Monday, April 19, 2021

Intermarriage in the News (Muslim & Hindu)

from: NYTimes


I Tried to Filter Him Out

As a Pakistani Muslim, I knew that falling for a Hindu Indian would break me. And it did.

By Myra Farooqi

April 16, 2021Updated 12:16 a.m. ET

We started texting during the early months of the pandemic, going back and forth every day for hours. The stay-at-home order created a space for us to get to know each other because neither of us had any other plans.

We built a friendship founded on our love of music. I introduced him to the hopelessly romantic soundtrack of my life: Durand Jones & The Indications, Toro y Moi and the band Whitney. He introduced me to classic Bollywood soundtracks, Tinariwen and the bass-filled tracks of Khruangbin.

He was eccentrically passionate in a way that barely annoyed me and often inspired me. Our banter was only curtailed by bedtimes we grudgingly enforced at 3 a.m., after eight straight hours of texting.

We had met on a dating app for South Asians called Dil Mil. My filters went beyond age and height to exclude all non-Muslim and non-Pakistani men. As a 25-year-old woman who grew up in the Pakistani-Muslim community, I was all too aware of the prohibition on marrying outside of my faith and culture, but my filters were more safeguards against heartbreak than indications of my religious and ethnic preferences. I simply did not want to fall for someone I couldn’t marry (not again, anyway — I had already learned that lesson the hard way).

How a passionate, quirky, ambitious, 30-year-old, Hindu Indian American made it through my filters — whether by technical glitch or an act of God — I’ll never know. All I know is that once he did, I fell deeply in love with him.

He lived in San Francisco while I was quarantining seven hours south. I had already planned to move up north, but Covid and the forest fires delayed those plans. By August, I finally made the move — both to my new home and on him.

He drove two hours to pick me up bearing gag gifts that represented inside jokes we had shared during our two-month texting phase. I already knew everything about this man except his touch, his essence and his voice.

After two months of effortless communication, we approached this meeting desperate to be as perfect in person. The pressure to be nothing less overwhelmed us until he turned some music on. Dre’es’s “Warm” played and everything else fell into place — soon we were laughing like old friends.

We went to the beach and shopped for plants. At his apartment, he made me drinks and dinner. The stove was still on when my favorite Toro y Moi song, “Omaha,” came on. He stopped cooking to deliver a cheesy line that was quickly overshadowed by a passionate kiss. In this pandemic, it was just us, with our favorite music accompanying every moment.

On our fourth date, he transformed his apartment into The Fillmore venue to create a concert at home. He scanned my fake ticket, took my coat, made a gaudy cocktail and ushered me to the dimly lit dance floor where we danced terribly, but always in each other’s arms.

He ended the set with Leon Bridges’s song, “Beyond,” one I had heard many times. He held me tight and whispered, “I was afraid to show you this song, but here it is.

We swayed slowly as I listened to the lyrics: “I’m scared to death that she might be it … That the love is real, that the shoe might fit …”

I avoided eye contact with him, but I gripped the back of his flannel shirt tighter because I knew what line was coming: “Will she be my wife?”

He wasn’t crazy, and it was not too soon, because I felt the same. After having endured several dead-end relationships with non-Muslims and Muslims alike, here he was at last, the man I was supposed to be with. I knew it was time to have the big conversation with him — the one in which I remind him that I am Muslim.

On our fifth date, we drank white wine on a semi-quiet San Francisco street corner. I asked if he was ready to hear more about my family and religion.

“Yes,” he said.

I said, “Do you understand what it means to be with a Muslim girl?”

He began to ramble about his academic curiosity for the Quran and spirituality, and his eagerness to raise children in an interfaith household.

“If we decide to be together,” I said, “you need to understand that the only way forward is for you to convert. It won’t make things easy, but it will make things possible.”

His answer came too fast for comfort: “I’m game.”

How could he be so certain?

“Sometimes,” he said, “you are willing to change your whole future for one person.”

He and I continued to date for the rest of the year, fleeing from the societal expectations of our families and communities — fleeing, really, from any expectations at all. In our Covid bubble, we said “I love you” too soon, didn’t listen to our friends when they urged us to take it slow and ignored the harsh familial realities ahead of us.

I hadn’t told my mother anything about him, not a word, despite being months into the most consequential romantic relationship of my life. But Thanksgiving was fast approaching, when we each would return to our families.

This love story may have been his and mine, but without my mother’s approval, there would be no path forward. She was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. To expect her to understand how I fell in love with a Hindu would require her to unlearn all the traditions and customs with which she had been raised. I promised myself to be patient with her.

I was scared to raise the subject, but I wanted to share my happiness. With just the two of us in my bedroom, she began complaining about Covid spoiling my marriage prospects, at which point I blurted the truth: I already had met the man of my dreams.

