Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Parah Adumas - New and Old

The Temple Institute of Jerusalem seems to be making a big fuss over a potential Parah Adumah that was discovered in the United States. Assuming that it is a kosher Parah Adumah – and it very well may be - it is definitely something worth watching.

The YouTube video that shows it is embedded here.  (If you receive my emails and the video is not embedded – HERE is the link.)

The interesting thing is that if you are as old as I am, this may not the first time you have heard about a real live Parah Adumah. In the late 70s, as I recall, there was an announcement of one being born at Moshav Komimius in E”Y.  Some time later I asked somebody whatever became of it and I was told that it “turned black”.

I heard about another one in E”Y about the time I made Aliyah in the late 90s.

The obvious conclusion is that just like every generation has its “Moshiach” and Eliyahu HaNavi on “standby”, there is also a Parah Adumah hanging around somewhere on standby.

Yet it makes quite an impression to know where it’s hanging around. Hey, from all of the reported Parah Adumahs of the past, this is definitely the first one to make it onto YouTube!

I just want to focus a bit on what I just wrote that there is a Parah Adumah in every generation. I mean that in more ways than one. This is because there are two kinds of Parah Adumahs.

The real one has four legs, a tail, a head and an udder and a pure reddish brown coat. It is all but impossible to find.

The philosophical one has many blurry lines and is everywhere we look. It is all but impossible to avoid.

Both are metaher temayim and metamei tehorim and both are here in every generation.

Please see my post on this from September, 2008 – HERE.

We truly need both Parah Adumas. Only the real one can purify us from tumas meiss. But only the philosophical one can help us understand the world we live in.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Upon 3 Things the World Stands...

על שלשה דברים העולם עומד, על התורה ועל העבודה ועל גמילות חסדים

A still life photo by my son Nesanel Dov - 10 yrs old.

Note - The photo may not be visible to those who view this post in their email. Click HERE to view.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Emes V’Emunah Blames G-d

I have seen no shortage of posts from the mighty pen keyboard of Rabbi Harry Maryles that I would deem despicable. One of his most recent ones is a contender for the all-time (so far) trophy!

The post was posted on May 4, 2014 and is titled: Who is to Blame for the Divisiveness? He goes on to lead his post with: The chareidim are at fault.

For the record, let me first say that I wouldn’t mind taking the blame. I am more honored than insulted. And I will explain myself presently. What is truly despicable is not only Harry Maryles’s obsessively jaundiced view of chareidim, but also his poisonous approach to sociology and Judaism.

Why does anybody have to be “at fault”???

The minute there are multiple viewpoints on any given construct, those who maintain one viewpoint will preach and behave accordingly and those who have a differing viewpoint will preach and behave accordingly. The differing viewpoints are due to nature and nurture, indoctrination and education. It goes without saying that when the various viewpoints conflict, there will be inevitable divisiveness.  So be it. That’s how the world turns. This is why the Rambam felt that Hilchos Deyos (Laws of Personality Divergence) is the second most important topic to cover in Mishna Torah. Diferent people think differently.

So, why does a self-righteous preacher like Rabbi Harry Maryles need to keep some kind of a scorecard and apportion blame to anybody??

Utterly despicable.

But once he broached the subject, it calls for a bit of discussion.

Harry is basing his post on a recent feature article in Mishpacha magazine which did an analysis on what “They” - the secular/traditional world - think of “us”. Harry says that "anybody who read the article would come to the same conclusion."

Well, I read the article and I did not come to the same conclusion. (Hattip Rambam – Hilchos Deyos!)

You see, the article was missing a number of things that would enable somebody to make such a conclusion. Primarily – while the article displayed figures about what percentages of secular/traditional people have positive opinions or are more accepting of chareidim, it does not display any figures on what the chareidim think they think of us. In other words, it does not tell us if these numbers are higher or lower than what we expected the numbers to be.

Now, many of us, and certainly Rabbi Harry, would assume that most chareidim would expect much more negative results and  so we ought to be surprised. But, who is to say that if the analysis included our expectations, the numbers won’t reflect a more optimistic mindset in the chareidi camp itself? Hey, if we found a pleasant “chiddush” in one area, who says there won’t be a pleasant chiddush in another area?? Thus, how can this assumption be justified?

The second issue is: aside from a lack of data on how we think they think of us, if you want to play a “blame game”, there needs to be a mirror study done about what we think of them.  Perhaps our numbers of being positive or accepting of the secular/traditional chevra will top their numbers of acceptance of us? And, if so, the inevitable conclusion would be that they are to blame!!

So, in addition to the fact that it is pointless folly to blame anybody, we anyway do not have the necessary data to make a scientific conclusion at all.

That’s 2 strikes on Harry for being despicable.

But here comes my final pitch.

Rabbi Harry is shooting the messenger.  If you need to blame Somebody for “divisiveness” at least Harry should be man enough to cut out the middleman and go straight to the Source.

You see, we chareidim are chareidim l’dvar Hashem. We are following a script. The script is clearly written in Parshat Bechukosai (just one more week to go). In this Parsha, HKB”H himself sets up 2 camps and draws line. One is Im Bechukosai Telechu – the One Above camp. The second is V’Im Bechukosai Timasu – the Seven Below camp.

G-d made this division – not any “chareidim”. G-d told every Jew which camp to stand in (Devarim 30:19). The chareidim obey because G-d said so. The non-chareidim do not obey.  I wrote this all very clearly on page 228 of the book that most non-chareidim and especially Rabbi Harry Maryles, would not dare to read. And this is exactly what I wrote:

It is not my desire or intention to make distinctions or categories within observant Judaism. We are all the children of G‑d the Father. He says so Himself, “Sons are you to Hashem your G‑d; you are not to make leagues…” [1] This can be understood not as two distinct statements but as one relational statement - because we are all equally the sons of G‑d the Father, we, therefore, have no business dividing ourselves into separate “leagues”.

But G‑d does designate two camps. He says Im b’chukotai telechu which He calls “et haChaim v’et haTov[2] (the source of life and all that is good) and he says V’im b’chukotai timasu which He calls “et haMavet v’et haRah[3] (the source of death and all that is evil) and he tells us, all of us, where to stand – “u’bechartem b’Chaim![4] (And you shall choose life!) He does not make distinctions between His children, but by our choosing to stand in different places, we segregate ourselves.

