Cosmological Koans for Katrina

 

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From the News Center at UC Santa Cruz:  “In his new book, Cosmological Koans: A Journey to the Heart of Physical Reality”, physicist Anthony Aguirre explores deep questions about the nature of reality, using an approach inspired by Zen koans to take the reader on a thought-provoking tour of the cosmos and the core ideas of modern physics.

In Zen Buddhism, koans are short parables or questions meant to confront the practitioner with the inadequacy of conventional concepts and habits of thought. Similarly, Aguirre’s “cosmological koans” confront the reader with the unexpected nature of the world as described by physics and the mind-boggling ways in which it differs from our subjective experience or intuitive understanding of things.

‘I wanted to convey that sense of mystery and wonder that comes from seeing reality in a new way,’ said Aguirre, a professor of physics and holder of the Faggin Family Presidential Chair for the Physics of Information at UC Santa Cruz.

The book covers a wide range of topics, woven together with a fictional story line that recounts a journey from Italy to Japan. Multiple universes, the nature of time, the meaning of quantum theory, and entropy and information are among the subjects explored in short chapters that manage to convey mind-bending ideas in a way that is accessible and entertaining.

The topics include some of the most challenging open questions in cosmology and physics, as well as concepts that have long been settled science yet remain disturbingly counterintuitive. With respect to the enduring mystery of time, for example, Einstein showed that there is no universal ‘now’—in other words, different observers can have different perceptions of whether two events are simultaneous.”

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Let’s explore the concept of time a bit further.  In Chapter 28, p. 210, Professor Aguirre writes that you don’t see the world as it is now, whether that “now” is cosmic or not.  The world you see around you is the world as it was in the past.  Viewing the leaf falling from a tree 50 meters away, you see the tree as it was 167 nanoseconds ago.

What does “now” mean?  In other words how do we define the present as distinct from the past or the future?  It’s a timeless question borne of metaphysics as much as physics.  As soon as you stop to identify that now is now, the moment has already passed into the past.  Perhaps the closest we can come is envisioning a pause button as the label for a given “time t” that occurs as an event in a particular space at a specific time.  But as we know, within our physical framework, there is no pause button.  The arrow of time is always moving forward.  The instant we reflect on the present it becomes the past, and the future is the next moment in time.

So if identifying the present is nearly a fleeting impossibility, would we have the audacity to imagine a perfect moment in time?  Art Garfunkel believes we can, and who am I to disagree?

In chapter 30, p. 226, Professor Aguirre turns his attention to the thorny question of Theodicy, or why a designer would create a world of beauty such as ours while allowing for unimaginable levels of pervasive suffering.   This leads the good professor to contemplate the multiverse, and that the universe we inhabit is one among many – merely the one that is most inhabitable to us.  That thinking is in line with Leibniz, who imagined this to be the “best” universe not just in terms of good outweighing evil, but also as the simplest in hypotheses and the richest in phenomena.

Chapter 31, The Floating Gardens, prompted me to get even more whimsical than usual. From a biblical standpoint, and the Old Testament in particular, the most significant “uni-verse” is the first verse.  (Might we consider this a Cosmological “Cohen” as opposed to a “Koan”?)  It reads:  בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ

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בְּרֵאשִׁית – in the beginning.   The beginning of what?  Time would seem to be the essence.

בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים – God created.  The apparent conflict between “God” in the plural, and “created” in the singular.

אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ – The heavens and the earth.  Note the singularity of the earth and the multiplicity of the heavens, not to mention “the two aces”.

So by now you may be wondering, who is Katrina?  In chapter 50, p. 355, Professor Aguirre takes note of the host of dichotomies he has assailed us with:  Us and Them.  Self and Other.  East and West.  Katrina is a young woman in the service industry I encounter in her role as a barista at Starbucks in the morning and as a waitress at Martell’s Tiki Bar in the evening, a dichotomy in its own right.  She took an interest in what I was reading one morning – it was Cosmological Koans – which led to a conversation about East/West and the Yoga which got shoved down to the bottom of my bucket list.