“Who?” she said. “Is he Muslim?”

When I said no, she shrieked.

“Is he Pakistani?”

When I said no, she gasped.

“Can he speak Urdu or Hindi?”

When I said no, she started to cry.

But as I spoke about my relationship with him, and the fact that he had pledged to convert for me, she softened.

“I have never seen you talk about anyone like this,” she said. “I know you’re in love.” With these words of understanding, I saw that her strict framework was ultimately less important than my happiness.

When I told him that my mother knew the truth, he celebrated the momentum this development promised. However, in the coming weeks, he grew anxious that her approval was entirely predicated on him converting.

We each returned home once more for the December holidays, and that’s when I felt the foundation of my relationship with him begin to crack. With every delayed response to my texts, I knew something had changed. And indeed, everything had.

When he told his parents that he was thinking of converting for me, they broke down, crying, begging, pleading with him not to abandon his identity. We were two people who were able to defy our families and lean on serendipitous moments, lucky numbers and astrology to prove we belonged together. But we only searched for signs because we ran out of solutions.

Finally, he called, and we spoke, but it didn’t take long to know where things stood.

“I will never convert to Islam,” he said. “Not nominally, not religiously.”

More quickly than he had declared “I’m game” on that sunny San Francisco afternoon all those months ago, I said, “Then that’s it.”

Many people will never understand the requirements of marrying a Muslim. For me, the rules about marriage are stubborn, and the onus of sacrifice lies with the non-Muslim whose family is presumably more open to the possibility of interfaith relationships. Many will say it’s selfish and incongruous that a non-Muslim must convert for a Muslim. To them I would say I cannot defend the arbitrary limitations of Muslim love because I have been broken by them. I lost the man I thought I would love forever.

For a while I blamed my mother and religion, but it’s hard to know how strong our relationship really was with the music turned off. We loved in a pandemic, which was not the real world. Our romance was insulated from the ordinary conflicts of balancing work, friends and family. We were isolated both by our forbidden love and a global calamity, which surely deepened what we felt for each other. What we had was real, but it wasn’t enough.

I have since watched Muslim friends marry converts. I know it’s possible to share a love so endless that it can overcome these obstacles. But for now, I will keep my filters on.

Myra Farooqi attends law school in California.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Eruvin 11 - Reb Chaim Brisker on Tzuras Hapesach

Reb Chaim Soloveichik Brisker on Tzuras Hapesach as a wall for Shabbos and Sukkah


A little background

Mavuy - alleyway.  Alleys in this context were surrounded by buildings.  Sometimes an alley was open at only one end, and sometimes opened at both ends

Tzuras Hapesach (TP) - looks like this  Π.  A horizontal post (or wire) supported at each end by a vertical support post.  This is actually an extended doorway - a lintel with two doorposts, which is the literal definition of this term - “the form (or shape) of a door.” 

Lechi - a vertical post at the edge of an alley

Amah (cubit) between 18-22.5 inches

Tefach - (handbreadth), between 3-4 inches

Rambam Hilchos Shabbos 16:16: any wall which was more openings than wall (meaning gaps in the wall.  A chain link fence is not solid but it is a good wall)  is not a wall. If the gaps were equal to the standing walls, it is permitted [to carry within those walls] as long as no gap exceeds 10 amos (between 15-20 feet).  If the gap measures 10 amos it is like a door if it has a TP, even if it is larger than 10 amos it does not LOSE the wall, as long as the gaps do not exceed the walls.

Rambam rules similarly in Hilchos Sukka 4:12 - A Sukka that has many doors, and the walls have many windows it is Kosher even when the gaps exceed the walls as long as no opening exceeds 10 amos.  If an opening exceeded 10 amos even if it has a TP the gaps must not exceed the walls.

Magid Mishna (a commentator) asks that Eruvin 11 discusses if TP works when the gaps exceed the wall depends if TP for a gap larger than 10 amos.  If TP works for a gap larger than 10 amos, it also works when the gaps exceed the walls.  If so, Rambam rules here that Tp works for a gap larger than 10 amos, how can he rule TP does not work when the gaps exceed the wall?  And Rambam is difficult because he rules TP does not work when the gaps exceed the walls, but he rules that a Sukka can be Kosher when the gaps exceed the walls, so the principle depends if TP works for a gap larger than 10 amos, dince it does, it doesn’t matter if the gaps exceed the walls, so how can he rule TP does not work when the gaps exceed the walls?

