Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 092

Monday, November 1 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 00:22:45 +0200
From: "Shlomo Godick" <shlomog@mehish.co.il>
Poverty and secular studies

<But even assuming that one were to hold one's nose and accept the basic
premise on face value and the world view that is espoused therein, I believe
that there is a clear relationship between lack of secular studies and lack
of parnassa through the preclusion (or at least strong denigration) of a
professional career for those who are not on the gadol track (the supposed
irrelevance of trigonometry and Tolstoy notwithstanding).

Thus the conclusion is that RW poverty in Bnei Brak as well as Lakewood, and
the associated pain and suffering as reflected in Carl Sherer's post, is a
direct result of the Gedolei Torah.  >

I don't follow the above logic, although, having been born and raised in the
U.S., I can understand its appeal to the American Jewish mentality.  SInce
when does one have to be a professional or have a strong background in
secular studies to be financially self-supporting?   Ever hear of
successful businessmen?  Successful people in the diamond business
(all phases)? In Israel, at least, even melamdim command fairly good
salaries these days.   Quite a number of young charedi men are very
successful as programmers or hardware technicians (after having
undergone only non-academic, technical  training).  Other posters have
mentioned sofrim, shochtim, etc.

In short, many reasonable career paths exist which do not require
a "strong  background in secular studies" that are
available to those who oppose university education on grounds of
ideology, tznius, or whatever.    The relationship you posit is not
at all clear to me.  Poverty can stem from many causes - lack of
personal initiative or motivation, unavailability of technical training,
lack of minimal intellectual talents, bad mazel, etc. - but lack of a
secular university education is not one of them.

Kol tuv,
Shlomo Godick

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Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 00:27:31 +0200
From: "Mrs. Gila Atwood" <gatwood@netvision.net.il>
Re: Limudei Chol

Mrs. Gila Atwood
We are pixels in G-d's imagination.
You are welcome to browse my website at:
a little Torah, nature, humour, environmental concerns and memoirs.

----- Original Message -----
From: <Yzkd@aol.com>
To: <avodah@aishdas.org>
Sent: Monday, November 01, 1999 12:57 AM
Subject: Re: Limudei Chol

> In a message dated 10/31/99 5:30:28 PM EST, gatwood@netvision.net.il
> > Does anyone know the Lubavich position on college studies, given that
> >  late Lubavicher Rebbe Zatzal, learned engineering at Berlin and the
> >  Sorbonne, - was he not already the son-in-law of the Friediche Rebbe at
> that
> >  time?
> As a GENERAL rule, the Rebbe was against going to college.
> Kol Tuv
> Yitzchok Zirkind

Thanks.  Please explain to me why the Rebbe could be an exception? Further,
If Chabad (or any other group) arranged a frum dorm for students reading
approved subjects, why not? You can choose your own seats in the lecture
I'm not naive, I know the scene, but at Cardiff  (alma mater) there was one
"women's only" dorm building.  The girls in this dorm were on the whole
noticeably separate from the student social life, conservatively dressed and
better students on the whole.  I do believe separation from the worst
aspects of college life is possible if the facilities are provided.
G. Atwood.

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Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 00:24:56 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: (Fwd) Re: Avodah V4 #89

> Carl, I hope you'll forgive me for saying this, but this time B"H I
> don't agree with some of what you said:

You're allowed to disagree with me....

> >Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 18:40:24 +0200
> >From: "Carl M. Sherer" <csherer@netvision.net.il>
> >Subject: Re: Limudei Chol and Parnassa
> >
> >On 1 Nov 99, at 10:44, Arnold Lustiger wrote:
> [del for bw]
> >With all that you guys talk about Lakewood as if it is some
> >monolith trying to bring this type of situation to the US, my
> >recollection is (and they started this before I went on aliya) that
> >the entire premise behind the Lakewood Kollels in places like Chicago
> >and Boston is that (1) they will pay a stipend that will allow the
> >yungerman and his family to live like mentchen, (2) while he is
> >learning there, the yungerman will be involved in teaching Torah to
> >the community at large, and (3) he will leave the Kollel after a
> >certain number of years and hopefully will take some position as a
> >Rabbinic leader within the community. I thought program was great
> >(has it changed?). You won't find anything like that here, partly
> >because across the board (even in the MO Yeshivas), the message is
> >that if you're not sitting and learning in Yeshiva all the time, you
> >won't sit and learn at all.
> First of all, there are such programs here (my BIL is learning in one
> and another BIL learned in one years ago).  I don't know how many or
> how large - but they do exist.

