Volume 65 Number 82 
      Produced: Mon, 05 Sep 22 15:31:02 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Civil marriage in Israel 
    [David Tzohar]
Is Geirus deOraisa? (2)
    [Yisrael Medad   Haim Snyder]
Shabbat Candles and the Blessing (2)
    [Perets Mett  Chana Luntz]
Why is Geirut not mentioned in the Chumash? 
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 5,2022 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Civil marriage in Israel

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 65#81), civil marriage is not an option for a
Jewish State. It is, simply put, institutionalised ZNUT (prostitutuon). Not only
for marriages of Jews with non-Jews, but in any marriage without chupah
v'kiddushin v'ketubah each and every act of intercourse is a BiYYaT Z'NUT. In
Israel the trains don't run on shabbat, the ministry of health doesn't issue
kashrut certificates and weddings are conducted by rabbis, imams and priests.

So what do we do with 250,000 Israelis who are not halachically Jewish? IMHO
they should be considered geirei toshav and undergo giyyur lechumra
(circumcision and immersion). In fact we already did this with the Ethiopians,
even the Falashmura who were safek Christians and the earth did not open and
swallow us up.

In the meantime TGFC (thank Gd for Cyprus)

David Tzohar


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 4,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

The only response I have to Chana Luntz's hundreds of words comment (MJ 65#81)
is that I am sorry she insists on misunderstanding my English and I take full
responsibility for not being more precise than I was. Together with Elazar
Teitz, I feel they both were/are seeking to present my reasoning as outside the
realm of normative Orthodox boundaries. I disincline to accept how they perceive
my words and their subsequent grasp of my questioning.

True, there is no mitzva to convert and yet the process of conversion involves
Torah actions that require a blessing to be recited as when the convert
immerses. As I myself pointed out, the origin of conversion is a construct: that
the B'nai Yisrael leaving Egypt underwent a symbolic conversion ceremony to
become (more?) Jewish. That construct is not in the Torah. As for insisting that
a midrash is actually Torah Sh'Baal Peh, and therefore d'Oraitha, well, that's
another issue.

Yisrael Medad

From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 5,2022 at 05:17 AM
Subject: Is Geirus deOraisa?

Much has been written recently in Mail Jewish discussing if the mitzva of
conversion is deOraisa or deRabbanan. My question is, why do people care so much
about this?

Clearly, conversion is a mitzva, no matter what its source. As far as I know,
the only difference between a mitzva deOraisa and a mitzva deRabbanan is what to
do if there is a question as to whether is was performed, or performed properly:
a mitzva deRabbanan is treated leniently and a mitzva deOraisa is treated strictly.

Is that the concern here, and if so, what aspect(s); the selection of
candidates, the preparation of the candidates, the determination as to which
candidates can move forward with the process, and/or the follow-up to see if
those converted are living the way they said they would, or with the performance
of the ritual(s) itself/themselves? In each of these cases, what is lenient and
what is strict? In the words of one my better teachers, the answers are left as
an exercise for the student.


Haim Shalom Snyder

Petah Tikva


From: Perets Mett <pmett99@...>
Date: Fri, Sep 2,2022 at 03:17 AM
Subject: Shabbat Candles and the Blessing

Yaakov Gross wrote (MJ 65#80):
> 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. 

This is discussed in the (newly published) Vol 4 of Orchos Shabbos (Rabbis
Gelber and Rubin) footnote 51

which quotes Rabbi SZ Auerbach allowing (in principle) a battery powered lamp /
torch but not mains electricity; however many authorities do not make this

Perets Mett

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 4,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Shabbat Candles and the Blessing

Jack Gross  writes (MJ 65#80):

> 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. 

Note first of all, the language of the Shulchan Aruch in Orech Chaim siman 263
si'if 4:

"He should not hurry to light them early while it is still full day because
then it is not obvious that he lights them in honour of Shabbat, and if he
wants to light the light while it is still full day and accept upon himself
Shabbat immediately, he is permitted since he accepts Shabbat immediately if he
is not too early so long as it is after plug hamincha, being a [halachic]
hour and a quarter before the night."