Rav’s opinion is TP does not work for a gap larger than 10 amos and it doesn’t work when the gaps exceed the walls.  If so, what does the rule of TP mean to him at all?  Since a gap less than 10 amos does not need a TP and is considered a doorway without a TP, it is not considered a breach in the wall, and one may carry within such a wall, but a gap larger than 10 amos or when gaps exceed the wallsTP does not help.

Now, TP works on the principle is that it works as a door [not a breach], as Rambam ruled in Shabbos Ch 16 that a TP at the edge of a wall is not effective, because people do not make a door in a corner [or at the edge].  This does not nullify the TP, but when Tp functions as a door, this rule nullifies the TP when it is at the edge.  We see the nthat TP is based on the principle of a doorway.  If so, a breach less than 10 amos is not a breach even when not TP, why do we need the principle of TP?  The answer is they are two different principles.  A door is a door and not a breach (see Eruvin 6 and Shabbos 15) it is not a “stopgap”or wall that permits an area [to carry within].  A wall (“mechitza”), and that a private domain (“Reshus hayachid”) is surrounded by walls, is made up of real walls.  A door [does not make a wall,] only removes the status of a breach [which forbids carrying within the breached perimeter].  See Shabbos 15: as long as the fence is 10 tefachim highand has no gaps more than the built [portions] and any gap until 10 amos os permitted [to carry within[ because it is like a door; larger than that it is forbidden to carry within,” because there are two principles: 1) the standing wall must exceed the breaches establishes the wall around the area, thereby making it a Reshus Hayachid, 2) the status of a “doorway” which removes the status of breach which, if it would be a breach, would prohibit carrying inside.  However, TP even if it works on the principle of a doorway, it is completely about establishing a wall.  This is the rule of TP: With a pole on each side and a bar on top of them, and the doorway under / beneath them together are a wall.  Besides for this difference between a wall and TPO - a TP is a door, not a wall - there is a difference between a breach smaller than 10 amos (which is not a breach)  and a door created by a TP: a breach less than 10 amos is considered a doorway by virtue of the status of walls on either side of it (the gap: because there is a wall on the left, and a wall on the right, the gap may be considered a doorway, and it has a status of doorway because of the walls on either side of the door.  However, TP is independent of walls on either side of it; the law of TP considers it a doorway even without walls on either side of it.  This is understandable from the principle of walls, that the length of the walls must exceed the breaches, or must equal the size of the breaches as explained in Eruvin 15 which is a Halacha Lemoshe Misinai.  For there is a question on this: Pasi Biraos (which are 4 L-shaped beams placed at corners around a central point, usually a well) are considered walls even though the length of the “breach” exceeds the length of the walls (the small L-shapes), and Eruvin 20 teaches if one throws an object from beyond the Pasi Biraos into the area enclosed by the Pasi Biraos one is liable to transferring an item between a RHY and RHR, so we see then the breach exceeds the walls it is a good wall on a Biblical level?  In fact, Tosfos asked this question and answered Pasin are different because each L-shape has one amah, the breach is considered a doorway.  The explanation is as I said: even though a wall (mechitza) requires the gaps to not exceed the walls, that is if the gap has the status of a breach, but here the breach is considered a door, so the breach does not concern us.  This is why it matters if there is a measurable wall on the sides of a gap - without a measurable wall on either side of it,  a gap is considered a breach.  When it is is a breach, we need the wall to be more than the length of the breach, or equal to it (halacha dlo tifrotz rubah or gdur ruba).  However, Pasi Biraos has a measurable wall on every side (1 Amah on each side of the opening for all four openings)the gap is not a breach, rather a door, so we are not concerned that the gaps exceed the walled portions.  This is explicitly as we explained that a gap is considered a door when it is surrounded by a wall on either side of it.  Even without this reason - it is not considered a door unless it has walls around it - we can understand the distinction of Tosfos, because the status of door only removes the status of a breach which prohibits carrying within such a wall, but does not give it (the doorway) a status of a wall.  The gap only has the status of a door, but is not considered a solid partition, so we see adoor only helps when there is enough walls on either side of it, so there is a partition (wall) on either side that starts from a pillar (or edge / corner) and the status of doorways helps to not consider the gap a breach, rather a door; but when we don’t have enough partition on either side of the gap it does not help to give the gap a status of a doorway, because a doorway does not confer the status of a partition to that side [it only removes the status of breach].

But it seems all of this is included: when there is not enough partition on either side there is no partition and no dorm and when there are partitions on either side of the gap the area is made a private domain by the partitions on either side, and there is no status of “the breach exceeds the walls”since the gap considered a door, not a breach, and to confer the status of partition (wall) on something it must be the partition exceeds the gap and the status of door does not help because a door is not a partition, and without partition on either side the gap does not attain the status of a door.