I'm not saying that they don't exist. But if you look at the 
percentage of fruhmmer baalebatim in the States who have a seder 
every day as compared with the percentage of fruhmmer 
baalebatim in Israel who have a seder every day, there is no 
comparison, and I think that's born of the expectations of the 
Yeshivas here. Just to take one small example, in 1990 I was one 
of more than 25,000 people who went to Madison Square Garden 
to the Siyum HaShas. Unfortunately, I listened to the rules and left 
my then 5-year old son at home. But it seemed like everyone there 
had actually finished Shas, and the whole event was (IMHO) truly 
awe inspiring. I walked out of Maariv there feeling like I had 
rewitnessed Maamad Har Sinai. Two years ago, I attended the 
Siyum HaShas at Yad Eliyahu in Tel Aviv, which is half the size, 
but was the only "mass" (pun not intended) Siyum HaShas in 
Israel. Such a disappointment! I only wish I had spent my frequent 
flyer miles to take my sons to the States to the Siyum HaShas 
there. All I could do was keep comparing it to the event I had been 
to 7.5 years earlier and tell my sons (12 and 9 in 1997) what they 
had missed. Why? Because learning by baalebatim here does not 
have the same priority that learning by baalebatim in chutz laaretz 

I still remember when I was leaving Yeshiva here in 1980 being told 
by someone in the hanhala in the Yeshiva that since I was going to 
law school, I would never keep up a learning seder every day. Why 
say something like that to a 23-year old who clearly intends to try 
to keep up a seder every day? Did I gain nothing from two years in 

> Secondly, in some of the Hesder Kollelim it was considered part of the
> program to teach Sundays and Fridays Judaica studies in various
> schools in the region.  The reason for Sunday and Friday was that the
> young couples often went to their parents for Shabbat, so Sunday first
> seder was pushed off to the night, and on Friday they were leaving for
> their parents home/cleaning (b/c the wives were working) etc., and so
> the Rabbis preferred that they work than waste their time.

Schools. Not adults. I'm glad that at least someone is making sure 
that some of the Kolleleit are not batelling on Fridays and 
Sundays. But what about the baalebatim who are supposed to be 
kovea itim every day of the week? Why aren't they encouraged to 
do that? Why is someone who leaves Yeshiva here (and it cuts 
across the spectrum - I actually first heard of the problem from 
someone affiliated with a hesder Yeshiva and that's when I started 
to look around and notice) expected - maybe - to attend a shiur on 
Shabbos afternoon? Why are there more Mincha Gdola minyanim 
in the business districts of Manhattan than there are in the 
business districts of Tel Aviv or Yerushalayim? (Note, I said Mincha 
Gdola and business districts).

> In some yeshivot they were even willing to help people with various
> talents make a living(selling art work etc.).

Again, nothing to do with what I was talking about. The idea behind 
the Lakewood Kollels outside of Lakewood is not about finding 
employment for yungerleit; it's about creating Rabbinic leadership 
in the community.

> > The idea of the baalebus who learns the
> >Daf every day is SO unusual here, I cannot begin to tell you.
> >Suffice it to say that there were many more people at the last
> >Siyum HaShas in the States (and probably at each location in the
> >States) than there were here. Kvias itim doesn't exist in the Israeli
> >mindset - it's an all or nothing approach.
> I'm sorry, but you're just in the wrong community.  

Yerushalayim? The wrong community? For learning Torah?

There are many
> groups here in Ramat Gan that do Kvias Itim, some privately, some
> through the local shuls.  At one time some Hesder Roshei Yeshiva would
> come to this area (most Hesderim till lately were near the Israeli
> borders) to give regular shiurim to graduates.  Now that we have a
> local Hesder here in Ramat Gan and another in Petah Tiquva, evening
> shiurim for Ba'alei Batim and graduates are regular features.
> There are many Daf Yomi groups (just look at any local notice board),
> Rambam, Tanach etc., [del b/c of bw] >-

Yes, there are shiurim all over the place. How many people attend 
them? Not many I'm afraid. 

I would venture a guess that the percentage of Israeli baalebatim of 
all stripes who could honestly tell you that they have a scheduled 
learning time every day, or that they pick up a sefer or go to a shiur 
every day, is actually quite low.

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

Carl and Adina Sherer

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Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 00:24:55 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Limudei Chol

On 1 Nov 99, at 13:27, Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer wrote:

Don't you think, however, that some
> people who know what interests them and what does not, might be better off
> learning?

