Volume 66 Number 13 
      Produced: Mon, 07 Nov 22 06:53:38 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Eating Seudah Shelishis in Shul 
    [Chaim Casper]
Halachos Pertaining to Travel 
    [Avraham Friedenberg]
Inaudible Mi shebairachs 
    [Chaim Casper]
Mashiv haru'ach 
    [Haim Snyder]
To Give Charity or Not? (2)
    [Martin Stern  Chaim Casper]
Walking through a crosswalk on Shabbat in Israel 
    [Avraham Friedenberg]
What Kind Of a Wedding Is It? (2)
    [Ari Trachtenberg  Martin Stern]
What was the question? (was What is D'Oraita?) 
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 6,2022 at 08:17 PM
Subject: Eating Seudah Shelishis in Shul

Professor Yitzchak Levine asked (MJ 66#10) "... if the practice of men eating
Seudah Shelishi[t] in shul should be discontinued. What do others on Mail Jewish

Professor Levine is partially correct that the eating of Seudah Shlishit is an
obligation due to the halakhah of oneg Shabbat. In fact, the m'haber/author of
the Shulhan Arukh writes (OH 281:1): "One should be careful to fulfill Seudah
Shlishit even if he is satiated (from lunch) - he can fulfill this obligation by
eating [only] an egg...."

But what if one does not have any oneg Shabbat (Shabbat enjoyment) in eating
shalosh seudot because the days are short? If I remember correctly, Boston
(where I come from) and New York are having Seudah Shlishit around 4-4:30pm.
(Methinks that Manchester, Martin's home, is even earlier than this.)   No
matter how small a Shabbat lunch I have, I am always full at the time of Seudah
Shlishit.  And so, I draw the reader's attention to the continuation of the
m'haber above, "... and if it is impossible for him at all to eat [seudah
shlishit], he is not required to bring pain upon himself."  

Speaking for myself, I haven't eaten Shalosh Seudot for years.   I am still full
of lunch whether it is the winter or the summer.   So, I, unlike Prof Levine, do
not force myself to eat shalosh seudot.   Instead, I open a sefer (a religious
text) and learn.  It is much better for the mind and the waistline.  

Yet, on the other hand, there are numerous others who look forward to s'eudah
shlishit.  I say, "eilu v'eilu divrei E-lokim hayim (both are the words of a
living God, viz, both are acceptable).

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL0
Neve Mikhael, Israel


From: Avraham Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 6,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Halachos Pertaining to Travel

Irwin Weiss writes (MJ 66#11):

> Also, I had the thought that when a few people walked together on Shabbat on
> the sidewalk, there was a possibility that one would have to, or would
> inadvertently, step off the sidewalk onto the adjacent grass.  This pushed the
> grass down. I heard someone say that this was a forbidden melacha (type of
> work) on Shabbat, because it would be sowing or planting.

What I remember learning is that there is no problem to walk across grass on
Shabbat, as long as one's intention is simply to walk on the grass, and not to
make furrows or plant any seeds.

Avraham (Alan) Friedenberg
Be'er Sheva, Israel


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 6,2022 at 08:17 PM
Subject: Inaudible Mi shebairachs

Martin Stern notes (MJ 66#11) that there "is a tendency for the gabbai to recite
misheberachs in an undertone so that nobody can hear the name of the person
mentioned nor, for that matter, the purpose of the misheberach."

I believe Martin is referring to two different mi shebayrakh prayers.  

One is recited as a thank you to a man who has accepted and finished an Aliyah.
The terminology says, "on account [that the oleh, the person who had the
Aliyah] has gone up to honor the place (i.e. the bimah), the Torah and Shabbat
(or the holiday of the hour)..."

A follow up mi shebayrakh can be said for the oleh's family (this depends on the
local custom and  usually requires the oleh to donate to the synagogue or
minyan.  The Rav, Rabbi Joseph Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, zt"l, was meticulous
that both the prayers required a donation. See R` Hershel Schechter, shlita's
book on the teachings of the Rav, Nefesh HaRav, pg 143).  Because the oleh is
announcing a pledge, it would be proper for the gabbai to say these prayers
aloud as a way of acknowledging the community's gratitude to the oleh. 