In fact this is the sugya in Sukka 4 Rav Yaakov says __diyumdi of  Sukkah is one tefach, and Chachamim say you need two complete walls and the third may be one tefach.  And in Sukkah 7 it learned from a Brasia Shabbos has an extra law that Sukkah doesn’t have - for Shabbos the walls must have the standing partition exceed on the gaps, but this is not needed for a Sukkah. That the gaps may exceed the walls in a Sukkah.  But a Braissa that we need walls _dyumdi Sukkah so obviously gaps and doors do not contribute to the partitions and don’t make a Sukkah kosher, because the door status of a gap cannot confer the status of partition, only remove the status of a breach.  However, a TP has the status of a partition and also its status of doorway does not depend on partitions on either side of it, this is the law of TP that the shape of a door - the gap and the standing parts, are together a partition.

This is explained in Sukkah 7 Rav Yehuda said a Sukkah made like a mavoy (two parallel walls) is Kosher, and the additional tefach can be placed on whichever side he wants.  Rav Simon, and some said Rabi Yehoshua ben Levi, make a __pas a little more than 4 tefachim, and stand it within three tefachim of a wall, and when the distance is less than three tefachim the law of lavud is applied (which considers the two pieces as touching / connected).  The conclusion is you also need a TP , and the Gemara there does not distinguish if the gap is more than 10 amos or less - you always need a TPbecause we need the status of partition on the entire unwalled area, so the status of door would not help; however, a TP helps because it is considered a partition.  This is because TP is considered a partition, and if so Rambam is difficult why, when you have a TP, you need the standing partition to exceed the length of gaps - why do we need that if the TP is a partition, and not a doorway, gap or breach?

It appears Rambam hold that even though a TP has the status of a partition and can interrupt the planted area of different species of plant, and by placing a TP between them we may eat from those crops and they are not considered a forbidden mixture of two species together (kilayim) it does not complete the minimum length of partition.  When you need real partitions a TP is not enough.  This is explicit from Sukkah that you need TP also - for we could ask why do we have a board of 4 tefachim which completes the status of partition (wall) using lavud - let us  say the T Pis a partition!Or an L-shaped Sukkah (__GAM) that you make a board just longer than one tefach and put it within three tefachim of the other wall - the lavud and the small board are considered a partition of length four tefachim, answer also need a TP - why do you need a partition of four tefachim, let the TP be considered the partition! Rather we see that TP makes it considered as being surrounded by partitions a TP helps make a Sukkah spayed like a mavoy (two parallel walls) Kosher with a TP connecting those two walls and a Sukkah made like GAM (L) the TP on either side makes it considered enclosed by three partitions [on three sides] But for the fundamental definition of Sukkah - two full walls and the third wall of even one tefach - the law is we need real walls, not TP, and secondly, __ the status (din) of TP using Lavud and the partitions exceed the gaps - those rules are real partitions, however TP confers a halachic status of partition but it cannot be used with actual partitions to reach a threshold of the minimum partitions required.  Therefore Rambam holds for the status of private domain on Shabbos you ned actual, physical partitions to give the status of private domain, so TP does not help.  That is why the Rambam says both for Shabbos and Sukkah we need the partitions to exceed the gaps - this is the definition of real partitions needed for Shabbos and Sukkah.  See Eruvin 11 - an incident of a person who put four posts, one in each corner of his field, and strung vines between them [as a TP]___ and the Sages permitted it for kilayim, and according to our analysis kilayim would be different than Shabbos and Sukkah because kilayim needs the separation afforded by a wall but does not require an actual wall, so a TP is sufficient for Kilayim, but Shabbos and Sukkah require real partitions so TP does not suffice, as we explained the Sukkah needs a TP also bit it does not contribute to the “two walls and the third of a tefach.”

In Eruvin 11 - Reish Lakis said like they permitted for kilayim they permitted for Shabbos, and Rabi Yochanan says they permitted it for kilayim but not for Shabbos - with what?  If it was ten [tefachim] in such a case Rabi Yochanan does not permit that [ a gap of 10 tefachim or less] for Shabbos?  [Of course such a gap is acceptable with a TP!]  Rather the gap was larger than 10 tefachim.  According to our explanation in the Rambam that TP without real partitions does not confer the status of a private domain even on a Biblical level - why did the Gemara ask that - let Rabi Yochanan on Shabbos it does not work?  It’s simple that it does not work because it is not a private domain!  Rather we can explain the Gemara is referring to thee fourth side (the other three sides are enclosed] so a lechi suffices, and certainly TP works.  However there is a question from Eruvin 6 - how does one enclose a Mavuy (parallel walls, and parallel openings like this: |  |) open to a public domain?  Make a TP on one of the open sides, and a Lechi and Koreh on the other open side.  How does a TP work if it is missing a partition according to Rambam, that a TP is insufficient to grant an area the status of private domain.  It works according to Rashi on Daf12 that two walls and a lechi grant an area the status of private domain, for he holds a RHY requires only two walls and a lechi on a Biblical level, certainly a TP which is considered as completely closing off its side, however Rambam himself holds (Shabbos 17:__) that Lechi is a wall only if there are three walls and the Lechi is on the fourth side, and we need three complete partitions for a private domain.  So our question how can TP work for an open mavuy?

