Volume 65 Number 80 
      Produced: Thu, 01 Sep 22 16:31:57 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A tefillin query (4)
    [Steven Oppenheimer  Michael Poppers  Immanuel Burton  Haim Snyder]
    [Perry Zamek]
Is Geirus deOraisa? (2)
    [Yisrael Medad   Martin Stern]
Shabbat Candles and the Blessing 
    [Jack Gross]


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: A tefillin query

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 65#79):

> The other day, a friend mentioned that he was told when coming up to bar
> mitzvah (over 60 years ago) to wrap the retzuah [thong] of his shel yad
> around his arm so that it consisted of 4 loops then a gap and then the final 3
> loops. He had no idea why he should do so and wondered what was the reason. I
> also had no idea but suggested that it might represent the division by the
> etnachata of the verse "ve'atem hadeveikkkim baShem Elokeichem, chaim
> kulachem hayom", often used to count the 7 loops.
> Does anyone know the source for this 'minhag' (if it actually has one and
> is not something 'invented' by an unqualified person) and, if so, what is its
> true reason?

There is a Chabad custom to leave a space between the 3rd and 4th tefillin wrap
around the arm.  The first 3 wraps correspond to the 3 letter name of Hashem
(Shin - Dalet - Yud) and the next 4 wraps correspond to the 4 letter name of
Hashem (Yud - Hey - Vav- Hey). Since 2 different names are represented, a space
is left.  There is no *shiur* for this space.  (When I saw Martin's post, I also
wondered about this custom and said to myself it must be a Chabad custom and
sure enough some research led me to the above answer:


Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.

From: Michael Poppers <the65pops@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2022 at 10:17 PM
Subject: A tefillin query

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 65#79):

Because of that very verse, I wrap the r'tzua 7x in a 2-2-3 manner.

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2022 at 10:17 PM
Subject: A tefillin query

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 65#79):

That's odd, because when I was shown by my father how to put on tephillin, he
suggested to me that I count the number of windings as I go by saying in my head
the verse "Pote'ach et yadecha, u'masbia le'chol chai ratzon", which has a pause
after the third word. In time, I found myself leaving a gap between the 3rd and
4th loops, not between the 4th and 5th loops, although, to the best of my
recollection, my father never said anything about leaving a gap.

I remember one time when someone asked me why I had a gap in my windings, I
looked down, feigned horror, and said, "Oh no! I left out one of the windings!"
(which is, of course, impossible).

According to Chabad's website:


the reason for the Chabad custom to leave a gap between the 3rd and 4th loops is
that the first three windings correspond to the three letters of the Divine Name
shin-daled-yud, and the last four windings to the Tetragrammaton, the gap being
left on account of the two sets of windings (1 to 3, and 4 to 7) representing
different Names. This does raise the question, though, of how or indeed why the
loops represent Divine Names. Whatever the answer to that question is, this
explanation on Chabad's website is different from the 
pause-in-the-sentence-used-to-count-the-windings explanation.

As a side question, why should one use a 7-word sentence to count the windings
instead of counting them numerically? Is this perhaps influenced by using a
10-word sentence ("Hoshiaa et amechah, etc") to count the number of men present
to see if a minyan is present as one is not supposed to count people numerically?

Immanuel Burton.

From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 31,2022 at 03:17 AM
Subject: A tefillin query

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 65#79):

I use a different verse, "poteach et yadecha umasbia l'kol chai retzone" [Thou
openst Thy hand and satisfiest all living with favor]. This gives me 3 loops, a
gap and 4 loops.


Haim Shalom Snyder

Petah Tikva


From: Perry Zamek <perryzamek@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 31,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Eulogies

Joel Rich asked (MJ 65#77): 

> 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?

In Melbourne, at least in the 60s and possibly as late as the early 70s, the
eulogies and service were held at the Chevra Kadisha premises in Carlton (north
of the city center, an area that had been one of the centers of Jewish life,
certainly in the pre- and post-war period), after which the funeral cortege
would travel slowly to the relevant cemetery -  either the Melbourne General
Cemetery, also in the Carlton area (which had a Jewish section), or the newer
general cemetery in Fawkner, further north (again, an area was set aside for
Jewish burials). At Fawkner, there is an Ohel [chapel] where Tehillim were said,
and then the funeral proceeded to the gravesite. This I remember from the
funeral of my late grandmother.