Starbucks of course asks for your first name if you order anything but regular coffee.  Originally I gave my name as Len, but for some reason the baristas kept hearing “Glen”.  I got tired of correcting them, and so Glen I became for the purposes of my morning routine.  When Katrina waited on Miriam and me and at Martell’s, my “real” name came to the surface.  “If you’re Len, be Len” she said.  Sounds like a cosmological koan to me.

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Blog Yomi – Yevamos #108/Daf 109

We begin with the Mishnah at the bottom of דף ק״ח עמוּד ב:

הַמְגָרֵשׁ אֶת הָאִשָּׁה וְהֶחְזִירָהּ — מוּתֶּרֶת לַיָּבָם – With regard to one who divorces a woman and remarries her and then dies childless, his wife is permitted to enter into יִבּוּם with her yavam, except according to רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר who prohibits it.

וְכֵן הַמְגָרֵשׁ אֶת הַיְּתוֹמָה וְהֶחְזִירָהּ — מוּתֶּרֶת לַיָּבָם. וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אוֹסֵר – Likewise, with regard to one who divorces an orphaned minor girl whose mother and brothers married her off and remarries her and subsequently dies, she is permitted to enter into יִבּוּם with the yavam, except according to רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר who prohibits it.

קְטַנָּה שֶׁהִשִּׂיאָהּ אָבִיהָ, וְנִתְגָּרְשָׁה — כִּיתוֹמָה בְּחַיֵּי הָאָב. וְהֶחְזִירָהּ — דִּבְרֵי הַכֹּל אֲסוּרָה לַיָּבָם

A minor girl whose father married her off, in which case the marriage is valid by Torah law, and who was subsequently divorced while she was still a minor, is like an orphan during the lifetime of her father (יְתוֹמָה בְּחַיֵי הָאַב), as he no longer has the right to marry her off, and she cannot become fully married because she is a minor. And if the husband remarries her while she is still a minor and then dies childless, everyone agrees that she is forbidden to the yavam and may not enter into יִבּוּם.

See the source image

The Gemara begins with a cryptic quote from someone named עֵיפָה (Eifah). You won’t him listed in the ArtScroll Introduction to the Talmud’s personalities, nor is there any elaboration here of who he was:

אָמַר עֵיפָה: מַאי טַעְמָא דְּרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר — הוֹאִיל וְעָמְדָה עָלָיו שָׁעָה אַחַת בְּאִיסּוּרָא. אֲמַרוּ לֵיהּ רַבָּנַן לְעֵיפָה: אִי הָכִי, חֲלִיצָה נָמֵי לָא תִּיבְעֵי

After Eifah is challenged by the רַבָּנַן on his reason for why רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר took the stringent view in the Mishnah, he quickly backs down and decides that he doesn’t know the reason: אֶלָּא אָמַר עֵיפָה: רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר לָא יָדַעְנָא מַאי טַעְמָא. Abaye then offers his version of the basis for the opinion of רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר. And then of course wherever there is Abaye to offer an opinion, there is Rava to serve as the stone to sharpen his saw. They go back and forth before Rav Ashi steps in and opines:

רַב אָשֵׁי אָמַר: הַיְינוּ טַעְמָא דְּרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר, דְּגָזַר הָנֵי מִשּׁוּם יְתוֹמָה בְּחַיֵּי הָאָב וְהֶחְזִירָהּ. הָכִי נָמֵי מִסְתַּבְּרָא, מִדְּקָתָנֵי סֵיפָא: קְטַנָּה שֶׁהִשִּׂיאָהּ אָבִיהָ וְנִתְגָּרְשָׁה, כִּיתוֹמָה בְּחַיֵּי הָאָב. וְהֶחְזִירָהּ — דִּבְרֵי הַכֹּל שֶׁאֲסוּרָה לַיָּבָם