The chareidim are not divisive. We do our best to follow G-d’s script and we encourage all other Jews to do the same. We distance ourselves from those who refuse to follow the script because G-d tells us to.

Case in point, observe the ludicrous nonsense in this “Emes V’Emuna” post (edited for brevity):

MK Yaakov Asher says pretty much the same thing. For Charedim, the isolationism is intentional, he says. Charedim dare not be exposed to what he calls ‘ the defilement of Israeli society’! 
The secular interviewees are on the exact opposite track. They want to integrate Charedim into their world and value their contributions. They point to Charedim who have made the jump into the workplace and note that they are among the most reliable and ethical workers and have a very strong work ethic.
So there you have it. I wish it weren’t so.

What Orthodox Rabbi Harry Maryles is doing is bemoaning that chareidim refuse to expose themselves to a Seven Below (V’Im Bechukosai Timasu) lifestyle –despite the fact that the Torah tells us to and admonishes us that we should be ashamed of ourselves owing to the fact that some “secular” (i.e., mechalelei Shabbos and tznius) Jews are actually willing to expose themselves to One Above (Im Bechukosai Telechu).

And this man (Harry Maryles) calls himself a Rabbi and a Torah Jew!!

So when Rabbi Harry blames us for playing up to Im Bechukosai Telechu and not kowtowing to V’Im Bechukosai Timasu he is really blaming the One who made the rules - not the ones who are playing the game. G-d - not we - calls for divisiveness when some (most?) Jews are not playing His game.

So, intrinsically, it’s G-d’s fault. But we chareidim don’t mind taking the blame. We are really taking the credit. But for Rabbi Harry for whom it is a mitzvah to find blame – he is really blaming the One who drew the line.

That’s 3 strikes on Harry.

Utterly despicable!

[1] Deuteronomy 14:1. This verse is being interpreted in accordance to the exegesis of the Talmud in tractate Yevamot 14a.
[2] Deuteronomy 30:15
[3] Ibid.
[4] Deuteronomy 30:19

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Pnei Hador have told the nation/They won't stand for segregation...

We may think that the three most influential leaders of the State of Israel, the “Pnei Hador” (shown below carrying the whole world on their shoulders) are not looking out for our best interests.

Pnei Hador (from left): Curly Bennet, Larry Lapid, Moe Netanyahu

Our musical spokesman, Asher V’Chaim, knows otherwise.

Who is Asher V’Chaim?

Well, nobody really knows. He has not gone public with his true identity. So he calls himself Asher V’Chaim.


Because in some earlier statement, Yair Lapid used the names “Asher V’Chaim” as a reference to the paradigm chareidi man in the street beis-midrash. (Like we say “John Doe” or “Tom, Dick, and Harry”). So this fellow calls himself "Asher V’Chaim" to be representative of the paradigm chareidi a la Yair Lapid.

He seems to be a young fellow but he is also well acquainted with 1960s antiwar songs. I am duly impressed because I am indeed a child of the 60s and a true red-white-and-blue American and I had never heard the original Tom Paxton anti-Vietnam song that he is parodying. Incidentally, Tom Paxton in his much later years put out a sequel to this song with regard to the second Iraq war.

The Paxton songs are definitely the perfect choice for a source song because they express the exact same sentiment as the new chareidi parody:
The government is enacting compulsory laws to satisfy its own agenda and is justifying it as saving the “victims” from… themselves.

The protesters didn’t buy it then and we don’t buy it now.

In any event, this song is going viral in Chareidi circles here in E”Y. You may not consider 3,800+ hits viral, but considering the fact that it had only 650 hits a mere 2 days ago and the limited market it addresses, it’s pretty active.

For convenience, the lyrics for this parody are readily available on the YouTube post. Unfortunately, they are in Hebrew and the English speaker may not readily grasp the full meaning. So, as one of my many public services, I am presenting a linear translation of the lyrics. The translation is meant to preserve the Hebrew flavor so it may not be conversational English.  I also apologize that I was unable to poeticize it with rhymes and a steady meter (though I tried). 

So, here is the song.


And here are the lyrics.

“In just a short time will arrive the order
that will clarify the situation
that “equality of burden” is already here.
No non-compliance will be forgiven
and to the prisons they will be driven
to be an avreich (kollel fellow) here will be hazardous.”

Yair, Bennet and also Bibi
they are concerned about you, my dear one
[although] they are destroying for you the sanctuary.
“To the army that is like none other
we will conscript you, my brother
and there, we will give you a new education.”

“If your name will be left out
to what can you hope to amount?
One who hampers the development will adversely affect the product.
You have not acquired higher education
you do not comprehend economics
the most that you will ever be fit for is…to be Minister of Finance.”

Yair, Bennet and also Bibi
they are concerned about you, my dear one
[although] they are destroying for you the sanctuary.
“To the army that is like none other
we will conscript you, my brother
and there, we will arrange for you a new education.”

“You are amazed and ask with urgency
if this “burden” is in truth necessary.
Why do we currently need obligatory enlistment?
Arise from your delusions, and awaken
they have built careers around this “equality” slogan
Why ruin an effective battle-cry?”

Yair, Bennet and also Bibi
they are concerned about you, my dear one
[although] they are destroying for you the sanctuary.
“To the army that is like none other
your enlistment is imperative
so that we can give you a new education.”

“If you will shout throughout the kingdom
‘Where are the emperor’s clothes?’
Just look at how silly you are.
If the army would hire and train
only the amount of soldiers that it really needs,
how would this country manage to produce any shesh-besh (backgammon) champions?”

Yair, Bennet and also Bibi
they are concerned about you, my dear one
[although] they are destroying for you the sanctuary.
“To the army that is like none other
we will conscript you, my brother
and we will hand you down a new education.”

“Many have already stood against you
[to challenge] your ‘goodly tents’ (of learning and praying)
to uproot Torah learning from the Jews.
They all failed in their endeavors
and did not accomplish their missions
yet we will [succeed to] actualize a first-of-its-kind law!”

Yair, Bennet and also Bibi
they are concerned about you, my dear one
[although] they are destroying for the third time the sanctuary.
“To the army that is like none other
we will conscript you, my brother
and, we will transform you to a new chiloni (secularist).”

“and, we will transform you to a new chiloni (secularist).”

And so... 

The Pnei Hador have told the nation/they won’t stand for segregation…

…and they will fix our education.

פרעה לא גזר אלא על הזכרים – אבל לב"נ ביקש לעקור את הכל.






