mail-jewish Vol.65 #32 Digest

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Mar 14, 2022, 5:48:42 PMMar 14
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Volume 65 Number 32
Produced: Mon, 14 Mar 22 17:48:38 -0400


Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Has Reform Judaism failed?
[Monica Cellio]
Shabbos Invitations (was Has Reform Judaism failed?)
[Prof. L. Levine]
Shechting an animal with two heads
[Avraham Friedenberg]
The New Shtiebel Near Me
[Prof. L. Levine]
What is the proper procedure for putting on shoes?
[Steven Oppenheimer]



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From: Monica Cellio <cel...@pobox.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 10,2022 at 09:17 PM
Subject: Has Reform Judaism failed?

The discussion of whether inviting Reform Jews for Shabbat accomplishes
anything, with the presumption that they're not going to follow halacha anyway,
reminds me of something that happened to me years ago. I realize that an
anecdote is not an argument, but it made an impression on me and I am moved to
share it.

Many years ago, I was at a large secular convention that ran for more than a
week. On Shabbat I was walking with somebody as we passed by the large
marketplace. The person I was with commented on some of the items for sale, and
I said something to the effect that I couldn't shop that day because it was
Shabbat. We continued our walk and talked about other things.

I completely forgot about it until about ten years later. I was at a shiur when
somebody sporting tzitzit and a beard sat down near me and said "you probably
don't remember me". He then proceeded to tell me the story about that Shabbat
conversation. He told me that what to me was a casual comment had made an
impression on him, something to the effect that if I, who was not raised in a
traditional background and was still finding my own way in the Jewish community,
could take torah seriously, then surely he could do more than he was, and he
became a ba'al teshuva. On that Shabbat afternoon at the convention I hadn't
even known he was Jewish and was not attempting any sort of kiruv, and yet my
mere example did something remarkable for him. I am not so presumptuous as to
believe that it was *only* that, but apparently I helped -- and I had no idea
until he told me.

When you invite a guest for Shabbat, you have no idea what you might set in
motion without even trying to. You have no idea what your positive example
might prompt. If the person isn't someone you know well, you probably have
little idea of the person's background. It seems to me that by living torah
values openly and honestly, and in a way that's accessible, we have nothing to
lose and we or our guests might gain a lot. What's the harm, measured against
the possibility that our positive examples might inspire someone else?

Kol tuv
Monica

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From: Prof. L. Levine <lle...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, Mar 10,2022 at 07:17 PM
Subject: Shabbos Invitations (was Has Reform Judaism failed?)

Isaac Balbin wrote (MJ 65#31):

> Yitzchok Levine wrote (MJ 65#30):
>>
>> While Chabad does invite people that they know will violate Shabbos, many
>> non-Chabad poskim say one should not do this.
>
> If he could enlighten us with references to Chabad vs non-Chabad Poskim on
> this matter thereby supporting his supposition.
>
> In point of fact, there are a number of poskim who suggest ways to permit this
> and none are from Chabad and all are relied upon by non-Chabad!

Rav Moshe Feinstein (Teshuvot Igrot Moshe O.C. 1:99) was asked in 1953 by a Rav
in Detroit as to whether it is permissible for him to encourage people to come
to shul when he knows that those individuals live far from the synagogue and
will drive to shul on Shabbat. Rav Moshe strongly rejects doing so. He argues
that extending such an invitation constitutes a violation of the prohibition of
Lifnei Iveir Lo Titein Michshol (Vayikra 19:14), placing a stumbling block
before the blind. Chazal (Avodah Zarah 6b) understand this prohibition to
include facilitating others (analogous to the blind, as they are blinded by
their passions) to sin (the stumbling block). Extending the invitation to Shul
facilitates their sinful behavior of driving on Shabbat, a serious violation of
Torah law, as each time one presses the accelerator he violates the prohibition
of burning on Shabbat (for an explanation why it is also forbidden to drive on
Yom Tov, see Teshuvot Yechave Da'at 3:36).

Rav Moshe goes even further and asserts that by extending such an invitation not
only violates Lifnei Iveir, but also constitutes violating a severe prohibition,
namely Meisit, convincing someone to sin (Devarim 13:7-12), which in certain
circumstances constitutes a capital crime! Rav Moshe proves that Meisit applies
not only to the situation discussed in Devarim chapter 13 of influencing someone
to worship Avodah Zarah (idolatry), from the Gemara (Sanhedrin 29a) that
classifies the snake of BeReishit chapter three as a Meisit (the snake, of
course, convinced Chavah to violate Hashem's command not to
eat from the tree of knowledge). Rav Moshe notes that even though convincing
someone to violate a prohibition other than Avodah Zarah does not constitute a
capital crime it nevertheless is a severe prohibition to the extent that the
heavenly court will not muster a defense for such action on one's Day of
judgment (just as Hashem did not suggest a defense for the snake of the Garden
of Eden, as noted in the aforementioned Gemara).