Rav Ashi said: This is the reasoning of Rabbi Elazar: He prohibits יִבּוּם with women who were divorced and remarried, due to the case of a girl who is considered an orphan in the lifetime of her father (יְתוֹמָה בְּחַיֵּי הָאָב), who was divorced by her husband and he subsequently remarried her. If a minor girl was married off by her father and was subsequently divorced, she is no longer subject to her father with regard to marriage and divorce, but because she is a minor, any marriage she enters into is by rabbinic rather than by Torah law. The Gemara comments: So too, this is reasonable based on what was taught in the latter clause of the mishna: A minor girl whose father married her off and who was subsequently divorced while she was still a minor, is like a יְתוֹמָה בְּחַיֵּי הָאָב. And if the husband remarries her while she is still a minor and then dies, everyone agrees that she is forbidden to the yavam and may not enter into יִבּוּם.

That seems too straightforward for the Gemara’s taste. It therefore concludes as follows:

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים — שֶׁגֵּירְשָׁהּ כְּשֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה וְהֶחְזִירָהּ כְּשֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה. אֲבָל גֵּירְשָׁהּ כְּשֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה וְהֶחְזִירָהּ כְּשֶׁהִיא גְּדוֹלָה, אִי נָמֵי הֶחְזִירָהּ כְּשֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה וְגָדְלָה אֶצְלוֹ וָמֵת — אוֹ חוֹלֶצֶת אוֹ מִתְיַיבֶּמֶת. מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אָמְרוּ: חוֹלֶצֶת וְלֹא מִתְיַיבֶּמֶת

In what case is this statement said? In a case where he divorced her while she was a minor and he remarried her while she was still a minor. But if he divorced her while she was a minor and remarried her when she was already an adult, or if he remarried her while she was a minor and she matured to legal adulthood while with him, and he subsequently died, she may either perform חַלִיצָה or יִבּוּם. It was said in the name of R’ Elazar: She must perform חַלִיצָה and may not enter into יִבּוּם, since he decreed that all remarried women may not enter into יִבּוּם due to the case of one who is like יְתוֹמָה בְּחַיֵּי הָאָב.

See the source image

The bottom line here, as ArtScroll notes, is that there are cases in which the divorcee of the deceased could legally be entitled to do יִבּוּם. But, because the public may not know the distinction is specific cases, R’ Elazar leaned toward the side of stringency to avoid misperceptions, and prohibited יִבּוּם with the divorcee of the deceased in all cases.

You know, we haven’t talked about צָרוֹת in a long time. As a reminder, צָרוֹת are rival co-wives. The Gemara asks:

בְּעָא מִינֵּיהּ רָבָא מֵרַב נַחְמָן: צָרָתָהּ, מַהוּ? אֲמַר לֵיהּ: הִיא גּוּפַהּ גְּזֵירָה, וַאֲנַן נֵיקוּם וְנִיגְזוֹר גְּזֵירָה לִגְזֵירָה

Rava asked Rav Naḥman: What is the halacha with regard to the rival wife of a girl whose husband remarried her, according to R’ Elazar? Is the girl regarded as a forbidden relative to the extent that even her צָרָה may not enter into יִבּוּם? He said to him: She herself is forbidden due to a rabbinic decree, as explained already. And will we then proceed to issue a decree to prevent violation of a decree? Accordingly, her צָרָה is permitted to enter into יִבּוּם. (Another reminder why multiple spouses create צָרוֹת.)