Sunday, September 29, 2013

Three Years of Parnassah…Up Front!

Firstly, I do want to apologize for not following up on my Shidduch Crisis post that I launched last spring. I do hope to get to it eventually but for now, I need to digress. I hope to follow the crude advice of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel to "never let a crisis go to waste".

The Yomim Noraim of 5774 have come and gone. What did we daven for?

Well, if you are like me, a heartfelt entreaty for parnassah was probably at the top of the list. After all, the world economy in general and Yechezkel Hirshman's economy in particular are what we call here al hapanim (the pits). I mean really bad shape. My own trade deficit (income vs. outgo) rivals that of Uncle Sam. My income cannot cover my basic day to day expenses and I have been forced to supplement my meager earnings with reserve money to the point of near total depletion. Cutbacks and mounting short term debt have taken their toll. I have IOU notes in my cookie jar. Not to mention at least 3 offspring on the Shadchan's sights (getting back to the Shidduch crisis…)

Of course, the Yad Hashem is always evident. About six months back I calculated that I have enough reserve to keep me afloat until June. When June came around, a long overdue and hard fought payoff came through and I revised my calculation that I now have enough to hold me until Rosh Hashannah. To me this was quite significant because every Rosh Hashannah is another chance to reset the tables. I saw that HKBH's plan for me for 5773 was fulfilled. But what's in store for 5774?

So when the Days of Mercy came around three weeks ago, like so many others, I poured out my heart for financial salvation.

But it struck me recently that perhaps, we who live here in Eretz Yisrael didn't have to. For us, there is no need to worry about parnassah this year. For 5774, parnassah is guaranteed. GUARANTEED!

And not just one year of parnassah. Three years. Three whole years of parnassah to be dealt out in 5774. GUARANTEED!

Where is it guaranteed?

Right here in my chumash. In Vayikra 25:20,21. Here it clearly states:
וכי תאמרו מה נאכל בשנה השביעית הן לא נזרע ולא נאסף את תבואתנו: וציויתי את ברכתי לכם בשנה הששית ועשת את התבואה לשלש השנים:

Free translation:
And should you ask "What shall we eat on the seventh year? Alas, we cannot sow and we cannot gather our produce?" And I will order My blessing on the sixth year and it will yield its produce for the amount of three years.

That's right, for those who intend to uphold the laws of shemitta, we have a guarantee that on the sixth year the GDP will do a threefold performance and we'll pull in enough to keep us afloat for three whole years. What a deal!!

Of course this probably won't apply to everybody. There are those Jews who rely on the Hetter Mechira and by so doing, treat the seventh year like every other year.

In a previous post (see my post about Ki LiHaAretz - Eminent Domain), I wrote at length that the validity of the Hetter Mechira needs to be reviewed because some of the key factors that were used to justify it in the first place are no longer applicable. But regardless of whether it is still Halachically valid it may not be a good idea to rely on it.


Because it probably voids the guarantee.

You see, this guarantee is earmarked for people who ask: "What shall we eat on the seventh year? Alas, we cannot sow and we cannot gather our produce?"

G-d is making this guarantee for those who intend to follow the basic laws and not to sow and not to gather the produce. For those who will use Halachic loopholes to circumvent the prohibitions, I am sure G-d can find some loopholes in His guarantee.

So now, 5774, the sixth year of the cycle, is the time for all of us Jews living in E"Y to decide how we intend to keep the upcoming Shmitta year. The genuine way that comes with a three year guarantee or the convoluted way that doesn't.

Remember: הטורח בערב שבת הוא יאכל בשבת.

Now, I personally identify with the follow-the-rules-as-written (WYSIWYG) clan so I do hope that the guarantee applies to me. Of course, one may argue that this guarantee is only applicable to those who actually work the land, not to those who get their sustenance from Technical Writing or the benefits of a US based family business.

This may indeed be so. But since 5774 is indeed the sixth year of the cycle, people like me can always fall back on preservation plan B…

…5774 is a Maaser Ohni year!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Anticipating the Geula

Wel-l-l-l, it's the third day of Nissan and, although the Pesach rush makes things hectic at home, it is actually quieting things down a bit here at the Har Chotzvim office. This gives me a long overdue opportunity to write.

Now, there have been occasions over the past year that I considered to finally come out of hibernation and post something, but it just didn't happen. One of the main urges came around the issue of the Great Internet Satan and the great Kennes that took place in CitiField last summer.

One reason I didn't take it up is that to some extent I have been worshipping the Great Internet Satan myself (of course I have filters) so perhaps my perspective would wax thin. Another reason is that I really did not have much to add to the outspoken pundits who were already on record.

My overall position has always been that the Internet is just another one of many Para Adumos that we must suffer along our treacherous journey to Destiny. This was totally reflected by the banner slogan that graced the event: We can't live with it; we can't live without it. Of course, I do think it is a great Kiddush Hashem that so many frum yidden took the time and congregated to face up to the hazards of this issue. Yet, I don't think it is especially prudent for anybody in today's generation to pompously declare who does or doesn't get a share in Olam Haba. This is not salesmanship and not the way to win friends or influence people.

Another crucial event was the expose' and trial of various sexual offenders. Primarily the one from Williamsburg. Though I have not been privy to all the details of the case, I am personally of the opinion that the fellow is guilty as sin.


Because there does not seem to be any dispute that he violated the Halachos of Yichud l'mehadrin min ha'mehadrin. And when basic ABC yichud is so blatantly and wantonly violated, not only is there no chezkas kashrus to the perpetrator, but there is actually a chezkas tumah as we know from the laws of Sotah.

Still, I try to stay away from discussing the sexual issues because, more than not, they are a discussion of human behavior inside of a religious framework rather than a discussion of hashkafa. My game is hashkafa. In other words, I may preach "Being of the chareidi hashkafa is the best because we have the morality laws and only we have the halachos of Yichud to safeguard ourselves and others." Invariably, the kvetchers will point out how much of our morality laws and laws of Yichud are brazenly violated by my fellow chareidim. To which I can only respond, "It's not a problem with the rulebook, it's a problem with the players!" (That's ye olde "Don't judge Judaism by the Jews" defense.)

Of course, the hottest issue of the day is the power struggle in Eretz Yisroel and the mishugoss of "Equalize the Burden" and the resulting coalition crisis.