In the 60s (I think), the Chevra Kadisha purchased land in Springvale, a suburb
well to the south of the city center, which it developed as a cemetery for
exclusive use of the Jewish community. With more burials being held there, it
was common to see, as part of a funeral announcement, the words Directly at
Springvale, meaning that the service and eulogies would be held in the ohel at
the cemetery, immediately prior to the burial, rather than in Carlton. This made
sense, since it saved having to travel first to Carlton (usually from the newer
Jewish centers in St. Kilda/Elwood/Caulfied) and then backtrack to get to

Later the Chevra Kadisha gave up its premises in Carlton, and built new premises
in St. Kilda, close to the main center of Jewish life in Melbourne, but by then
the custom of holding the funeral directly at the cemetery had taken hold, and
although there is a suitable chapel as part of the Chevra Kadisha building, it
is not used much (I think it is used when the niftar [deceased] is being sent
for burial in Israel). 

Now that the Springvale cemetery is almost fully used (or reserved), the new
Chevra Kadisha cemetery in Lyndhurst is being used, and here too the service and
eulogies are held at the cemetery itself.

Perry Zamek

C: 054-7513819 
E: <perry.zamek@...> 
W: perryzamek.com


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

Martin writes (MJ 65#79) that he found that my content is not

> doing much more than discussing the earliest date we can find IN THE LITERATURE
> for the rules of conversion

Well, that was my query.

And he adds,

> It does NOT mean that these rules were not in existence earlier, merely that
> they were not recorded earlier

The creation of Heaven and earth, Hevel's murder and any number of relatively
other minor episodes are recorded but not how to join the Jewish People seems to
me interesting.

Anyway, while I did not at the time relate to Chana Luntz pointing out (MJ
65#78) that

> academic discussions have NO RELEVANCE to halachic process,

I would disagree. Just like a Posek goes to a doctor, an electrician or any
other professional to learn about some matter, an academic can be very relevant.

Yisrael Medad

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

David Tzohar wrote (MJ 65#79):

> ...
> The gemarra concludes that gerei tzedek were not accepted during the monarchy
> of David and Solomon, the reason being that subjects were converting to enjoy
> the perks of Jewish citizenship. The same was true for the "mityahadim" at the
> end of the Purim story.
> This poses some difficult questions:
> ...
> 3 - Does this mean that we shouldn't accept converts in present day Israel?
> Food for thought.

It would appear from the gemarra's conclusion that gerei tzedek should not be
accepted in present day Israel. So how can 'liberal minded' organisations that
also claim to be true to the Torah argue that one should be more lenient there?
If anything one should be stricter.

Martin Stern


From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 30,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Shabbat Candles and the Blessing

The objective of kindling Neirot Shabbat is to arrange before Shabbat that there
will be light on Shabbat "both to address practical necessity (to see where you
are going - Shelo yikkashel b'ets uv'even)" and to lend honor to the Sabbath
meal by having a lit lamp at the table. 

I submit it is irrelevant whether the candles' light serves that purpose before
Shabbat begins. 

On the other hand, there is no guarantee that your electric lighting will
continue to illuminate (blackouts do happen). So the candles, with their
built-in supply of fuel, do serve their purpose: to ensure that you will not
have to walk around and dine in the dark, at least during the first few hours of

So there is nothing gained by turning off the dining-room lights before lighting
the candles. (would you also need to pull down the shades, to fend off solar

But if you are precluded from lighting a flame (as in a hotel or hospital
setting), and resort to use of electric lights as Neirot Shabbat, it follows
that you should use a battery powered lamp or, say, a pair of flashlights rather
than a plug-in lamp, to fulfill the obligation of lighting Ner Shabbat. 

Yaakov Gross


End of Volume 65 Issue 80