The second mi shebayrakh prayer we recite is on behalf of the sick in the
community.  Rabbi Schechter has ruled that this prayer should be recited quietly
as we do not want to publicize that someone is ill.  I once tried to discuss
(argue?) this ruling with Rabbi Schechter but for obvious reasons, I didn't get

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL
Neve Mikhael, Israel


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 6,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Mashiv haru'ach

In response to Martin Stern (MJ 66#12) am aware of the fact that nusach Ashkenaz
outside of Israel does not say morid hatal in the summer, since I came to Israel
when I was 30.

However, I still think that referring to the winter insertion as "mashiv
haru'ach" misses the point. What we are talking about is rain. That is why it is
called Tefilat Geshem on Shmini Atzeret.

Ru'ach (air movement) is necessary all year long. A farmer who saw what 
was written in my siddur told me that we should look at the chemistry of the
atmosphere. The earth's atmosphere contains mostly of 4 gases, in descending
order of quantity: nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and carbon dioxide (the last
two might be reversed on a dry day). The molecular weight of nitrogen is 28, the
molecular weight of oxygen is 32, the molecular weight of water vapor is 18 and
the molecular weight of carbon dioxide is 44. If there were no air movement,
they would stratify so that carbon dioxide would be lowest, then oxygen, then
nitrogen and water vapor would be on top. Bearing in mind that humans need
oxygen to breathe and they convert it to carbon dioxide, but the leaves of the
trees release the oxygen from carbon dioxide back into the air, one realizes
that air movement, which both mixes the gases and transports 
carbon dioxide up to the leaves, is essential for life. Therefore, only saying
mashiv haru'ach in the winter is probably not correct. As I pointed out, we say
that in both Tefilat Tal and Tefilat Geshem.

I understand Ashkenazim who don't say morid hatal in the summer, since tal is
expected all year long and, in birkat hashanim in the summer we don't say
"v'tain tal l'vracha" just "v'tain bracha". However, referring to the insertion
in the winter as mashiv haru'ach, in my opinion, misses the point.


Haim Shalom Snyder

Petah Tikva


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 6,2022 at 12:17 PM
Subject: To Give Charity or Not?

Ari Trachtenberg wrote (MJ 66#12):
> My understanding is that one is obligated, in general, to give charity - but
> that there is not a specific obligation to give charity to everyone.  On a
> partially related note, I was at shul one morning, when a man approached me
> (and other daveners) asking for charity.  He noted that he was a learned rabbi
> who had traveled from Israel and was in need of support.
> Somehow, the conversation came to a point when the rabbi dramatically pointed
> out that "Everything is in the hands of heaven".  I countered with a simple
> "Except for?" - when he looked at me quizzically, I knew he was not a rabbi.

I find these people who collect in shul quite disturbing. As Ari points out,
some are fraudulent though they may be using the objective for which they are
ostensibly collecting because they are embarrassed to admit that they are in
personal need.

What I find particularly irritating is when they approach people at a time when
they are not allowed to make a break in the davening. (I am not referring to
genuine cases of piku'ach nefesh where the individual might actually drop dead
if he is not given some food immediately - I have never actually come across
such cases - and giving a monetary donation to them would too late to help).
Once I saw someone approach a man who had just put on his tefillin shel yad and
was about to take his shel rosh out of its bag - and speak to him!

On another occasion, I was sitting with my hand over my eyes saying the first
verse of the Shema when someone shouted in my ear "hachnosos kallah". I was so
startled that I completely forgot which word I had reached and had to start
again. I would have thought that it was obvious to anyone with any familiarity
with davening what I was doing, so I must assume that he was not - in that case
I completely ignored him based on the principle of "ha'oseik bamitzvah patur min
hamitzvah [someone engaged in one mitzvah is exempt from another one]". After
that experience, I prepared a card which I put out when coming to such parts of
the davening stating this and asking collectors to come back later (a specified
time, usually after a kaddish). Usually, waiting a few more minutes should not
be too much for anyone.

Martin Stern

From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 6,2022 at 08:17 PM
Subject: To Give Charity or Not?

Stuart Pilichowski asked (MJ 66#11), "What's my responsibility to giving tsedaka
[charity] to one who comes to my door or to my synagogue? Am I required to give
something - anything?"