Now, this should not be an issue in the eyes of any Orthodox Jew because, as I wrote clearly in Chapter 6 of my book, Orthodox Jews are expected to live within the precepts of Pirkei Avos. Pirkei Avos (3:5) tells us:

רבי נחוניא בן הקנה אומר: כל המקבל עליו על תורה מעבירין ממנו על מלכות ועל דרך ארץ; וכל הפורק ממנו על תורה נותנין עליו על מלכות ועל דרך ארץ.


Those who carry the burden of Torah are relieved of the burden of government. Those who throw off the burden of Torah are exacted the burden of government.


In short, we have our burden and the secular have theirs. They don't carry ours – we don't carry theirs. Seems pretty equal to me. We have nothing to apologize for. Especially to those who are not familiar with Pirkei Avos and do not even recite Krias Shma (or even Modeh Ani) at least once a day.


Notice the word כל which means Everyone. Not 400 students and not 1800 students. It means Everyone who accepts the yoke of Torah, whether it is 600, 6000, 60,000, 600,000, or 6,000,000 .


It is sad but not surprising that even some "Orthodox" Jews do not respect the words of Pirkei Avos (as well as do not recite Krias Shma twice a day). These may include such notables as Naftali Bennet.


In any case, my observations are that the sincere Torah oriented religious Zionists (RWs) are not currently at odds with the chareidim. Ever since the disengagement they learned that the post-Zionist establishment is not their ally. What comes out is that this army issue is really a religious/secular (believer vs. non-believer) issue rather than a chareidi/NCOJ (beliver/believer) issue. My work is to deal with the latter.


With this, to express my feelings about the army issue, I refer you to my dear friend and colleague, Rabbi Moshe Averick, who has taken up the believer/non-believer cause and has written a poignant and well researched essay that speaks for all of us. (Click HERE for the essay – just don't forget to come back!)


So, if I didn't come out of retirement to discuss the Internet, sexual deviance, or Israeli politics, what did bring me out of the deep freeze?


It is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart and to those of many others --- the Shidduch crisis!


As I knew it would, it hasn't gotten any better. There is no reason for it to have.


Unfortunately, I have already used up almost all of my window of time for this winded introduction, aside from the fact that this post is already as long as a post should be. Thus, I will sign off from this post and bare my thoughts in the next post which I hope should come out before Rosh HaShanna, bli neder.


In the meantime, Chodesh Nissan is here. It's time for a real geula.




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Autistic Speaks (or Writes)

Although I obviously don't have much time to devote to my blog, it is nevertheless still up and running. And people still find and read my posts. my site meter tells me this.

My posts also get numerous comments a day. Almost all of them are spam comments that are mass generated and ID as "Anonymous". 

Well, yesterday, for the first time in quite a while, I received a comment to an existing post - a three year old post, actually - that seemed to be genuine albeit a bit "heretical" and disturbing. The commenter identified himself (I assume it is a male) as Collin Merenoff and called himself "an autistic Jew who can speak and type on my own". He was commenting  to one of the posts I had written advocating the "writings" of the "chareidi" autistics using a technique known as Facilitated Communication (FC). 

You can see the post and the comments with my response HERE.

For those who did not check out the link, I will reprint both his comment and my response in this post.

Since this person identifies himself as an autistic, it seems he has some authority on the mind of an autistic and the authenticity of FC. So here is his comment:

Collin Merenoff said... 
That last poster is absolutely right about FC. I'm an autistic Jew who can speak and type on my own. Many of my family members have/had some aspects of autism. I have grown up with the wisdom of an agnostic grandmother from Vilnau, and a religious and Kabbalistic grandfather from Chorzhel, who got along perfectly despite their differences, because they were each autistic in their own way, and they shared the wisdom of autistic Judaism. And that wisdom would be total anathema to any cult, for my grandparents (y'hei shalama raba...), my parents, and I all agree that the Torah is deeply flawed, that Halacha is mostly irrelevant, and that the real word of G-d is in secular ethics and scientific truth.
JUNE 19, 2012 1:09 AM
This comment has taught me many things. The main thing is that even autistics have bechira and they can choose for themselves whether to be a maamin or not. This one prides himself on a long yichus of skeptics all of whom were blessed with a variant of autism. 

Another thing that I learned is that there is a brand of Judaism called "autistic Judaism" that has a special "wisdom". I also learned that this "autisitc Judaism" with its own brand of wisdom cannot be considered a "cult" because its hahkafos are "total anathema to any cult". Only those who believe in FC are branded (by an earlier commenter and confirmed by this one) as a "cult".

As for the authenticity of FC, this commenter is not specific in any way. He just seconds the opinions of the previuos poster. He probably did not see my subsequent post (available HERE) where I took on his challenge head on. One important point I made in the beginning of that post is that FC is used for autistics who cannot commnicate by themselves and thus we cannot gage FC based on autistics like Collin who can.

So now, I wish to present the response that I wrote to my friend Collin:

To Collin 

Thank you for your comment. 

>>I'm an autistic Jew who can speak and type on my own.  

It seems to me that most people in the blogosphere are autistic [Jews] who can speak and type on their own. 

>>my parents, and I all agree that the Torah is deeply flawed 

You are implying that if it was up to you, you could produce a "flawless" Torah. The Torah is a constitution, or a set of rules for a vibrant society. Society is made up of Human beings with many Human shortcomings (including autism). Humans are full of "differences" and "flaws" and any constitution that can effectively regulate a society of Humans is beyond flawless. It is remarkable and magnificent.
From all known constitutions and religious dogma, the Torah has the best track record for viability and vibrance, bar none. 

>>that Halacha is mostly irrelevant 

Perhaps. But recent polls in Eretz Yisrael have established that the members of society who adhere to Halacha (hareidim in particular but not exclusively) have considered themselves to be "happy with their lives" to a percentage greater than any other sub-community.  

>>and that the real word of G-d is in secular ethics and scientific truth 

Yes, indeed. Both "secular ethics" and "scientific truth (???)" have made themselves into religions of their own. And so, those who stray after them see them as the "real word of G-d". "Secular Ethics" has brought us Naziism, socialism and communism and pro-abortion and homosexual marriage. If this is the word of G-d then you and I are definitely worshiping 2 different "G-ds".

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Accepting Kids or Excepting Kids – Phishing for a Psak

I wrote in my book that there are basically two “grades” of chareidim: the Rabi Shimon ben Yochai grade and the Rabi Yishmael grade. 

