Volume 66 Number 53 
      Produced: Thu, 07 Sep 23 14:38:54 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Psak (3)
    [Perets Mett  Carl Singer  Chana Luntz]


From: Perets Mett <pmett99@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 7,2023 at 02:17 AM
Subject: Psak

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 66#52):
> Carl Singer in MJ 66#50 wrote that his wife had received a psak halakhah (a
> halakhic ruling) from her Posek (rabbi) who said that she "had 30 days" from
> the day that she and Carl moved into their new house to put up a mezuzah on
> their new residence.  Someone asked who that was whereupon Carl's wife
> replied "with the name of a Gadol haDor who happens to be a family friend. (I
> had put up mezzuzahs on day one.)" 
> Perets Mett (MJ 66 #51) quoted the Sde Chemed (40:113) who ruled "that on
> moving into a house which you own (bought), even in Chuts lo-orets, the
> mezuza must be affixed immediately."   At which point Perets asked, "Would
> Carl be kind enough to identify the Godol haDor who holds otherwise?"
> I am not a Gadol Hador (just ask my wife.  She'll be more than happy to tell
> you I know nothing from nothing on a good day!).   But Rabbi Joseph Caro
> writes in his Shulhan Arukh (YD 286:22) that someone who rents (I will add
> "or buys") a house in Chuts lo-orets has 30 days to put up a mezuzah.  As the
> Sha"kh adds, "because [before 30 days] it is not considered a residence."
> But, continues the Mehaber, if you rent a house in Israel, you must put up a
> mezuzah immediately as that is the rule for Israel (i.e. that houses rented,
> bought or built by a Jew in Israel are considered part of the yishuv [the
> Jewish community] from day one).  Carl and his wife live in New Jersey so I
> think the 30 day rule applies to them.   Even if it doesn't apply to them
>, Carl did post their mezuzot on Day# 1. 
> I would add that this halakhah was taught to me by a sofer (ritual scribe) in
> my adopted community of Bet Shemesh when I went looking to buy mezuzot for my
> new home there.   I said I have 30 days.   He said, "I don't think so."   He
> was right.

Sorry but you are wrong. Yes, a renter in chuts lo-orets has 30 days grace
But a purchaser has no such grace period The obligation to affix a mezuza is

There is an enormous difference between renting and buying

Perets Mett

From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 7,2023 at 06:17 AM
Subject: Psak

In response to Perets Mett (above) -- your sources and mine disagree.  But in
any case where do you get off telling other people what the halacha is when you
were not asked -- this is the key to the Psak issue.

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.Colonel, U.S. Army Retired
70 Howard Avenue
Passaic, NJ 

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 7,2023 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Psak

Yaakov Shachter wrote (MJ 66#49):

> Carl Singer wrote (MJ 66#48):
>> I may be over-simplifying - but an important structural element of a
>> psak is that it is in response to an inquiry.
>> I've related this story many times -- approximately 45 years ago we
>> lived in a community without an eruv.  Some men had their house keys
>> fashioned into tie-tacks.  My wife had a key added to her charm
>> bracelet. When someone told her that this was carrying, her response
>> was, "I didn't ask you!"
> Respectfully, it seems that he and his wife misunderstand the requirements of
> Leviticus 19:17, which requires us (among other things) to reprove our fellow
> Jew, when he or she is transgressing. This is on everyone's list of the 613
> Scriptural commandments, and according to everyone's list of the 613 
> Scriptural commandments, it does not matter whether anyone asked you.

Respectfully, there is something of a risk quoting directly from the Torah
without then bringing the Talmudic and later authorities.

For example, it is important bear in mind passages such as Beitza 30a:

"Rava bar Rav Chanan said to Abaye it is taught in a Mishna, do not clap and do
not tap and do not dance on Yom Tov. And behold we see that they do this, and
nobody says to them anything.  And he said to him: And according to your
reasoning, behold that which Rava said: a person may not sit on the edge of an
alleyway, perhaps an object might roll from him and he might bring it back (four
cubits in a public domain).  And behold these women they weigh their buckets,
and they go and sit on the edge of an alleyway, and no one says to them
anything.  But leave Israel be, it is better that they act in ignorance and do
not sin deliberately. Here also.  Leave Israel it is better that they act in
ignorance and do not sin deliberately.  And these words are when it is
rabbinic, but when it is from the Torah, no.  But it is not so, that there is no
difference whether it is rabbinic or whether it is from the Torah, that they do
not say anything to them since behold adding on to Yom Kippur is from the Torah,
and behold we see, that they eat and drink up until nightfall, and they do not
say to them anything".