It appears that a TP is a partition as we see from Kilayim and for certain laws of Sukkah, so the enclosed area is considered closed off [from the public domain] due to the TP even though it is not walled [by the TP].  We see it has split status: the TP cannot make the mavuy a private domain because it does not have a partition on the third side, but the area is no longer considered a public domain andone may carry within it.  Rambam’s opinion is the permission to carry is not dependent on the status of a private domain, and this is proved by a mavuy which is considered enclosed by a koreh (cross beam) if you throw an object from a public domain into it according to Rambam you are exempt from punishment because it is not a private domain, yet you are allowed to carry within that mavuy.  Similarly TP does not confer upon it the status of private domain it allows one to carry within it.  

With this the sugya in Eruvin 6 is explained very well.  An mavuy open to a public domain (two parallel walls and two parallel openings) make a TP on one open end and a lechi and koreh on the other open end -  but a public domain is not enclosed unless it is surrounded with walls and doors, as Rambam ruled in Shabbos 17:__.  Even though it seems Rambam holds these open mavuys are considered to be parts of the public domains than open into it, on a Biblical level as he rules in Shabbos 14:)__ )a corner next to a public domain is not a public domain because it is surrounded by three walls, implying if it was an open mavuy it does connect with the adjacent public domains to be considered a public domain, then why are open mavuys permitted with Tp and lechi and koreh, and don’t need to be completely enclosed?  According to our explanation we understand that the open mavuy is considered a public domain because it is connected to the adjacent public domains, a TP helps to cut it off from the adjacent public domain.  However a public domain itself, which can only lost its status of public domain if it is walled with walls and doors which can make it into a private domain, TP do not suffice because TP are not actual walls (partitions).  The Rambam’s ruling lead to this conclusion, but with this more of his rulings are understood.  In Shabbos 17:__ he rules: how do we allow [carrying in] closed mavuy (surrounded on three sides by walls)?  On the fourth side make a lechi or a koreh and it is enough...for according to Biblical law one may carry within three walls and Rabbinic enactment requires a fourth enclosure, therefore a lechi or koreh suffice.  His ruling works for a koreh which is not a partition, but not for a lechi - a lechi can be considered a wall on the fourth side and it it is a complete Biblical private domain as he rules in 17:__ a mavuy which was made kosher to carry within it by a lechi, if one throws an object into it from the public domain is punished [for moving from a public domain to a private domain] because a lechi is a complete partition and the mavuy is enclosed on all four sides!  Why does Rambam include lechi in Halacha __?  According to our explanation it is understood, because an open mavuy which was enclosed with a TP could be also enclosed with a lechi, and it is not a private domain at all (it lacks three complete walls for even the Biblical level) as we said a TP does not complete a wall of a private domain and the lechi only encloses it because the TP removes the status of public domain, and the ruling that the mavuy is considered enclosed with a lechi and Koreh according to Rmabam to carry inside of it even though it does not have the status of a private domain.  That is why Rambam gives the reason that Biblically one may carry in it even though it is not a private domain.  We see that TP is not a partition or wall to make that mavuy a Biblical private domain, so we understand why Rambam rules we need standing walls to be greater than the gaps even with TP - because TP does not make that area a private domain.