If what you're saying is that someone who knows that what they 
want to do in life is to sit and learn, yes, they might be. Having said 
that, my 14-year old son who seems to be reasonably sure that he 
wants to sit and learn is nevertheless in a high school which has 
about three hours a day of limudei chol (in a day that runs from 
6:30 A.M. until 9:30 P.M. not counting whatever learning he does 
after night seder). I wanted him to have some minimum of secular 
education because:

1. I think having some "down time" from learning now will IY"H save 
him from burn out, which is the dread disease of Israeli Yeshiva 

NOTE - this applies one of my basic theories of differences in 
learning between EY and chu"l. If you put together a 16-year old 
Yeshiva Ktana kid from EY and a 16-year old from the best Yeshiva 
high school in chu"l, the Israeli will learn circles around the 
chutznik. He has a bkius that the chutznik can only dream about, 
that is the product of not having a language barrier. He will read a 
Gemara and Rishonim more fluidly, he knows a good part of 
Tanach by heart, he may well have been through major portions of 
Shulchan Aruch. Send both kids to Yeshiva Gdola and get them 
back together at 21. The odds are that the chutznik has caught up. 
Why? Because when an Israeli goes to Yeshiva Gdola, suddenly 
the mashgiach has 1000 bochrim to watch instead of 100-200 kids 
and it's time to go play, to batel during seder, to run around being a 
social butterfly. But for the chutznik bochur, he suddenly has no 
limudei chol, he has no distractions, and for the first time in his life 
he can sit and learn and not have to think about anything else. So 
it's fresh for him and he takes it much more seriously. And he gets 
more out of it. While the Israeli suffers from burn out, and finds 
Yeshiva Gdola much like Yeshiva Ktana except for what I noted 
above. I want my son to have that fresh, something new feeling 
when he gets to Yeshiva Gdola. And if having him pick up a secular 
education on the way is a way of assuring that while giving him 
potential avenues of parnassa down the road, then I think it's worth 
the three hours per day (two of which the average kid in an Israeli 
Yeshiva Ktana probably spends napping anyway). 

2. I think he will be a better learner if he understands some of the 
basic concepts of math and science that stand behind many ideas 
in the Gemara. 

3. In case he ever DOES have to go out and support himself, I 
would like him to have a teudat bagrut (matriculation diploma, 
probably the equivalent of a high school diploma plus Achievement 
Tests in the US) so that he could quickly get into a vocational 
course to learn a trade.

Will he study secular studies after he finishes high school? 
Realistically, probably not. Is it a waste of time for him? Probably 
less of a waste of time than a lot of other things the boys who have 
no secular studies here do. Will it hurt his learning? I doubt it or I 
wouldn't have sent him there. 

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

Carl and Adina Sherer

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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 21:55:30 +0000
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Re: Anonymity and list demographics

In message , Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com> writes
>From: Saul Weinreb <sweinr1@uic.edu>
>       OK,  here goes :        
>       Please indicate your usual Shabbos/Shabbat head covering:
>1. Shtreimel (any color)
>2. Beaver hat (black)
>3. Upturned felt hat (black)
>4. Downturned felt hat (black)
>5. Kipa Sruga (any color)

None of the above!

>       Please indicate your Internet access:
>1.  Email only but not if anyone is looking
>2.  Email only no matter who is looking
>3.  WWW for work only
>4.  WWW and chat rooms
>5.  T-1 line at home

None of the above!

>       Please indicate your television access:
>1.  No TV, radio or newspapers
>2.  No TV
>3.  Only for the news
>4.  We censor what the kids watch
>5.  DVD projection set

None of the above!

>       Please indicate your preference of newspaper:
>1.  Der Yid
>2.  Yoseid (sorry!)
>3.  Yated
>4.  New York Times
>5.  Village Voice

None of the above!

>       Please indicate your level of secular education:
>1.  Fors gred
>2.  High School
>3.  COPE or equivalent
>4.  Bachelor's degree
>5.  Professional (MD/JD/DDS/PhD)

5 I guess (sort of, my professional degree is also a batchelor's degree
where I come from).

>       My email client does not allow it,  but these are to be arranged in a
>grid from right to left.  Scores are totaled and graded according to the
>type of criteria immortalized by the Reader's Digest  (x-y Rabid Right
>Wing, a-b Right Wing,  etc.)

So, how do I score?




Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 21:41:19 +0000
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Tephillin Dates

In message , TROMBAEDU@aol.com writes
>The sociological conditions that make this kind of thinking possible are 
>worthy of serious discussion. It's not just a question of doing something 
>wrong, but rather, a whole segment of people who care about observance enough 
>to participate in many aspects of Jewish life, but at the same time have 
>given up hope of being in an appropriate (acc. to Halacha) form of 

Just a reality check here, does anybody know (even anonomously) that
tephillin dates really exist.  Somebody once suggested to me that they
were an Orthodox Jewish form of urban myth (ie like crocodiles in the
sewer system) - everybody knows the story, but nobody actually knows
anybody who can reputably verify their existance.