So, the assertion later in the piece that it is better that they act in
ignorance only applies to rabbinic obligations appears to be specifically
rejected by the gemara.  So, you may ask, where has the Torah commandment of
rebuking one's fellow gone?  The answer of the Itur, as quoted by the Rosh
(Beitza perek 4 siman 2), the Ran (on the Rif Beitza 16b) and following them the
Rema in the Shulchan Aruch (Orech Chaim siman 608 si'if 2) is that therefore the
requirement to rebuke is only of it is explicitly stated in the Torah - to
differentiate from the additional affliction added to Yom Kippur, which while a
Torah obligation, is not explicit in the Torah.  Others link it to the gemara in
Yevamot 65b:

"And did not Rabbi Eloyi say in the name of Rabbi Eliezer bar Shimon: just as it
is a mitzvah on a person to say a thing that will be heard, so it is a mitzvah
on a person not to say a thing that will not be heard. Rabbi Abba said: it is an
obligation, as it is said: do not rebuke a scoffer lest he hate you, rebuke a
wise person and he will love you"

And while some might understand this to be talking only about rabbinic mitzvot,
others unquestionably use it to explain an absence of a Torah obligation to
rebuke. On the other hand (as is to be expected in any halachic discussion)
there are yet others that disagree and believe one is required to rebuke, at
least if he does not know for sure that he will not be listened to (see e.g.
Magen Avraham 608:1).  Others feel it is only required when we have authorities
that have the power to do something about the matter - and can back up the
rebuke with punishment see e.g. Birchei Yosef (OC 608:4). Some suggest that is
indeed in the Rambam (Hilchot Shvitat Asar perek 1 halacha 7) as he says: 

"Women who eat and drink up until dark, and they do not know that the mitzvah
is to add from the secular to the holy, one should not protest that they should
not come to sin deliberately, that behold it is not possible that that there
will be an officer in everyone's house to warn his women, and we leave them be,
that it is better that they act in ignorance and they do not sin deliberately"

But on the other hand, there is a question as to how you reconcile this with the
Rambam brought below.

> A reason for your misunderstanding, may be a misunderstanding of the nature of
> this obligation.  The Torah does not require you to try to do impossible 
> things. Thus, if you become aware that Scarlett Johansson, or the late 
> Madeleine Allbright, is wearing sha`atnez underwear, then you must tell her  
> to remove her underwear, and if she does not, then you must remove it
> yourself, forcibly.
> (I swear I am not making this up.  This is true, according to Rambam, who, in
> Hilkoth Kil`ayyim 10:29 -- you can look it up -- changes the example of the
> Talmud, which spoke only of removing your own clothes. I love this stuff.)

It is correct that the Rambam does say this (at least about a man, he does not
mention women).  On the other hand, one might not be surprised to learn given
the Rosh's stance above, the Rosh (see the Tur Yoreh Deah siman 303) rules
against the position of the Rambam, and understands the gemara to be davka
talking about taking shatnez off oneself, but that there is no requirement to
disabuse Scarlett Johansson or Madeleine Albright (or a male in a similar
predicament), as it is better that they remain in ignorance.  [BTW, the Rambam
does not, of course, say Scarlette Johansson or Madeleine Albright, he very much
phrases the requirement in the masculine.  And I do not think it is so clear
that he would extend that to a woman. There are gemara sources treating women
differently to men with regard to dress e.g. stripping them for execution, and
the Rambam might well hold that this applied in the current case as well -
although the question does bear investigation.  There might be some overlap with
the debate on how to understand the Rambam views on e.g. women's hair covering. 
If the obligation to cover for a woman is from the Torah, then removing the
cover is not just about kavod habriyut [human dignity], which was the issue
raised in this passage in kilyaim,  so his answer in the shatnez case if dealing
with a woman might well be different to that stated regarding a man].

