mail-jewish Vol.66 #70 Digest

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Jan 15, 2024, 11:34:49 AMJan 15
Mail.Jewish Mailing List
Volume 66 Number 70
Produced: Mon, 15 Jan 24 11:34:46 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

[Micha Berger]
Redemptive element in Jewish Commercial Law
[Joel Rich]
Shabbat Candle Burnout
[Joel Rich]


From: Micha Berger <>
Date: Wed, Jan 3,2024 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Judging?

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 66#69):

> R E Goldberg wrote:
>> If you needed to leave Israel or your child needed to come home, nobody
>> should judge you, but talk about your experience sensitively, thoughtfully,
>> and intelligently.
> And why should nobody judge actions either way? And if not for an individual's
> actions, should not a community be judged on its actions?
> Thoughts?

There are two ways to not be "judgmental" -- the first is to refrain from judgment.

The second is a chiyuv, "hevei es dan kol haadam lekaf zekhus".

Unless you have some realistic chance of hashpa'ah, we should assume that the
person who needed to come home to chu"l or who brought their child home had an
appropriate reason to do so.

If there is a chance of being mashpia' you can't just assume everything is on
the up and up, because then you miss an opportunity to correct a wrong! Perhaps
it is like in recieving LH that one has to be on the alert if true, and
chabedeihu vechashdeihu. Maybe the parent or other authority figure does have to
suspend judgment (the other kind of not being judgmental) and keep their minds
open to both possibilities.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Tue, Jan 9,2024 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Redemptive element in Jewish Commercial Law

My study of the Aruch Hashulchan Choshen Mishpat has made me realize more than
ever that while every society needs to have a set of rules to settle financial
disputes and damages, one really sees how there is an overarching redemptive
element to in Jewish commercial law. Two recent examples I came across are in
163:1 and 157:1

In 157:1 while halacha generally recognizes the concept of communal practice
which can establish a right to a continued use (chazaka), when it comes to hezek
r'iah, even the existence of such a pre-existing practice is not enforceable,
and in fact, the practice needs to be changed. To me, the overriding value of
tzniut means that halacha presumes that nobody would (or should) ever waive
their right (really obligation) to privacy. In some ways this mirrors the
presumption that no one would waive their right not to have an open cesspool on
their property boundary.

163:1 lists the communal requirements that community members can force each
other to contribute towards. In addition to city walls and gates, there is an
extensive list of priorities including a minimum library, synagogues, mikveh,
rabbi, chazen, shvitz and charitable institutions which support needy citizens,
visitors, children and hospitals.

Back when I worked for a living I would tell clients their organization always
has a value proposition "show me your actions and I"ll tell you what it is. Or
as Emerson said "What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I
cannot hear what you say to the contrary".


Bsorot tovot

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Thu, Jan 11,2024 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Shabbat Candle Burnout

During a recent class we were discussing how long shabbat candles must burn. As
part of the discussion, somebody mentioned the practice of relighting shabbat
candles after shabbat that had burnt out by themselves on Shabbat. I hadn't
heard of this practice and neither had most of the participants. I mentioned
this practice at another class and it was not known by the vast majority of the
participants. In both classes no one knew of a source (other than my parents did it)

Firstly. have (ask me if u want a copy) an excerpt from R'YBS on the importance
of folk sayings which I think applies as well to customs for which we don't know
the source. We should try to see the wisdom rather than dismiss them out of hand.

With a little help from my friends (OK with a lot of help from Google and the
Bar Ilan database) I was able to track down several leads. The Chatam Sofer in
Torat Chaim (263) describes the burnout as a bad sign. He mentions several
practices in such a situation, including lighting an additional candle each
Shabbat and relighting the candle after Shabbat ends. He points to a parallel
related to Yom Kippur. He also mentioned the unrelated practice of adding a
candle for each child, and concludes by saying everybody does their own thing
(each river runs its own course)

The Yom Kippur parallel can be found in Shulchan Aruch OC 610:4 which discusses
bringing many candles to the synagogue for Yom Kippur (we had discussed this
practice). He mentions that if they go out on Yom Kippur, one should not ask a
non-Jew to relight them, and one should simply relight the candle after Yom
Kippur, and commit to not putting out such candles. He ascribes this to ancient

The Mishna Brura on the spot adds a fascinating insight - he knows that most
people are concerned when their candle goes out even though there's really no
reason to be concerned, but since everybody does seem concerned, it's best if
they bring the candle to Shul and give it to the shammas and not look at it
afterwards. Interestingly enough, the Aruch Hashulchan also talks about candles
on Yom Kippur and mentions that they are a good sign and actually beneficial to
the souls that are no longer with us. He also mentions that if a candle goes out
it really shouldn't be a big deal and therefore its best to mix up your candles
with others, so you wont see them. He has strong words about worrying about
these kinds of bad omens. This is what my mother ZLLHH used to teach me, you can
either be religious or superstitious, but not both.

He also mentions that the idea of relighting is a practice and its a sguli-type
issue, which to me means don't try to understand it.

It also occurred to me, although I didn't find any sources, that the practice of
relighting may be tied to a practice that some have of having mlava malka
candles so as to in some way extend the Shabbos spirit into mlava malka. It
sounds like a nice touch to me, much like using ones lulav as fuel for burning

I can send sources if interested - any other references would be appreciated

Bsorot tovot

Joel Rich


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