But the Rambam still must be explained that TP is not a partition or wall to make that mavuy a Biblical private domain, but Rambam is talking in all cases, also when a mavuy is surrounded by partitions [on three sides] and it is a Biblical private domain, and one who throws an object in it from the public domain is punished for violating the law against transferring objects from private to public domains, (hotza’ah) and it has real walls, so why is a TP not sufficient for the fourth side?  We see that Rambam holds TP helps for a gap larger than 10*, or for a case when the gaps are larger than the actual walls.  But when a case has both these deficiencies - a gap larger than 10* and the gaps are larger than the walls - TP does not work.  Why not - TP helps for each of those problems individually, and why shouldn’t it work when both problems exist simultaneously?  For Sukkah we don’t care the gaps are larger than the walls and why doesn’t TP work there for a gap larger than 10* and when the gaps are larger than the walls?  The answer is there are two types of doors that work differently form each other: 1) Until 10* a door is a door by virtue of the walls on either side of it, and those walls give the opening a status of “door,” but 2) TP has a status of door by itself.  Therefore a TP has two different statuses: a TP less than 10* is acts like a door surrounded by walls, and for TP larger than 10 the walls on either side of it do not affect its status at all; it is a door ONLY because it is a TP, not because of the walls at either end of it.  Therefore the Rambam hotels when a gap is larger than 10* and overall the gaps are larger than the walls TP does not work: True TP is considered a partition and that side is considered closed off and there is no status of a breach [in the gap which was fixed with a TP].  But TP does not make it a wall to be considered a private domain.  Therefore even though there is not a breach, but there is not a partition there, so this area lacks the status of private domain and permission to carry within it.  Therefore the Rambam requires either the area to have walls larger than the gaps, so the area is considered walled with partitions, or no gap larger than 10*, so the walls on either side of the TP help give it the status of a door, so this area has walls that give it the status of a private domain.  If the gap is larger than 10* and the gaps are larger than the walls, the walls on either side of the breach do not contribute to fixing the breach [by making it a doorway], and the wall only comes from the TP there, so Rambam holds TP cannot give that side the status of a real partition.  So there is no gap but there is not a real wall, so that area lacks partitions to allow to carry in it as a private domain.  

Therefore Rambam requires even for a Sukkah that the actual walls are longer than the gaps - even though a Sukkah can have more gaps than walls, a breach larger than 10 disqualifies a Sukkah, because Sukkah only differs from Shabbos regarding a gap disqualifying it, but there is no difference between them for a partition that allows it [carrying or the Sukkah].  Therefore if the gap is larger than 10* and the gaps are larger than the walls make the Sukkah lacking a real wall, the same as the law for Shabbos.  Therefore there is no question from the Gemara Eruvin __ that TP when the gaps exceed the walls depends on TP for a gap larger than 10*, because Rambam’s reasoning is only when the gaps exceed the walls and a gap larger than 10* together, the TP is not considered a partition, but when an area lacks only one of those, TP is considered a partition either for a gap larger than 10* or when the gaps excess the walls.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Netherlands - Put You in Jail for Refusing to Give a Get (Divorce)

Again, this does not mention if the court will jail women for refusing to accept a get from their husbands.  That happens a lot more than people think.

More to come on this issue soon IYH.

In the Netherlands, judges can fine and lock up Jewish men who refuse to give their wives a religious divorce

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Laws of Davening Not at Shul - Covid-19 Corona Virus

Below I compiled some basic facts and halachos about davening without a Minyan, due to the current restrictions due to the Corona virus, Covid-19.  The link below is a sourcesheet for actual texts of sources quoted.

Davening not with a minyan

Our three prayers, Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv, were instituted to represent two separate things: 1) That our forefathers prayed: Avraham instituted Shacharis, Yitzchak instituted Mincha and Yaakov instituted Maariv. 2) In place of sacrifices offered in the Beis Hamikdash: Shacharis and Mincha in place of the morning and afternoon Tamid offerings, and Maariv in place of burning various sacrificial parts which was done at night (Brachos 26b).

From the perspective of “Prayer in place of the Forefathers,” every Jew may pray individually.  However, from the perspective of “Prayer in place of sacrifices,” there obviously is an important obligation to daven with a minyan.  A minyan of ten represents a gathering in place of all of Klal Yisrael.  See also Rambam, Klei Hamidash Chapter 6, that a minyan of righteous people would always pray in the Beis Hamikdash that the sacrifices should be accepted on behalf of all Klal Yisrael.

Because of that, The Shulchan Aruch (Siman 90) paskens to daven with a minyan.  However, if one is unable to (especially in our current situation – my emphasis) one should daven at the time that the community davens – i.e, at the regularly scheduled minyan time of the shul.

Musaf (Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh)
The Musaf was an additional sacrifice offered on Shabbos and Holidays. Musaf is only “in place of sacrifices” and not “in the place of our Forefathers,” since none of our forefathers davened Musaf.  Therefore, there is a reasonable expectation that one would only daven Musaf with a minyan.  This, however, is not true.  Shulchan Aruch paskens (Siman 286) that an individual davens Musaf, but it is best to do so at the time the Shul davens.  (Thursday March 26 is Rosh Chodesh Nissan).

Torah Reading of Shabbos
We only read Torah with a minyan.  However, the community completes the Torah every year (Rambam Tefila 13:1) - on Simchas Torah.  What should we do when we cannot read the Parsha with a minyan?