> However, if you are certain that you will be prevented from forcibly removing
> her underwear, then you are not obliged to leap on her and try, because the
> Torah commands us to do things, but does not command us to try to do 
> impossible things.

But that is not the only operative here (although I agree that if one is in an
impossible situation, one is exempt).  The Torah does not only have the category
of impossible versus possible.  It has various graduations including b'dieved
[non ideal] where actions (or non-actions) may be taken that are not necessarily
ideal, but for which there are lenient opinions.  And those lenient opinions are
often the correct opinions in b'dieved circumstances.  So in order to know that
one is in the right and a violation is being committed (given that without this
one has no obligation to rebuke), one also needs to know the full nature of the
circumstances in which the transgression is occurring, and be sure that one is
not in fact mistaken in one's assessment.  Because if one is mistaken, then one
might instead be in violation of numerous other Torah obligations (I can think
of a few involved in ripping the underwear off a woman in public). And while it
is safek d'oraita l'chumra [with a doubtful Torah obligation we go stringently],
if the doubts go both ways, the general principle is shev v'al ta'aseh adif [it
is better to sit passively and not to do anything actively].  And the Rambam
holds that the principle safek d'oraita l'chumra is itself only rabbinic,
meaning human dignity would override it in a doubtful case.  So even were it
possible, a defence that you thought you were performing a mitzvah in accordance
with the Rambam would not take you very far unless you are definitely right that
this is how we rule, and that the violation was definitely a Torah violation,
and that it is not running into one of these other principles where a positive
mitzvah is pushed aside by a negative plus positive mitzvah etc. etc.

> The commandment to admonish your fellow Jew, though, is not a commandment to
> get your fellow Jew to stop transgressing.  It is a commandment to admonish
> your fellow Jew.  That is how it is expressed, and that is how it is
> understood.  It makes no mention of whether you will succeed in getting your
> fellow Jew to change his or her behavior. That's not part of the mitzvah.
> The mitzvah is that when your fellow Jew transgresses, you must admonish him
> or her (unless, of course, your doing so would violate some other positive
> Torah commandment, although not if it would violate a negative Torah
> commandment, since a positive commandment overrides a negative one).

And yet, as brought above, while the written Torah may not make any mention of
success as an important criterion, there are numbers of gemarot which  do indeed
focus precisely on this, and various Rishonim and Achronim who stitch them
together to restrict the obligation significantly beyond the simple words stated

> Of course, the Scriptural obligation to admonish your fellow Jew when he or
> she is transgressing, only applies when your fellow Jew is violating a
> Scriptural commandment; if your fellow Jew is violating a Rabbinic obligation,
> but not a Scriptural one, then there is no Scriptural obligation to admonish.
> There is a Rabbinic obligation to admonish, but this Rabbinic obligation has
> many qualifications that the Scriptural obligation does not have (such as, it
> is better that they transgress unknowingly, than that they transgress
> knowingly).

In the case in question we were dealing with someone who lived in a community
"without an eruv". Note the phraseology.  It was "without an eruv" - not an
environment in which it was impossible to make an eruv according to all
opinions.  That suggests that, at least according to some opinions, the place in
question was not a reshut harabim d'oraita [public domain from the Torah] - as
it is impossible to make an eruv if it is a public domain from the Torah.  In
which case - even had the woman in question carried her key in her normal way in
her pocket, she would only be violating a rabbinic prohibition and even
according to the above there was no triggering of the Torah prohibition to
rebuke.  Now this woman was not only not carrying the key in her pocket, but she
was carrying it in an abnormal manner, attached to her charm bracelet.  So even
if the domain in question was indeed a public domain from the Torah, according
to all opinions, she was carrying via a shinui [an abnormal manner], which again
would reduce the prohibition from a Torah one to a rabbinic one.  So I fail to
see, even according to what has been posted, why there is any reason to raise
the requirements of Vayikra 19:17, as it would require an extraordinary level of
ignorance for a person to confuse this with a violation of a Torah prohibition,
even were one not to accept the view of the Itur that it must be a prohibition
that is explicitly mentioned in the written Torah.




End of Volume 66 Issue 53