What I found was that it is attributed to the Minchat Elazar, the Munkatch
Rebbe, and is found in his Responsa, Vol. 5, Letter 37 which may be found at:


His frame of reference is very interesting. The issue is whether to participate
in a general fast against Nazi Germany (the exact date is missing). Towards the
end, he notes that in 1929 he was asked to sign a protest directed to England
following the riots in Mandate Palestine and in Hebron and Jerusalem in
particular and to broadcast it over the radio. He refused as it would mean
cooperating with the Zionists, Agudists and Mizrahists, parties, he writes, that
benefit from their "Ba'al Pe'or" and in any case, England just angers the Arabs
and stirs them up. These parties, he adds, are but "ro'ei elil mesitai kol
yisrael [shepherds of an idol who incite all of Israel]".

Yisrael Medad


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 24,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Eulogies 

In the United States its very common to have a separate service and Eulogies in
a funeral home rather than at the cemetery. Does anybody know what the common
practice was in other time periods in history and other countries?

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 23,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 65#76):

> Sammy Finkelman (MJ 65#75), responding to my raising the issue (MJ 65#73),
> first admits that:
>> The word 'Ger' may originally have had a different meaning from "convert",
>> and indeed means a temporary resident
> but then asserts that:
>> Geirus is deOraisa (Conversion is a Torah-based issue). because it is
>> mentioned in Parshas "Bo" in connection with the Korban Pesach (Shemos
>> 12:48)"
> I think a fine reading of that verse simply indicates that a non-Jew could
> take part in the Passover Sacrifice while remaining non-Jewish but if he
> undergoes mila. There is a second category there: an 'eved' (slave/servant) so
> obviously the verse and the ceremony mentioned there are not referring to
> conversion. As a following verse states: "no uncircumcised person shall eat
> thereof". It doesn't state 'you have to be Jewish to partake', just
> circumcised. Indeed, the next verse there, 49, states: "One law shall be to
> him that is homeborn/citizen, as well as for the stranger who is living among
> you." "Stranger", not a non-Jew who is now converted to Judaism.

I fear that Yisrael is once again taking an over-literal view of the text while
ignoring the Torah shebe'al peh which is crucial to understanding it from a
halachic perspective.

May I draw his attention to the mishnah in Nedarim (3:11) which states:

"If one vows to have no benefit from areilim [uncircumcised individuals], he is
permitted to have benefit from uncircumcised Jews (for example those whose
brothers died as a result of milah) but may have no benefit from uncircumcised
non-Jews (for example Arabs who, even in Mishnaic times, practised circumcision)
... for the term orlah is used only as a general term for non-Jews as it says
'For all the nations are areilim'. (Yir. 9:25)"

> If it is Bible-soured, one would think that by then, centuries later, the
> conversion process would be mentioned in Ruth and yet in chapter 2 there, no
> process noted and moreover, Boaz's servant tells him she "is a Moabitish
> damsel that came back with Naomi", not a convert. Indeed, at the end of the
> previous chapter we read: "Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her
> daughter-in-law, with her". She's not Jewish and no ceremony mentioned.

Her description as a Moabitess refers to her ethnic origins rather than her
religious status as the Yerushalmi (Yev 8:3) explains that she had converted
prior to her marriage to Machlon but that the halacha "Moavi velo Moaviyah
[marriage to a male member of Moav (after conversion) is forbidden while with a
female member is permitted]" was not well known (some commentators say that this
was the first case in practice). Therefore there was no need for her to convert
on return to Beit Lechem  and no procedure took place then. At the beginning of
the story, there is only the briefest summary of events which does not leave
room for an in-depth description of conversion which, in any case would be out
of place there.

Martin Stern

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 24,2022 at 05:17 AM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

In two responses, Martin Stern (MJ 65#76) avoids my point which is:

If the Torah details all sorts of actions to accomplish a mitzva, why not

Example: the method for kashering utensils is quite detailed in Numbers 31:23:

"Every thing that may abide the fire, you shall make it go through the fire, and
it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of
separation: and all that abide not the fire, you shall make go through the water."

Yet conversion is missing.

The ram sacrifice details are multiple in Exodus 20:19:

"Then you shall kill the ram, and take of its blood, and put it upon the tip of
the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon
the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and
dash the blood against the altar round about."

Yet nothing about conversion.

He then makes a point I find obtuse and border-line nonsensical:

> Following on from his attitude to midrash in a previous discussion of the
> "three oaths", I am surprised that Yisrael should now bring academic works
> on midrash as if being on a similar level as the halachic the works I
> referenced

a) Prof. Shiffman's academic works are not on midrash per se but on conversion.

b) as an Orthodox Jew (I know him), his approach takes into consideration all
aspects of traditional Judaism on the subject, some which have eluded Martin.

c) as others wrote, Martin completely either misunderstood or misrepresented my
"attitude (?) to midrash".

d) I think an open attitude to knowledge is better than narrowmindedness. The
Rambam details in Mishneh Torah, Sanhedrin vehaOnashin haMesurin Lahem [The
Sanhedrin and the Punishments Granted them to Wield] - Chapter 2:1, qualities of
Sanhedrin judges to include: "only men of wisdom and understanding, of unique
distinction in their knowledge of the Torah and who possess a broad intellectual
potential. They should also have some knowledge concerning other intellectual
disciplines, e.g., medicine, mathematics, the fixation of the calendar,
astronomy, astrology, and also the practices of fortune-telling, magic, sorcery,
and the hollow teachings of idolatry, so that they will know how to judge them."
If he were writing today I am sure he would note academic studies.

Lastly, as to his question: "Might that not constitute a mitzvah haba'ah
be'aveirah [a mitzvah based on a transgression]?" I have no idea what that has
to do with anything we discussed.

Yisrael Medad


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 23,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Makom kavua

Several comments have raised the issue of a regular seat holder possibly
embarrassing a guest by taking out his Tallit and Siddur from the desk if a
guest is already sitting in ones seat. I really don't see a real problem. A
smile, a soft 'excuse me' when taking out the items, and an it's no problem,
really, '  when the guest offers to move, should handle the issue nicely. But
don't forget the smile.



From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 23,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Shabbat Candles and the Blessing

Isaac Balbin wrote (MJ 65#76) responding to my posting (MJ 65#75):

> Except that Acharonim (later decisors) rule that nowadays it is preferable to
> have the electric lights off when lighting Shabbos candles as they make no
> impression (light wise) otherwise. Furthermore, when more than one candelabra
> is present, it is preferable >that it be lit in a different room, for the
> same reason. It could be argued, therefore, that in the presence of
> electrical lights, the analysis, let alone Bracha, is somewhat moot.

I am not sure I understand what you are saying and it would also be helpful
if instead of referring to "Achronim" you were to specify whom you meant.
Amongst those poskim who regard this as an issue (and not everybody does) I
have heard various opinions quoted as to the correct procedure: 

a) turn off the electric lights, turn them back on, light the candles, say the

b) turn off the electric lights, light the candles, turn on the electric lights,
then say the blessing; 

c) turn off the electric lights, light the candles, have somebody else turn on
the electric lights, say the blessing.

Which of these views were you referring to (or maybe yet others ones I have
not included here)?  If it is one of these views, why are they not compatible
with my suggestion?




End of Volume 65 Issue 77