So even though the mitzvah is understood (following the Rambam, and this is
generally accepted to be the position of the Shulchan Aruch) to be to have
light on Shabbat, lighting candles too early is a problem, although it is
debateable whether that is because you cannot see the light of the candle due to
the fullness of the day when you light, or whether it is because the time
distance between the lighting and Shabbat is too great.  In any event, the idea
of kavod Shabbat [honour of Shabbat] is generally considered to be about
preparing for Shabbat, and hence the language of the Shulchan Aruch makes it
difficult to say that the purpose of the candle's light is "irrelevant" before
Shabbat begins. 

The Rema then adds: "and if the light was alight while it was full day, he
should extinguish it and return and light it for the purpose of Shabbat."

The Rema is basing himself on the ruling of Rabbeinu Tam brought in the Tosafot
on Shabbat 25b and the Tur.  Now some commentators understand the Rema as
arguing on the position of the Shulchan Aruch based on the Rambam, i.e. that the
essential mitzvah is to have a lit candle on Shabbat, and rather understanding
the essential mitzvah as the actual physical lighting.  On the other hand,
others understand him as merely adding to the Shulchan Aruch, and not disputing
that the essential mitzvah is to have a lit candle for oneg Shabbat, but that
part of kavod Shabbat also requires there to be a physical lighting.  At the
very least, Ashkenazim would be expected to take the Rema into account (and most
Sephardim will do so unless this was not possible).

> 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 Shabbat. 

The Mishpat Uzziel (Orech Chaim siman 7) raises something similar as an issue -
being concerned that there might be a power cut in the middle of the meal and
gives this as one of the reasons not to use electric lights for the Shabbat
light.  However the Tzitz Eliezer rejects the reasoning of the Mishpat Uzziel,
and I suspect most others would do so as well.  After all, candles are
frequently blown out by the wind, and we do not use that as a reason to prefer
electric lights (a power cut is probably less likely). Classic Shabbat lights in
the time of the gemara were wicks suspended in oil, and the gemora describes
contraptions to drip more oil in using gravity (which could be knocked over or
physically removed).  Hard to see how the flow of electrons around a circuit
with back-up generators is any different to that. 

> 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 illumination?) 

I suspect those poskim who do hold there is an issue with having the candles lit
when the electric lights are on and recommend switching the lights off first and
keeping them off until the candles are lit are concerned precisely about it
mimicking the Shulchan Aruch's "full day" (I have heard this in the name of Rav
JB Solovetchik, so it is likely to be the position brought by R. Hershel
Schachter and referred to in Isaac Balbin's posting in (MJ 65#79)). Others who
want the electric lights turned off but then on again before candle lighting (I
have heard this in the name of Rav Moshe Feinstein) presumably hold that in case
the electric lights are also deemed Shabbat lights, Rabbeinu Tam should be
followed in respect of these as well.

> 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. 

Battery could run out of charge, and unless you are checking the batteries in a
meter before using them, you don't know how much there is, so I don't think that
helps any. The Mishpat Uzziel was concerned that because there could be a power
cut, it fitted into the type of light described in the Mishna and Gemara as
producing a not so good flame (there are various materials listed as being
unsuitable to be used for Shabbat lights because of the quality of flame they
produce).  The Tzitz Eliezer rather argues that the light produced is perfectly
good, just that an external event might mean it goes out and even that is
unlikely at that particular time.  Note that the Tzitz Eliezer has yet a
different concern that maybe an electric light is classified as a halachic
"torch" [avuka] not a "light" [ner] and we do not use torches for Shabbat lights

But please note that there is an additional complication that most torches today
(and indeed increasingly all electric lights) are LEDs, where the physics is
very different to the  physics discussed by the various poskim referred to above
(in their days there was a metal filament that physically did get hot, so
clearly falling within the Rambam's definition of havarah). Most people seem to
be seamlessly assuming that the one means the other, without noting how
dramatically the physics in our houses has changed.  Part of me does think that
we might well end up moving to an understanding of Or [i.e. halachic light] as
being the emission of visible spectrum photons - but that is much less clearly
derivable from the Mishna, Gemora and Rishonim than the halachic status of an
incandescent bulb.  

Kind regards 



From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 5,2022 at 01:17 AM
Subject: Why is Geirut not mentioned in the Chumash?

I hope that if I rephrase my question and clarify its context I will focus
attention on what bothers me.

As pointed out on the "Is Geirus d'Oraitha?" theme, conversion is not a mitzva.
Fine. But one would think that the process of joining the Jewish people would be
a subject that would be treated. As we are aware, there are several verses that
begin "If ... then". Why is not conversion not at all mentioned?

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 65 Issue 82