There is a halacha (Shulchan Aruch 285) to read the Parsha twice every week including the Targum Onkelos.  The poskim discuss if one should read it in a translation one understands.  While not everyone agrees that the obligation is fulfilled reading a non-Onkelos translation, it is certainly a very good practice to read the Parsha with a translation one understands.  Most opinions hold this halacha to read the parsha applies to everyone, every week.  However, a lone opinion of the Raavan, cited in the Haghos Maimonides to the Rambam (Tefilla 13:25) states that this halacha applies to someone who is not in Shul - such a person reads the Parsha twice and once in translation at the time the Shul would be reading the Torah.  In our current situation we should follow this opinion.  Additionally, if possible, the Parsha should be read from a full Tanach (heard from my father).

Rosh Chodesh when we did not bless Rosh Chodesh in Shul on Shabbos

The Shabbos before Rosh Chodesh we “bless” the new upcoming month and announce the Molad - first possible time to see the new moon in Yerushalayim.  When we don’t do this - and if perhaps no minyan took place anywhere, would Rosh Chodesh still take place?

(The following is my adaptation of an article by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik)

When there was a Sanhedrin - and even for a time after the Sanhedrin - those Sages had the only authority to declare Rosh Chodesh and leap years.  When that stopped, the new months and years are calculated by a calculation which is an Oral tradition received by Moshe at Sinai.  “That which we announce in all cities ‘Day X will be Rosh Chodesh’ - that does not establish Rosh Chodesh… it depends on the calculation and establishment of those living in Israel; we announce it for informational purposes only... (Rambam, Kiddush Hachodesh 5:13).   This is Rambam’s opinion; the Ramban holds the Sages in the time of Hillel the Second established the calendar until Moshiach will come.  Rabbi Soloveitchik further explains that Rambam’s opinion that Sanhedrin has the authority to declare Rosh Chodesh does not stem from their power as a judicial authority, rather the authority to declare Rosh Chodesh lies with the Jewish people themselves, but Sanhedrin acts as their representatives.

When the Sages no longer declare Rosh Chodesh, according to the Rambam,  the calendar is established by the actions of the Jews of Israel keeping the calendar - celebrating certain days as Rosh Chodesh and holidays.

Thus we see that even if Rosh Chodesh was not blessed [in advance] last Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh will still take place in its expected time, because the calendar does not depend on our blessing the month, rather by the Jews of Israel keeping certain days as Rosh Chodesh and holidays, which they will.

Making up Missed Torah Readings after We can have Minyan Again
see this post from 2009

Monday, February 3, 2020

Bo - Tzivos Hashem

Parshat Bo - Tzivos Hashem (12:41)

"At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the armies of Hashem (tzivos Hashem) left Egypt" (12:41).

The word "tzava" is an army.  "Tzivos Hashem" is plural - the armies of G-d.  What armies of G-d left Egypt?

Torah Shleima cites the Mechilta which says: When Israel is in exile, the Divine Presence goes in exile with them.  So when the Jews left Egypt, the Shechina, along with the angels that make up the King's household (the entourage) left Egypt.  And the Zohar says since the Jews did not marry Egyptian women, they received G-d Name (as a seal attesting to their purity).  So "Tzivos Hashem" either refers to angels who left Egypt when the Jews left, or it refers to the Jews themselves.

Tziva'os is often used as a name of G-d.  Why?  Rashi (Devarim 12:2) says an "os" is something in the heavens, and a "mofes" is something on the earth.  (Similarly in this week's Parsha [11:10] Moshe and Aharon did "mofsim" which Rashi says were Makas Bechoros, Splitting the Sea, and the Egyptians dying in the Sea - all thses were incidents on earth.)  So the word "Tziva'os" is likely on contraction of the words "tzava," army, and "os," which is something that happens in the heavens.  Hashem created the constellations and heavenly bodies, and set them in their orbits (see Rambam Hilchos Yeshodei Hatorah chapter 3) and their movements and orbits testify to G-d's creating the world, and they are the entourage of Hashem.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Brachos Daf 2

    Q1: Why not tell us there is chiyuv before saying meieimasa
    Q2: WHy maariv first, not Shacharis?
    A2: Pasuk says beshachbecha first, not uvkumecha.
    A1: Read it: We say shma at night.  When can we begin to say it?
    A2b: follows briyas ha'Olam.
Why is A2 before A1 if Mishna Avos says "al rishon rishon v'al acharon acharon?  And see in Chayei Sarah, Rivka was praised for answering "who is your father? Do you have place for us to sleep?" in order?  I don't have an answer, though see ibn Ezra to Yoel 3:3:
ונתתי - מנהג אנשי לשון הקודש , כאשר יזכירו שנים דברים , יחל לספר דברי השיני בתחלה , ואחר כן ישוב אל הראשון באחרונה; כמו "לך יום אף לך לילה" (תה' עד , טז); "ואתן ליצחק את יעקב ואת עשו" (יהו' כד , ד); וככה זה: ונתתי דם - בארץ , ובשמים - אש ותימרות עשן.
ibnEzra that lashon chachamim is diff from lashon Psukim. I thought of answering with Chulin 137b that chazal use diff words than torah. But it doesn’t really answer it b/c that’s for use of one word. This is an entire style. See Tos Yom Tov Terumos 1:1.  Also, Rivka answered Eliezer "al rishon rishon v'al acharon acharon." (Breishis 24:24) And Rashi shemos 3:12 is al rishon rishon v’al acharon acharon.