On to the next Mishnh, where we continue to “mix and match” cases:

שְׁנֵי אַחִין נְשׂוּאִין לִשְׁתֵּי אֲחָיוֹת קְטַנּוֹת, וּמֵת בַּעְלָהּ שֶׁל אַחַת מֵהֶן — הַלֵּזוּ תֵּצֵא מִשּׁוּם אֲחוֹת אִשָּׁה. וְכֵן שְׁתֵּי חֵרְשׁוֹת. גְּדוֹלָה וּקְטַנָּה, מֵת בַּעְלָהּ שֶׁל קְטַנָּה — תֵּצֵא הַקְּטַנָּה מִשּׁוּם אֲחוֹת אִשָּׁה

If two brothers are married to two minor sisters, and the husband of one of them dies childless, this widowed girl shall be exempt from יִבּוּם due to her status as a forbidden relative, as one is prohibited from marrying the sister of his wife. The same halacha applies to two deaf-mute women, whose status is like that of two minors in this matter, as their marriages are valid by rabbinic law. And if two brothers were married to two sisters, one of them an adult and the other a minor, and the husband of the minor dies, the minor shall leave due to her status as the sister of a wife, as in the first case in the Mishnah.

This is followed by more considerations about מִאוּן by a minor, when the need for a גֶט arises, and the many continued nuances of יְבָמוֹת. Rabbi Stern will take you the rest of the way.

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Blog Yomi – Yevamos #107/Daf 108

The most famous “אֵיזֶהוּ” is the opening of the third perek of Pirkei Avos which begins:

בֶּן זוֹמָא אוֹמֵר: אֵיזֶהוּ חָכָם, הַלּוֹמֵד מִכָּל אָדָם – Ben Zoma said, who is wise? Someone who learns from all men.

The most famous “אֵי זוֹ הִיא” is the opening of today’s Daf, a Mishnah toward the bottom of דף ק״ז עמוּד ב which begins with:

אֵי זוֹ הִיא קְטַנָּה שֶׁצְּרִיכָה לְמָאֵן — כֹּל שֶׁהִשִּׂיאוּהָ אִמָּהּ וְאַחֶיהָ לְדַעְתָּהּ – Who is a minor girl who needs to perform מִאוּן in order to annul her marriage? Any minor whose mother or brother married her off with her consent. הִשִּׂיאוּהָ שֶׁלֹּא לְדַעְתָּהּ — אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה לְמָאֵן – But if they married her off without her consent, there is no necessity for מִאוּן or formal refusal because she can walk away of her own volition at any time.

Understanding

At what age is a girl old enough to perform מִאוּן? When she reaches the age of understanding when can perceive the need or ability to keep documents for safekeeping, or mature enough to safeguard objects of קִידוּשִׁין such as a ring. If she does not yet have that level of understanding, she need not go through formal refusal to walk away:

רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בֶּן אַנְטִיגְנוֹס אוֹמֵר: כּל תִּינוֹקֶת שֶׁאֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה לִשְׁמוֹר קִידּוּשֶׁיהָ — אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה לְמָאֵן

The ArtScroll notes cite the Rambam who provides a more specific framework for the age requirement here regarding an arranged marriage. Under age six, מִאוּן is never required for the child to walk away regardless of the intellect of the child. Over age ten, מִאוּן is always required even if the girl if of poor intellect. Between the ages of six and ten the Rabbis assess her level of understanding, as noted above.

The Mishnah finishes with a series of statements that will explained further in the Gemara. Therefore, let’s jump right in.

אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה, וְאָמְרִי לַהּ בְּמַתְנִיתָא תָּנָא: בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה הָיוּ כּוֹתְבִין גֵּט מֵיאוּן: ״לָא רָעֵינָא בֵּיהּ וְלָא צָבֵינָא בֵּיהּ וְלֵית אֲנָא בָּעֲיָא לְהִתְנַסְבָא לֵיהּ״. כֵּיוָן דַּחֲזוֹ דִּנְפִישׁ דִּיבּוּרָא, אָמְרִי

Rav Yehuda said, and some say it was taught in a baraisa: At first, they would write a bill of refusal (גֵּט of מִאוּן) in this manner: I do not desire him, I do not want him, and I do not wish to be married to him. Once they saw that the text was too long, the Sages said let’s have a simpler document which stated: On Date X, Girl Y performed מֵיאוּן in our presence – ״בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי מֵיאֲנָה פְּלוֹנִית בַּת פְּלוֹנִי בְּאַנְפַּנָא״

What was the standard declaration made for מֵיאוּן?

תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: אֵי זֶהוּ מֵיאוּן? אָמְרָה: ״אִי אֶפְשִׁי בִּפְלוֹנִי בַּעְלִי״, ״אִי אֶפְשִׁי בְּקִידּוּשִׁין שֶׁקִּידְּשׁוּנִי אִמִּי וְאַחַי״

If she said: I do not want so-and-so as my husband, or: I do not want the קִידּוּשִׁין in which my mother and brothers had me betrothed.

Beyond the standard declaration, there are three other circumstances under which מֵיאוּן is valid, even though it might be counter-intuitive. This the Gemara refers to as “יָתֵר עַל כֵּן”, which literally means “even more than that”.

Circumstance #1

Once upon a time, in Brooklyn, there was a wedding hall named “The Aperion Manor” on Kings Highway. How did the hall get its name?

יָתֵר עַל כֵּן אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה: אֲפִילּוּ יוֹשֶׁבֶת בְּאַפִּרְיוֹן וְהוֹלֶכֶת מִבֵּית אָבִיהָ לְבֵית בַּעְלָהּ, וְאָמְרָה: ״אִי אֶפְשִׁי בִּפְלוֹנִי בַּעְלִי״ — זֶהוּ מֵיאוּן

Rabbi Yehuda said : Even if she is sitting in a bridal chair [aperion] going from her father’s house to her husband’s house and said along the way: I do not want so-and-so as my husband, this constitutes a refusal. As ArtScroll notes, the custom was that when a bride was led from her father’s home to her husband’s house, she was carried in a bridal litter or aperion, which was a covered couch carried by shafts.

The “bride” in the aperion here is a California mom celebrating her 12th wedding anniversary in Israel. Photo courtesy of Biblical Weddings

Circumstance #2

יָתֵר עַל כֵּן אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה: אֲפִילּוּ הָיוּ אוֹרְחִין מְסוּבִּין בְּבֵית בַּעְלָהּ וְהִיא עוֹמֶדֶת וּמַשְׁקָה עֲלֵיהֶם, וְאָמְרָה לָהֶם: ״אִי אֶפְשִׁי בִּפְלוֹנִי בַּעְלִי״ — הֲרֵי הוּא מֵיאוּן

Even if she’s serving guests in her husband’s house and says: “I don’t want this man to be my husband”, we accept that as מֵיאוּן.

Circumstance #3

יָתֵר עַל כֵּן אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בַּר יְהוּדָה: אֲפִילּוּ שִׁיגְּרָהּ בַּעְלָהּ אֵצֶל חֶנְוָנִי לְהָבִיא לוֹ חֵפֶץ מִשֶּׁלּוֹ, וְאָמְרָה: ״אִי אֶפְשִׁי בִּפְלוֹנִי בַּעְלִי״ — אֵין לְךָ מֵיאוּן גָּדוֹל מִזֶּה

If her husband has her go to the store on an errand for him, and she says to the shopkeeper that she doesn’t want to remain married to her husband, good enough for מֵיאוּן.

Next the Gemara cites a case in which מֵיאוּן is recognized even though the girl didn’t say anything. Basically, actions are louder than words:

אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל: הֲלָכָה כְּרַבִּי חֲנִינָא בֶּן אַנְטִיגְנוֹס. תָּנָא: קְטַנָּה שֶׁלֹּא מֵיאֲנָה, וְעָמְדָה וְנִשֵּׂאת, מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בֶּן בְּתִירָה אָמְרוּ: נִישּׂוּאֶיהָ הֵן הֵן מֵיאוּנֶיהָ

Perhaps there’s no better indication that she doesn’t want to be married to Husband A is that she walked off and married Husband B!