In general, the two grades interact rather well but on some issues there may need a bit of arbitration. Here is how I wrote it in the book: 

The inevitable result is the emergence of two main categories of chareidim – the [Rabbi] Shimonists and the [Rabbi] Yishmaelists. These two strains co-exist within every chareidi community and often within chareidi households. In most aspects, there are no substantial adverse effects to this phenomenon. The Yishmaelists admire the Shimonists for maintaining a higher standard and the Shimonists appreciate that the Yishmaelists are ‘doing their job’. Essentially, they carry out a teamwork program (in the spirit of the Yissachar – Zevulun partnership) as, typically, both groups gain from the achievements of the other. 

Problems do arise when Rabbi Shimonist chareidim expect or demand other chareidim who may lean toward the Yishmaelist school of thought to maintain their stricter standards. These problems tend to flare up in relation to community issues which collectively affect all of the chareidim in a community and where a common policy must be adopted. Here, these two conflicting schools of thought make it difficult to determine a single policy to serve the entire spectrum. In some cases, a rift within the community is unavoidable. This occurs mostly within the education system as that is one crux of the initial debate – should young chareidim be educated exclusively toward the higher Shimonist standard or not? Does the presence of the Yishmaelists make those standards harder to achieve? On occasion this disparity comes to the fore in family relations, mostly between fathers and sons (though sometimes even between husbands and wives or in-laws), sometimes with tragic consequences. This issue demands further study which I hope to provide. 

To rephrase the question: Is it justified for a “high class” chareidi educational establishment to except potential students who do not fully fit their preferred profile, or are they beholden to accept them? 

Well, listen to the opinion of one of the finest arbitrators in the business, L’orach yamim v’shanim tovim.

In the ensuing video, two school officials from Beit Shemesh are consulting with the "Rosh Yeshiva" Harav Aharon Leib Shteinman, Shlit"a. It seems that a local Beit Shemesh man is on the verge of remarrying to a widow from Bnei Brak who has two sons. As they are looking to settle in Beit shemesh, they want to enroll the two boys in this particular Talmud Torah.

The officials of the TT somehow feel that this widow is too "open minded" for their tastes and are seeking the Rosh Yeshiva's approval to not except accept the two boys.

The Rosh Yeshiva will have none of it! And he says so in no uncertain terms.
Oh, and pardon the English.

(Note - For email recipients who do not get the embedded video, you may access it HERE)

Note - Although this video was just recently published on YouTube, I am told that this incident occurred over a year ago.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chanukah Sameach

I think I may start a trend of checking in to say hello every Yom Tov.

So, until Purim (perhaps) ...

For the nostalgiac readers I offer my Golden Oldies Chanukah posts:

Fumbling the Ball in the Red Zone

Yefes in the Tents of Shame


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shanna Tova

To all my loyal readers - and if you are reading this, then you a definitely a very loyal reader - I just want to say that despite my inattention to my blog, I am still around and am still devoted to One Above and Seven Below and to all the Jews in either category!

I just want to wish everybody a Kesiva V'Chasima tova - a year of health, parnassah, and peace and a geulah shleima.

One thought for Rosh HaShanna: Many people have the custom not to do any sins on Rosh HaShanna because the Hebrew word for "sin" - חטא - has the same gematria as the word חטא which means "sin"! (Amazing but true!) וסימנא מילתא היא.

שנה טובה ומתוקה

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Weighing Judgment Kilo for Kilo

I will divulge a secret as to part of the reason that I haven't written many blog posts over the past months.

Though I have stated that I am busier than I had been previously, I had never given out any specifics (except that work picked up). What is a bit more significant is that I have found myself entangled in a very messy Din Torah (nothing to do with my book and thank G-d it's not shalom bayis). And I 've been having the time of my life. Now, instead of writing blog posts in my "spare" time, I am writing letters to dayanim and beligerent lawyers.

Now, there's an old Dale Carnegie rule: when you get stuck with a lemon, make a lemonade. This means that even when you get a bum deal, there is usually some feature you can still cash in on.

In the FAQs section of my book (page 10), I tell the reader that I intend to write a second volume to deal with specific aspects of the Jewish/Chareidi world and one of the items on the agenda was a discussion of Beis Din and Agunah issues. Now we all know that I am far behind schedule in my second book but, to make a lemonade out of a lemon, my recent experiences have taught me more than I thought I would ever know. In fact, they have taught me more than I ever wanted to know. And they have certainly proven to me first hand something I wrote in a previous post: writing about Beis Din cannot be done in a single chapter. It requires a complete book. And what I have learned from my experiences give me more than enough material.

So perhaps there will be a complete book about the workings and failings of a rabbinic Beis Din - even before there is a book 2.

And what inspired me to write about this subject in the midst of the Pesach cleaning I should be doing? It is a story that was just now emailed to me from a dear friend. A story that involves a Din Torah and making a lemonade out of a lemon. And here is the story:

In a quiet shtettle in Poland the town milkman is suddenly approached by the gabbai of the local dayan. He is summoned to a Din Torah the upcoming Tuesday.

A Din Torah? The milkman knows that he has always been a very straightforward and honest person and has absolutely no desire to benefit from ill-gotten gains. Who could possibly want to call him for a Din Torah?

Well, the town baker was one of his customers and would purchase butter and cheese for his dairy paistries. He had an accurate scale in his facility and when he brought back his butter and cheese order, he would doublecheck the chunks that were supposed to weigh a kilo.

They never weighed a full kilo. Someimes 900 grams sometimes 950. He even had an occasion where the chunk only weighed 800 grams but never did it weigh a full kilo.

The baker was incensed. He approached the village dayan and told him that not only was the milkman cheating him but he was very likely cheating everybody in the town. We must put an end to this. This scoundrel must be brought to justice!

And so, the baker filed a claim in the Beis Din and the milkman  was summoned to appear. And appear he did. Albeit a bit nervous and confused.

"Do you have a reliable scale in your workshop?" he was asked by the dayan.

"No, I do not."

"Then how do you ascertain that the chunks of butter that you deliver to the baker weigh a full kilo?"

"Oh, that's simple. I don't have a scale but I do have a simple balance. When the baker comes, he brings me my bread order. So I take a full loaf of fresh bread which he tells me weighs a kilo - (and he has a reliable scale) - and I put it on one side of the balance and I weigh out the butter on the other side. I always make sure that my butter slightly outweighs the bread."