Of course, if they don't exist, it is an interesting socialogical study
in and of itself to determine why people are convinced they do exist.

Funny story (in a way).  Having dated in New York in the summer, shabbas
goes out pretty late. That means, if the guy is coming from somewhere
like Brooklyn to Manhatten, it can be midnight or so by the time the
couple actually go out (which is not the problem it would be in other
places finding somewhere to go as we are talking about the city that
never sleeps).  And if you stay out talking for several hours, by the
time the guy has made sure the girl has gotten home and then gotten back
to Brooklyn himself, what with dawn coming up so early, really the most
sensible thing for him to do is catch an early minyan on his way home
and sleep afterwards.  But certainly one date of mine did not feel able
to do that.  Why? - because that meant he would have had to take his
tephillin to the date, and the connotations of that were too dire for
him to contemplate, despite the complete innocence of the whole event.

So I do wonder if people are not jumping to incorrect conclusions.




Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 17:08:41 -0600 (CST)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: B'rich Sh'meh

On Mon, 1 Nov 1999, Micha Berger wrote:

> 2- B'rich sh'mei qualifies as a b'rachah. The sheim is "Marei alma", which is
>    as much a sheim as "Rachmana", the case given in the gemara. Malchus is
>    "kisrach" -- isn't a keser a symbol of malchus?

Is "Ribono shel Olom" a shem?


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 17:21:56 -0600 (CST)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Limudei Chol

Let me note that I agree with you, personally (BTW, my uncle, Rabbi Ezra
Schochet, now of LA, made the same comment to me when I arrived back in
the US after 3 years in EY at the age of 14 - He said the catch up date is

But, this is the critical point. The chosen few that do not burn out (an
admittedly small amount) never burn out. And, to them, the Americans do
not catch up. They are the ones who will become gedolim. So, from the
perspective of an educational system based on the tenets laid out by R'
Dessler al pi the CI in MME III p. 353, the secular studies must be
severely curtailed. That is the position that is taken by the YK system.
Whether one agrees or not, for their goals, it is understandable.


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 15:38:04 -0800 (PST)
From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
The Fellowship of Christians and Jews

--- Sholem Berger <bergez01@med.nyu.edu> wrote:

> As a universalist I would love to believe that, as a
> liberal I'm skeptical, and as a Jew
> raised in Kentucky I know for a fact this is false.
> Ask the Southern Baptist convention whether
> they consider attempts at conversion "socially
> unacceptable" and let me know
> if you come away without an armload of pamphlets...

The Southern Baptists are roundly critizised by all
other mainstream Fundamentalists for clinging to
outmoded views on their relationships with us.  There
is an organization that is headed by a friend of mine
called, "The Fellowship of Christians and Jews. The
Head of this organization is involved on almost all
levels with Mainstream Fundamentalists such as Pat
Robertson and Ralph Reed, and many members of congress
who strongly identify with the religious right.  Most
of these Evangelicals don't have a clue as to the
essence of Judaism.  They mostly know of the American
stereotypical liberal Jew who is mainly secular, pro
choice, and a strong advocate of the ACLU. This is the
Jew so prominent in organizations such as the AJC, WJC
and the ADL.  

The FOCAJ's leader has told me that these people are
not in a proselytizing mode towards Jews. He has
contact with them virtually every day. He tells me
that they are, for the most part ,good sincere people
with politically conservative viewpoints who have
never refused help when asked to help on projects of
Jewish concern.  

As an example, "Operation: On the Wings of Eagles"  A
project created and executed by this individual. He
almost singlehandedly is responsible for bringing to
Israel all remaining Ethiopean Jews that didn't get
out during the first exodus that the State of Israel
ran. It was funded almost exclusively by Christian
Fundamentalists (probably in the belief that they were
hasting the second coming by helping towards the
ingathering of the exiles)

I think it's time to rethink our attitude towards
Christians.  I know it is difficult especially in
light of their inglorious past of the masacre and
torture of our people in the name of YeShu over these
past two millenia. Yes we should always keep in mind
that Eisof soneh Es Yakov and have our collective
antennae up. But we should should consider all factors
when making judgements about them, and when we have
things in common we should be able to work towards a
common goal.