The Gemara continues with further considerations about מֵיאוּן, discussions that ensue regarding the status of the קְטַנָה, whether or not she can eat תְּרוּמָה (the ultimate filter), and of course when this could lead to mixed dancing.

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Blog Yomi – Yevamos #106/Daf 107

You won’t find the number 13 on an elevator, but we’re beginning פֶּרֶק י״ג in Yevamos and in its introduction ArtScroll notes that a woman cannot accept kiddushin on her own behalf and become married according to the Torah until she is an adult. However, her father can accept kiddushin on his minor daughter’s behalf, which is derived from the פָּסוּק in פַּרְשַׁת כִּי תֵצֵא which states: אֶת־בִּתִּ֗י נָתַ֜תִּי לָאִ֥ישׁ הַזֶּ֛ה לְאִשָּׁ֖ה. If she is divorced or widowed while still being a minor, he cannot marry her off again. So the father’s right is a one shot deal.

ArtScroll adds that in the interest of preventing the exploitation of fatherless girls for promiscuous purposes, the Rabbis instituted that the mother or adult brothers of an orphaned minor girls are empowered to be able to accept kiddushin on her behalf, essentially adopting the role of the father. This is another form of קִידוּשִׁין דְרַבָּנָן. While a minor, a girl at any time can declare her aversion to her husband and leave him without a גֶט through the process of refusal or “מִאוּן” which is essentially a retroactive annulment of the marriage. She can refuse a second marriage (מִאוּן) even while her father is still alive, and she is termed יְתוֹמָה בְּחַיֵי הָאַב because her marital status is the same as an orphan. מִאוּן is essentially a minor’s escape clause.

The Mishnah on דף ק״ז עמוּד א begins with what will basically be five areas of dispute between בֵּית שַׁמַּאי and בֵית הִלֵּל:

#1: בֵּית שַׁמַּאי אוֹמְרִים: אֵין מְמָאֲנִין אֶלָּא אֲרוּסוֹת, וּבֵית הִלֵּל אוֹמְרִים: אֲרוּסוֹת וּנְשׂוּאוֹת

בֵּית שַׁמַּאי is saying that מִאוּן applies only to קִידוּשִׁין (the preliminary stages of marriage) but not נִישׂוּאִין (after the marriage is consummated) but בֵית הִלֵּל says it applies to both.

See the source image

#2: בֵּית שַׁמַּאי אוֹמְרִים: בַּבַּעַל וְלֹא בַּיָּבָם, וּבֵית הִלֵּל אוֹמְרִים: בַּבַּעַל וּבַיָּבָם

בֵּית שַׁמַּאי is saying that מִאוּן may be directed only at her husband and not at her yavam. In such a situation, she must perform חַלִיצָה in order to dissolve the זִיקָה. But בֵית הִלֵּל says that מִאוּן may be directed at her husband or her yavam.

#3: בֵּית שַׁמַּאי אוֹמְרִים: בְּפָנָיו, וּבֵית הִלֵּל אוֹמְרִים: בְּפָנָיו וְשֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו

A difference of opinion on whether the husband has to be present or not in order for the קְטַנָה to declare מִאוּן.

#4: בֵּית שַׁמַּאי אוֹמְרִים: בְּבֵית דִּין. וּבֵית הִלֵּל אוֹמְרִים: בְּבֵית דִּין וְשֶׁלֹּא בְּבֵית דִּין

A difference of opinion on whether or not the מִאוּן has to be declared in court.