The dayan took one quick glance at the baker and immediately dismissed the case as the baker's face turned as white as the butter.

So remember:

כל הפוסל במומו פוסל

and what's more:

אל תדין את חברך עד שתגיע למקומו ...שאולי באמת כבר הגעת למקומו

Monday, March 7, 2011

Common Sense of a High Order- a book review

Nonsense of a High Order by Rabbi Moshe Averick

Emunah - Belief in G-d.

It is everything.

I wrote as much in one of the (9) most fundamental chapters in my book. The one that is entitled Getting to the Heart of the Matter. For it truly is the heart of the matter.

To briefly summarize, I expounded on the Maharsha's explanation on a fundamental chazal at the end of Gemara Makkos. This chazal is the primary Talmudic source that our Mosaic traditon is composed of 613 mitzvot. But the gemara does something strange.

After informing us that the proper quantity of mitzvot is 613, the gemara adds on that King David came along and reduced the number to eleven. Then came his great grandson Yishaya and reduced the number to six. Comes the prophet Michah and further reduces it to three. Back comes Yeshaya to reduce it to two, and finally comes the prophet Habakuk and he reduces it to just one - וצדיק באמונתו יחיה .

Just one.


The Maharsha explains that all the 613 mitzvot are divided into 2 categories: 248 positive ones and 365 negative ones. At the head of the 248 positive ones is the King commandment: Anochi Hashem Elokecha. At the head of the 365 negative ones is the Queen commandment: Lo yihiyeh lecha elohim acherim. All of the mitzvot are "servants" of the King and Queen so, in effect, there are only 2 mitzvos: Anochi Hashem and Lo Yihiyeh Lecha.

But these two mitzvot themselves are really only conveying one two-sided idea: Anochi = believe in Me and Lo Yihiyeh Lecha = do not believe in any power but Me. Or, in other words - have complete unequivocal EMUNAH in HKBH.

And this is what the prophet Habakuk said: וצדיק באמונתו יחיה .

This is Kol HaTorah Kula (which I can type while standing on one foot)!

So our entire challenge in life is our Emunah. And it is no small sack of potatoes. In our exothermic world of void and chaos which is rapidly expanding into more void and chaos, our biggest challenges are our tests of Emunah. And it challenges all of us.

My forays on the Internet hashkafa sites and blogs have revealed a frighteningly exhorbitant picture of how extensive this issue is. How many people among us who are steadfast and solid on the outside are brittle and crumbling on the inside. It's scary, it's devastating and it's contagious. None of us are immune. For "these are times that try mens' souls".

The Rambam enumerated for us 13 principles of Emunah. And for most of us religious minded folk, the bigger challenges come in the later innings. Are we really sold on the words of the prophets? Do we truly believe in Hashgacha Pratis and Heavenly reward and punishment? Do we anticipate Moshiach and Techiyas Meisim?

Understandable. But there are those who falter right at the starting gate with principle numero uno - does G-d really exist?

Comes Rabbi Moshe Averick to the rescue by giving us a baseline for Emunah in HKBH without a word of mussar. Without an interminable barrage of Talmudic epithets and poetic passages from Kohelles, Mishlei and Iyov. No Maharsha in gemara Makkos. Not a hint of Moreh Nevuchim, Kuzari or Chovos HaLevavos. No deep esoteric essays from Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler or Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin or the Baal Hatanya. Not even the "wonders of creation" antics of Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak and Zamir Cohen.

Rabbi Averick uses one weapon and one weapon only. A weapon that is surely not in the arsenals of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Moammer Kaddafi, Barack Obama and, I daresay, the IDF.

Common sense.

Along with a sense of humor (no extra charge).

R' Moshe has written a monumental book that infiltrates the strongholds of skepticism and atheism and lays waste to its moorings using the very weapon they lack.

Cold unmitigated logic.

He calls it: Nonsense of a High Order

R' Moshe reviews the writings of such notable renowned godless thinkers such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg, Will Provine, Sam Harris, Leslie Orgel, Carl Sagan, Francis Crick, Paul Davies, Robert Hazen, Christian DeDuve, Stuart Kaufman, Frank Sonleitner (and others that nobody has thought of yet) and exposes them for what they are - Nonsense of a High Order.

Rabbi Averick points out that this kind of convoluted delusional thinking could not possibly have come about among earlier life forms but rather has slowly developed over millions and billions of years until it reached the sophistication it now enjoys.

True to his Jewish heritage, R' Moshe does convey a bit of cynicism and sarcasm but not without wit. In that sense I feel he is a soulmate. (If not for a few years, he might have been a classmate. Let's just say we grew up drinking the same water.)

I am quite impressed by this book and a bit envious that I did not (and most likely could not) write it myself. His book is barely out a few weeks and I can see that it is an immediate success. It's already been attacked.

Don't be fooled that this book was written for the gentile masses. It was written for us. This book should sit on every Jewish bookshelf and nightstand - right next to mine but with none of the dust.

I recommend this book to Jew and non-Jew alike. But a word of caution. Since his book is mainly a comparison between nonsense and common sense, it is only beneficial to those who can tell the difference. And in our endothermic world of reality, this is a rapidly shrinking population.

Oh, and while you're in the bookstore you may want to check out another book about the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the origin of species (or is it the origin of spouses?) - In Laws: It's All Relative by Leah Shifrin Averick (with Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski). That's his Mom.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Related posts:

Doubting Thomases...and Yosselas

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yeshiva University Seforim Sale

For all those Manhattanites who yearn to read One Above and Seven Below (and don't know how to use Amazon), I am happy to announce that the book is being featured in this year's YU Seforim Sale which is currently running from Feb 6-27 at 2495 Amsterdam Ave.

Of course the book is still available at Tiferes Stam on Coney Island Ave. in Brooklyn and also at Yeshiva Shaar HaTorah in Kew Gardens, Queens. I also have a distribution point in Lakewood (currently out of books but more on the way). Please email me at if you would like to purchase the book in Lakewood.

משנכנס אדר מרבים בשמחה

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's About Time!

Some of you may have noticed that I haven't had much to say over the past two months. At least one person did (is that the grand total???). On January 14 he posted a comment to my last post (from Nov 18) as follows:

2 months dude?????

And my response was (for those who are too lazy to go and look themselves):

Well, not for another 4 days.

Still, it is gratifying that there is at least one anonymous person out there who misses my blog. You are so far the first and only person to speak up.