Yitzchok Levine

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From: Avraham Friedenberg <els...@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Mar 13,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Shechting an animal with two heads

Somehow this came up for discussion on Shabbat. How would someone shecht a two
headed lamb, or any two headed animal? Would it require a shochet on each side
to cut simultaneously?

Avraham (Alan) Friedenberg
Be'er Sheva, Israel


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From: Prof. L. Levine <lle...@stevens.edu>
Date: Sun, Mar 13,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: The New Shtiebel Near Me

About two years ago a new shtiebel opened near where I live. The person who owns
it bought a house in the middle of a block and did a very major renovation to
it. As part of his renovation, he made a shul in his basement. Recently, he
bought the house on the corner of the block and is in the process of renovating
this structure. The first thing he did was dig between his house and the corner
house so that he now has a large shtiebel. Further renovations are under way. on
the first, second and third floors of this corner house. Money does not seem to
be an object for this person.

My eldest granddaughter's husband (grandson-in-law?), Moshe, davened in this
shtiebel this past Friday night and Shabbos morning. He told me that the place
is attractively furnished with chandeliers, lovely glass tables, and many other
amenities. He said that there must have been at least 100 men in this shul on
Friday night and Shabbos morning and that there was little taking during
davening. He told me there was a lavish Kiddush after davening "that must have
cost $2000". There were waiters, and the waiters were still bringing out
platters of food even though most of those who had davened there had already
left! I have been told that a kiddush like this is given every Shabbos morning!

What should one think of such a Kiddush? The quote below from Rav Shimon
Schwab, ZT"L (Selected Essays, pages 14-15), is the answer IMO.

> When we take an honest look at ourselves - the "Torah World," the shomrei
> Torah u'mitzvos community - we must make our own cheshbon hanefesh. Can we
> honestly say about ourselves, avol anachnu amecha bnei brisecha?
>
> Allow me to give you just a few relevant examples. In spite of the present
> economic crunch, our Jewish simchos, chasunos and bar mitzvahs have become
> more and more blown up with false affluence and an obscene display of
> ultramodern fashions and glittering jewelry. The main activity at these
> gatherings consists of wolfing down enormous amounts of exotic food, and
> what's worse, when all the gorging is done, the large amount of food that is
> left over is thrown in the garbage! A colossal violation of the law of bal
> tashchis! This really borders on insanity, because we know there are
> thousands of hungry people around, and there are whole yeshivas that could
> live off the discarded leftovers of Jewish simchos .

Yitzchok Levine

PS. For the record, Moshe does not plan on davening in this Shtiebel when he and
his family spend Shabbos with me in the future.

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From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.op...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 10,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: What is the proper procedure for putting on shoes?

Prof. Levine (MJ 65#31) wonders about straps, velcro shoe ties and slip-ons.

The Sh. Aruch states (2:4) that the right shoe should be put on first, and then
the left shoe should be put on and tied followed by tying the right shoe.

Why?

Firstly, the Mishna Berurah comments (4:5) that the right has precedence over
the left as we see in the Torah. For this reason, we put the right shoe on first.

Secondly, we tie the left shoe first, because it reminds us of the mitzvah of
tefillin which Hashem gave us in the merit of Avraham Avinu (im michut ad seroch
na'al - Lech Lecha 14:23)). We tie the shel yad on the left arm (MB 4:6). If
someone is left handed and puts his shel yad (the tefillah that goes on the arm)
on his right arm, he should tie the right shoe first (MB 4:6).

If someone is wearing non-leather shoes, he need not tie the left shoe first (MB
4:6) - tefillin are made of leather. Straps and velcro ties are still considered
ties in the vernacular (belashon benei adam), and I'm not sure why they would
make a difference. Remember, the whole purpose is to get us to appreciate the
gift that Hashem gave us with the mitzvah of tefillin.

All of our actions, no matter how mundane, should be infused with kedusha. When
we put on our shoes, we should think of Avraham Avinu's kiddush Hashem in
refusing to take anything from Melech Sodom, and in that zechut (merit) we were
given the mitzvah of tefillin (and techelet of tzitzit) [Sotah 17a]. When we
take the mundane act of putting on our shoes and connect that act to a mitzvah,
while recognizing our forefather Avraham, we elevate our lives and are mekadesh
Shem Shamayim. Something to think about on a daily basis.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.

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