I'll suggest another possible answer - when a katan becomes a gadol the first mitzvah that is chal would be kriyas shma of arvis.

Bein Hashmashos  based on
Ø  Shabbat 34b, the period of bein ha-sh’mashot (in between sh’kia and tzet hakokhavim) is identified by R. Yehudah as three quarters of a mil
Ø  Pesachim 94a. There, in a discussion concerning the dimensions of the Earth, R. Yehudah states that in between sh’kia and tzet hakokhavim there are four mil
Ø  (See Resp. Maharam Alashkar, 96, citing R. Sherira Gaon and R. Hai Gaon) and the Gra (see Biur to Sulchan Arukh, 261:2) represent different versions, the statement in Pesachim is not applicable to the halakhah in these cases. Thus, ¾ of a mil after shkia is tzet hakokhavim, and the time in between is bein hashmashot.
Ø  Rabbeinu Tam (see Tosafot, Berakhot 2b, s.v. dilma; Shabbat 35a, s.v. trei; Pesachim 94a, s.v. R. Yehudah), however, resolves the issue differently. In his assessment, there are actually two points called sh’kia The first sh’kia takes place when the sun begins to sink beneath the horizon The second sh’kia refers to the point once the sun has already sunk. The four mil period refers to the time in between the first sh’kia and tzet, while the ¾ mil period is the time from the second sh’kia until tzet. (see also Magen Avraham, 331:2, and Resp. Chatam Sofer, O.C. 80).  Almost all rishonim - Yabia Omer vol. 2 no. 21
Ø  Sefer Yereim, 274 night begins at sunset and that the three quarters of a mil represent the beginning of sunset. At sunset, when the sun falls below the horizon and there is no longer any direct sunlight, it becomes theoretically possible to see stars. Four mil later the stars become visible to everyone.
Ø  Tosfos Menachos 20 and Shaagas Aryeh 17: dam nifsal misafek.
Ø  אמר רבי יוסי: בין השמשות כהרף עין. זה נכנס וזה יוצא ואי אפשר לעמוד עליו (Brachos 2b last line and Shabbos 34b)
Ø  See Igros Moshe OC IV 62 – 50 minutes for latitude of NY.; alsoYD IV 17:26

How long is a mil?                                                  mil              ¾    3.25     4
Ø  18 minutes (  )                                       minutes    13.5    58.5     72
Ø  22.5 minutes ( )                                                                 18.875             90
Ø  24 minutes (Rambam, Perush Hamishna Pesachim)        18        72        96

Astronomical Phenomena
Ø  Civil Twilight – 6 degrees below Horizon: This is the limit at which twilight illumination is sufficient, under good weather conditions, for terrestrial objects to be clearly distinguished; at the beginning of morning civil twilight, or end of evening civil twilight, the horizon is clearly defined and the brightest stars are visible under good atmospheric conditions in the absence of moonlight or other illumination.
Ø  Nautical Twilight – 12 degrees bvelow horizon: At the beginning or end of nautical twilight, under good atmospheric conditions and in the absence of other illumination, general outlines of ground objects may be distinguishable, but detailed outdoor operations are not possible. During nautical twilight the illumination level is such that the horizon is still visible even on a Moonless night allowing mariners to take reliable star sights for navigational purposes, hence the name.
Ø  Astronomical Twilight – 18 degrees below horizon: scattered light from the Sun is less than that from starlight and other natural sources. For a considerable interval after the beginning of morning twilight and before the end of evening twilight, sky illumination is so faint that it is practically imperceptible

Parshios Kriyas Shma – see Eynayim Lamishpat p 130 (orig print)
Ø  RY Hanasi – pasuk of shma
Ø  Rashi 1st para (maybe because it’s connected, but a different parsha can’t be part of it midioraissa)
Ø  R Yonah 1st 2 para (since third is flexible – any parsha that mentions Mitzrayim, it cannot be part of the dioraissa) (But at end of 7th perek he says first pasuk or first paragraph)
Ø  Rambam and Tos – all 3 (see Siach Hagrid)
Ø  And see later Daf 12 about wanting to add 10 dibros to Shma.