In any case, I currently have been unable to devote much attention to my blog for various reasons. One of which is that since there is no money in it, it takes a back seat to ventures that do. I do hope to revitalize it at some point.

But I did appreciate your comment.

Of course it would be nice if my blog posts were to be profitable (does anybody want my Paypal address??) but it is quite obviously not the main issue. More accurately, when people would hear me explain my 1A7B project, or more recently, if they would look at my posts, I would typically hear (whispered behind my back) the same response:

That fellow's got way too much time on his hands!!

Well, I am happy to report that this is no longer the case. My schedule has gotten much busier of late. So the real story is not that I haven't had what to say as much as that I haven't really had the time to say it. Which brings up another comment I have heard (said to my face):

Your posts are much too long.

And if you think it takes a while to read them, imagine what it takes to write them. A good post is like a good meal. It can take hours to cook up and only minutes to eat.

This being the case, if I have no time to cook, I am left with a few choices for my customers: (1) throw something into the microwave, (2) feed them leftovers, or (3) let them go hungry.

Options 1 and 2 did not seem too appetizing and I really did not want to turn my blog into a series of reruns so for the most part I defaulted to option (3). But since I don't want the blog to go totally defunct (just yet) and this is the week between Parshat Yisro and Mishpatim, I will go into rerun mode and refer my loyal readers (if only the anonymous fellow from Jan 18) to one of the most fundamental and insightful as well as fascinating Torah essays that I have written:

Ad K'dei Kach

It explains what G-d really wants from us in 10 easy lessons. Don't pass it up!

There is some fresh material (on stale topics) that I still hope to write but I need more time (and money!) Yet, there is some light at the end of the tunnel: if we don't see some action from our primary customer and soon, our company may fold.

Then I'll have plenty of time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reform's New Direction and Orthodoxy

Yep, there's a little bit of plagiarism here. I stole borrowed the title of this post from a very recent post at Emes Ve-Emunah. I read his post and "filed it away" as it doesn't really cross paths or lock horns with my subject matter. I do not share his optimism but there is nothing wrong with an upbeat post for a change. Hey, if the chareidim are a lost cause there may still be hope for the Reform (those who are really Jewish, at least)!

So, initially, I didn't see the post as relevant to my blog but...just this morning, a friend emailed me this anecdote. Aside that I got a real chuckle out of it, I thought the timing of it was apropos a day after I saw the E-V-E post.

Rabbi Harry's post began: First it was the Siddur. Now it is Kashrus.

What could possibly be next??? Well, here is the story of:

The President of the Reform Temple

The President of the Reform Temple, Saul Goldberg is greatly distraught and can not sleep nights. He decides to visit with the Rabbi of the temple, Rabbi Sally Johnson, and explain why he is so upset and to seek her advice.

"Rabbi," he explains, "as you know, I have been a loyal and devout member of the Reform Temple and movement all my life. Unfortunately, my daughters went against all my advice and married men that greatly upset me."

Rabbi Sally asks, "Really, Saul, how so ?"

"Well," Saul explains, "My first daughter became Modern Orthodox which as you know greatly upset me. But she married a medical doctor, and even though he was 100 percent Orthodox and they send their children to an Orthodox Yeshiva, at least, when its not Shabbat or a Jewish holiday he watches TV and he is a Mets fan like me. So I was upset , but at least I can somewhat handle it."

"My second daughter was tougher for me. She also became observant and married an Orthodox man. This guy had no college education at all but became a very wealthy diamond merchant. He also wears a long beard with payos with his tzitzit out with a big black hat and I am too embarrassed to introduce him to any of my liberal friends. But, I will say, he treats my daughter well and he does give her everything she wants, so I tolerate the situation."

Saul sighs, and Rabbi Sally asks, "Is the third daughter that tough to take?"

Saul replies, "Rabbi Sally, my third daughter went against all my Liberal thinking. She not only of course married an Orthodox Man and I have all Orthodox grandchildren, she married a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force who was known to assassinate, with great precision, the biggest leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah from the air. To make matters worse, Yisrael Beitenu may be drafting him as a candidate to run for Prime Minister after he finishes his Army career. All my liberal friends are upset at me and tell me he is killing an oppressed people."

Saul further explains, "The fact my daughter's family is very right wing and Orthodox makes it harder for me as my liberal friends remind me that it looks like Israel will all become Orthodox because of the birth rate!"

"Rabbi, How do I show my face at the Interfaith Council anymore ? Why are all my grandchildren Orthodox? Where did I go wrong?"

Rabbi Sally ponders in thought for a moment and asks:

"Did you check your Mezuzas?"

And a bit more plagiarism:

Who knows? Someday maybe – just maybe - there will be a massive return to Torah by vast numbers of Jews who will see the value of observance as more than just a means of self identification. Maybe they will embrace Judaism the way it should be embraced with complete observance to Torah and Mitzvos. - Rabbi Harry Maryles

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ohver L'Asiyasan

Somehow I got myself subscribed to a daily email post called "Daily Halacha"(I think somebody did it for me!) It seems to be a Spring Valley based service to be "mezakeh ess harabim". It is a pleasure to receive these emails and I recommend it to everyone who wants to assure themselves as "bnei olam habah" based on the well known midrash:

תנא דבי אליהו: כל השונה הלכות בכל יום מובטח שהוא בן עולם הבא.

You can subscribe to it at:

The current series of Halachos is on the subject of Chanuka and here is today's serving:

1610. The opinion of the Mishnah Brurah (really the Rema - YH) is that one should be careful to complete all the berachos before beginning to light the first ner because the beracha needs to be o'ver la'asiyoson (before the act of the mitzvah). However, other poskim disagree, and some have the minhag to say the second beracha while beginning to light. Shulchan Aruch with Mishnahh Brurah 676:1, Sefer Halichos Yosef 676:1

The issue that this halacha focuses upon is a component of Hilchos Berachos that we call "ohver l'asiyasan" which tells us that Berachos are to be made before one fulfills the deed that the beracha is consecrating. The best translation that I could get for the term "Ohver" l'asiyasan is "on the way to" doing the mitzvah.

We understand from this that we must recite a Beracha before a mitzvah is fulfilled. If the mitzvah is done, it is too late to recite the beracha.

But the question arises: at what point is it too late? Is it when the mitzvah is begun to be performed or is it okay to recite the beracha as long as the mitzvah is not totally completed?