I remember very clearly that the Rav, Rabbi Joseph Dov Halevi Soloveitchik,
zt"l, said very forcefully in shiur that according to the Rambam, it is an issur
d'oraita to ignore someone who asks you for a donation/contribution/handout.  
That's one memory from Yeshiva I will never forget.   But Stuart is correct:
What's my responsibility to give?   I once discussed this with Rabbi Riskin,
shlit"a.   He said that one is not required to give one's whole bank account
over to the m'vakesh (the person asking for help).  One must give SOMETHING.

My wife and I have agreed on the following schedule:

If the requester comes up to me in shul, I give $1. If the requester comes to my
house, I give $5 (they come throughout the year, especially in the winter when
it is too cold in New York to go door to door, so instead, they come here to
Miami! There are weeks we will get up to ten requesters. In fact, as I am
writing this note, two people just off the plane from Israel knocked on my door
asking for help.)

In Israel, I carry a number of one-shekel coins to give people in Geula, Meah
Shearim, the Kotel and Mahaneh Yehuda, places that I am overwhelmed with people
asking for help as they recognize me as an American (on the other hand, I do not
remember anyone coming up to me in my adopted hometown of Bet Shemesh asking for

True story: I once was in Tel Aviv on Rehov Allenby when someone recognized me
as an American.  So, he asked me for financial help.   At the time, I only had a
ten-shekel coin on me.  I asked him to give me 8 shekels in change and keep the
rest.  He said to me, "I have a better idea.   You keep it all as you need it
more than me!"

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL
Neve Mikhael, Israel


From: Avraham Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 6,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Walking through a crosswalk on Shabbat in Israel

Are we in Israel allowed to walk through a crosswalk on Shabbat if a motor
vehicle must slow or come to a complete stop? I'm not asking about a crosswalk
with a traffic light, because the cars will stop due to the red light, not
because someone is crossing. I'm asking about a crosswalk where cars make right
turns, where motor vehicles must yield to pedestrians.

I ask specifically about Israel, because the majority of drivers will be Jewish.
If I walk through a crosswalk as a motor vehicle approaches, I am causing the
driver to slow down or stop (increasing the time s/he is mechaleil Shabbat
[violating the halachot of Shabbat] while driving, and causing the driver to
activate/deactivate brake lights, etc.

Avraham (Alan) Friedenberg
Be'er Sheva, Israel


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 6,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: What Kind Of a Wedding Is It?

Professor Yitzchok Levine wrote (MJ 66#11):

> When was the last time you heard a Dvar Torah at a Chassana?

I have not been to a single Jewish wedding where there was not a "dvar torah" -
in my view, even reciting one Torah blessing fulfills this mitzvah.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 6,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: What Kind Of a Wedding Is It?

In response to Prof. L. Levine (MJ 66#11):

Perhaps things are different in the US, but here in England it is quite normal
for there to be several derashot at every wedding. While I have not been to many
Chassidic weddings, I have attended some more Yeshivish ones. Usually there is a
chairman who introduces the speakers while the waiters clear up after each
course - almost always he speaks at excessive length before EACH one. 

It is normal to have at least two speakers (one for the chatan's family and
another for the kallah's) though there may be many more if there are "chashuve
rabbonim" present who might be offended if they are not called upon.

Often the speakers use the opportunity to display their erudition by delivering
an intricate pilpul which almost certainly none of the ladies, and probably very
few of the men, can follow. No wonder many pay no attention and simply continue
their conversations.

An alternative is based on some far-fetched gematria calculations linking the
names of the young couple with various pesukim or phrases. Unless one has a
calculator and notepad available, it is difficult to check their accuracy.
Sometimes I suspect that the speaker relies on this to gloss over any slight

Sometimes the speakers manage to be amusing and to the point, but those are the
exceptions so, to be honest, I think Prof. Levine's weddings generally are

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 6,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: What was the question? (was What is D'Oraita?)

Chana Luntz writes (MJ 66#12) in responding to Meir Shinnar (MJ 66#11):

> That is not quite right...the question was is ANYTHING that is not explicit in
> the Torah, and whose first written mention is in the midrash halacha and the
> gemara, d'oraita?

That is not quite right regarding the term "d'Oraita" I used. That is Chana's
interpretation of what I wrote and which I tried valiantly to correct, a
misinterpretation from my perhaps insufficiently clear phrasing for which I took
responsibility and which in that very MJ I further sought to clarify.

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 66 Issue 13