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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 15:55:52 -0800 (PST)
From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Luxeries and Chasodim

--- Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com> wrote:
> From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
> > Subject: Re: Luxuries

> I have been to weddings put on by "gvirim" which
> were not as lavish as
> you describe,  although they were by no means
> spartan. I have also been
> to weddings done nicely for much less,  about which
> I heard **NO** 
> complaints that it was not sufficiently lavish.

I do not argue the above point. I have been to lovely
weddings there were very modest and enjoyed them too.

As a matter of fact there is a very nice thing being
done by a Gvir, a multi millionaire M.D. (who has an
indoor swimming pool in his house) here in Chicago.
One of his investments was a huge retirement facility,
which was at one time a hotel. It contains a very
large banquet hall that fell into disuse and over the
years became very run down.  At his own expense. He
completely remodled it to rival some of the fanciest
hotels in Chicago and makes it available to Varions
Kle Kodesh for use on a cost basis. He caters it
himself, with the help of his mother, who does
virtually all of the cooking,  and extnded family and
many people, including my wife, who volunteer.  Baale
Simcha who are eligible pay only his cost.  This
includes a rather generous smorgasboard, and a full
time liqueur and soft drink bar. All Kle Kodesh who
are eligible are approved by a local rabbinic
authority known for his own acts of Chasodim.

Should we take away this Askan's Jaguar convertable?



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Date: Mon, 01 Nov 1999 15:47:52 PST
From: "Alan Davidson" <perzvi@hotmail.com>
Orthodox attitudes towards food

Being somewhat familiar with Sol Schimmel's work (I organized most of the 
Jewish Studies papers for a conference this weekend in Boston of which this 
paper is a part of -- needless to say the Jewish papers are Friday although 
1 session was a bit closer to shabbos than desireda bit clowill be about) 
the intent is not so much to deal with the deadhorse of chumraization but it 
is to deal with how the underlying sociological factors behind these things 
might be more out of social prestige than based merely on halacha.  I am not 
so sure I agree totally with this assessment but this is the goal.

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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 16:13:58 -0800 (PST)
From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>

--- Saul Weinreb <sweinr1@uic.edu> wrote:

> Reb Harry, I think you are very dangerously
> mistaken.  Deep down in the
> hearts of every Christian Missionary is the very
> fundamental belief that it
> is their mission to convert the world to their
> religion. 

That is true. But their tactics have changed and that
makes a difference. They now believe they must wait
until after Bayis Shlishi and want to help us rebuild
it. As to your class mate, there will always be the
well meaning but misguided (according to the now
accepted norm), renegade Christian who will think it
is his mission to convert all Jews RIGHT NOW! As I
said in another post (entitled "The Fellowship of
Christians and Jews"), we have to keep our collective
antennae up.



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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 19:04:24 EST
From: DFinchPC@aol.com
Re: Luxeries and Chasodim

In a message dated 11/1/99 5:46:22 PM US Central Standard Time, 
hmaryles@yahoo.com writes:

 Should we take away this Askan's Jaguar convertable?

No. We should persuade him to share the Jaguar (a supercharged V-12, I hope) 
with us unfortunates who might otherwise be tempted to ogle his success. I'm 
available on warm, sunny Sunday mornings to partake in my share.

David Finch

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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 19:25:46 -0500
From: "Noah Witty" <nwitty@ix.netcom.com>
kidra chaysa

Jordan wrote:

"For the record, I was the one who brought up the Raid issue. I did it to
enhance my understanding of  Kdeira Chaisa.
However, while you mention it, I would like to point out that I am a raider.
Both my wife and I enjoy the Cholent at night, as it has a different
character than the one on Shabbos afternoon. "

Does that make it mitztamek vetov lo?

" . . .  Furthermore, I do not have to justify the halakhic  validity of my
actions on
this list."

First, no you don't, but that comment seems to be in tension with the second
sentence quoted above.

Second, no you don't; that's what bechira chofshis, schar ve'onesh,  and gan
eden and its opposite are all about.

Third, no you don't, but if I felt that a macha-a (not to you personally
since I do not know you; it was intended as more of the "if the shoe fits"
variety) of a ma'aseh meguneh was in place, no less to an audience I had
thought was receptive and open minded and interested in self-improvement.
It probably won't be my last mistake.

Fourth, as the discussion evolved, yourself or others left me with an
impression that this hoary--albeit to my mind despicable--custom may
actually be assur in hilchos shabbos.  I was fishing for an articulation
that addressed the issue and demonstrated the *heter*.

"However, feel free to come for Shabbos anytime you want, and I will do what
can to convert you to the dark side. (I make a great Cholent)"

Gosh! How kind of you!

Noach Witty

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