Well, let's look at the Halacha quoted above. We note that it adds that there are those who only recite the second beracha after they begin to light (yours truly follows this opinion). Is this not a breech in ohver l'asiyasan?

And the easy answer is to say that there is a big difference between these two brachos. And this is that there are really two miutzvos involved with lighting Chanuka candles:

(1) Lighting the candles (הדלקה עושה מצוה ) and (2) Pirsumei nisa.

The first beracha applies to the lighting itself and so, to satisfy ohver l'asiyasan, it must be recited before we even begin to light. The second beracha is for the Pirsumei nisa. But, still, doesn't it also require "ohver l'asiyasan"? Don't you have to recite it before we even begin to perform the Pirsumei nisa?

According to the Rema, this does indeed seem to be the case. But the other poskim do not agree. Perhaps, their position is that the Pirsumei nisa is an ongoing mitzva and as long as it has not been completed, one may still recite the Beracha. The obvious ramification of this perspective is that in case one totally forgot to recite any Berachos and fully lit all the candles, he may still be allowed to recite the second Beracha as long as the Pirsumei nissa is in effect. Even 1/2 hour after he lit. Though, in this case, he most certainly will not be able to recite the first Beracha. It seems that even the Mishna berura agrees with this as he writes that if one forgot to recite the Berachos, he nonethelass can still recite the second Beracha.

We see a similar Halacha regarding the 4 minim on Sukkos. We all know the Halacha to initially hold the esrog in the wrong position and then to recite the Beracha on the 4 minim and then to rectify the esrog. This is because, technically, once one holds all 4 minim properly he has already fulfilled the mitzvah and if the Beracha has not yet been said, it would be a problem of ohver l'asiyasan.

Nevertheless, the Halacha states that if one neglected to recite the Beracha and took the minim in their proper position, he may still recite the Beracha as long as he has not yet completed the na'anuim. Here again we see that, b'diavad, one can recite a Beracha as long as the mitzvah has not been completed even though it has been fulfilled.

Now, it is not the main purpose of this blog to give Halacha shiurim. So why is this relevant?

It relates to a very interesting post which I posted over a year ago (October 2009 - click HERE) concerning what is widely known as the Nefesh B'Nefesh proposal. In the post, I embedded a video of a young Jewish man propsing to a young Jewish lady in public. For convenience, I will repost the video (note - the video may not be visible to email recipients):

After wishing the dear couple a hearty mazel tov, I went on to pose the question as to whether this proposal actually constitutes a valid Kiddushin d'oraysa. To date, I haven't been able to get a conclusive ruling. Some scholars think it meets the conditions of Even HaEzer 27:1,2 and she would be definitely mekudeshet. Others said that it meets the conditions of Even HaEzer 27:3 and she would be "safek mekudeshet". And there were some (clear minority) who wanted to maintain that she is not mekudeshet at all.

The obvious question at the time was: what difference does all this make?

And the most serious answer is: in the event that they do not go through with the marriage, would she require a get?

So now may be a good time to report that I did attempt to follow up a bit on this couple and from what I could discover, they are currently happily married (auf lange yahrin) and we can breathe easy.

But there were some other minor issues as I wrote then:

Now, assuming this radiant couple follows through to a typical marriage ceremony in the near future - and there is every indication from their enthusiasm that they will, IY"H, there are not many major ramifications to this question. The main issue is: should they conduct the erussin at the wedding with reciting the Birkat Erussin or not. If the erussin already took effect, it would be a bracha l'vatala. Another ramification is that according to many authorities (not all) the requirement for a married woman to cover her hair may already be in effect.

Now, the issue of covering hair can be put to rest because it is generally held that this obligation begins after the chuppa. But the issue of the Beracha is a little more tricky. Most people typically said that if it is only "safek mekudeshet" there are grounds to say that we could still make a Beracha but on the opinion that it is a fully valid kiddushin, it would be a Beracha l'vatala to make a second Beracha.

Indeed, Harav Ephraim Greenblatt from Memphis, Tenessee had recently made aliya and currently lives in Har Nof, and I asked him this question last year. He agreed that there would not be another Beracha and he brought down some source which, presently, I do not recall. And so, this is how I saw the Halacha...until about 3 weeks ago.

3 weeks ago was Parshat Chayei Sarah - shidduchim week - and I was attending the weekly Halacha shiur given by Rav Asher Zelig Weiss, Shlit"a. Harav Weiss based his shiur on the topic of performing a kiddushin by way of a proxy (shalich) and posed the question: if somebody makes a shaliach for kiddushin, who should make the Beracha (note - even though we don't practice it this way today, the obligation of the Beracha is on the one performing the mitzvah, i.e., the chosson).

There is no need to burden my readers with the intricities of the shiur, but he did bring down one opinion that was a tremendous chiddush. He said that this comes from the Teshuvos HaRivash.

Somewhere in his teshuva, the Rivash states that when one makes a kiddushin via a shalich, when the couple meet each other later on, he should redo the kiddushin with a Beracha!

The difficulty here is obvious. If the woman is already Halchically betrothed, how can one "do it again" and what can justify making another Beracha?

So Harav Weiss went on to suggest that the Rivash agreed with the Rif that the shaliach certainly can not recite the Beracha and since the chosson is not present, he cannot recite one either. As such, the kiddushin is effected without any Beracha at all. So why not make the Beracha after the kiddushin?

Well, we all know that we can't do that because a Beracha must be recited ohver l'assiyasan. Once the mitzvah is performed, it's too late.

But, here Harav Weiss wanted to suggest what we have said earlier. Even though l'chatchila the Beracha should be said before one begins the mitzvah, b'diavad, the Beracha can still be said as long as the mitzvah has not been completed. And so, he wanted to suggest that until the chuppa (nissuin) takes place, the kiddushin has not been completed. It may have the same status as taking a lulav but not yet doing the na'anuim or as the Beracha of SheAssah Nissim that we discussed here. Accordingly, as long the beracha has not been said at all, it can be said when the chosson does a "reenactment" before the chuppa.

Now, if this holds true, there is no reason not to apply it to our incident as well. And so, at least according to this opinion, it would appear that there is nothing wrong with making a belated Beracha at the "second" kiddushin even if the original kiddushin was 100% valid!

That said, I still want to leave my readers with the following Beracha:

May none of us ever need to make a kiddushin more than once.

ה' חפץ למען צדקו יגדיל תורה ויאדיר