#5: אָמְרוּ לָהֶם בֵּית הִלֵּל לְבֵית שַׁמַּאי: מְמָאֶנֶת וְהִיא קְטַנָּה, אֲפִילּוּ אַרְבַּע וְחָמֵשׁ פְּעָמִים. אָמְרוּ לָהֶם בֵּית שַׁמַּאי: אֵין בְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל הֶפְקֵר, אֶלָּא מְמָאֶנֶת וּמַמְתֶּנֶת עַד שֶׁתַּגְדִּיל, וּתְמָאֵן, וְתִנָּשֵׂא

בֵּית הִלֵּל said to בֵית שַׁמַּא: She may refuse as long as she is a minor, even four or five times if her relatives married her off again to another man after each refusal. בֵּית שַׁמַּאי said to them: The בְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל are not to be treated with disregard and should not be passed from one man to another. Rather, she refuses once. And then she must wait until she reaches adulthood and refuse, and marry.

Now to the Gemara, which starts with a discussion of debate #1 above, and cites four reasons why בֵּית שַׁמַּאי says that a fully married קְטַנָה who has done נִישׂוּאִין cannot do מִאוּן:

a) אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל: מַאי טַעְמָא דְּבֵית שַׁמַּאי — לְפִי שֶׁאֵין תְּנַאי בְּנִשּׂוּאִין. וְאִי נְשׂוּאָה תְּמָאֵן, אָתֵי לְמֵימַר יֵשׁ תְּנַאי בְּנִשּׂוּאִין. Rav Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel that the reason בֵּית שַׁמַּאי says she can’t do מִאוּן is because there are no conditions (תְּנַאי) with regard to marriage. Although אֵירוּסִין can be conditional, the condition is nullified upon נִישׂוּאִין. Likewise, marriage cannot be conditional, as the sexual relationship is not subject to a תְּנַאי. And if a married minor girl could do מִאוּן, others may mistakenly think this to be a condition with regard to the marriage of an adult woman, and they will come to say that there can be a תְּנַאי with regard to marriage. The outcome after several back and forth volleys is that בֵּית הִלֵּל is not concerned that a תְּנַאי. remains in place after נִישׂוּאִין, as they know that the marriage of a minor is only recognized מִדְרַבָּנָן.

b) רַבָּה וְרַב יוֹסֵף דְּאָמְרִי תַּרְוַיְיהוּ: טַעְמָא דְּבֵית שַׁמַּאי, לְפִי שֶׁאֵין אָדָם עוֹשֶׂה בְּעִילָתוֹ בְּעִילַת זְנוּת. Rabba and Rav Yosef both say: Beis Shammai’s reason is that a man would not readily render his sexual act as promiscuous sexual intercourse. If he had intercourse with the minor girl and the marriage was later retroactively annulled by her מִאוּן, then his sexual act was outside the context of marriage and is regarded as זְנוּת. After some volleying, Beis Hillel indicates that they do not regard בִּיאָה under such circumstances as זְנוּת, so there is no stigma attached to having stood under the חוּפָּה with a girl who later does מִאוּן.

c) רַב פָּפָּא אָמַר: טַעְמָא דְּבֵית שַׁמַּאי מִשּׁוּם פֵּירֵי, טַעְמָא דְּבֵית הִלֵּל מִשּׁוּם פֵּירֵי. טַעְמָא דְּבֵית שַׁמַּאי מִשּׁוּם פֵּירֵי — דְּאִי אָמְרַתְּ נְשׂוּאָה תְּמָאֵן, שָׁמֵיט וְאָכֵיל לְהוּ מִינַּהּ, דְּסוֹף סוֹף לְמִיפַּק קָיְימָא. וּבֵית הִלֵּל: אַדְּרַבָּה, כֵּיוָן דְּאָמְרַתְּ תְּמָאֵן — אַשְׁבּוֹחֵי מַשְׁבַּח לְהוּ. סָבַר דְּאִי לָא, עָיְיצִי לַהּ קְרוֹבֵיהּ, וּמַפְּקִי לַהּ מִינֵּיהּ. The outcome here is that Beis Hillel says the husband thinks to himself: “Since she may do מִאוּן, he will seek to improve her property. He will think: if I do not do so, her relatives will advise her to do מִאוּן and they will take her from me.

d) רָבָא אָמַר: הַיְינוּ טַעְמָא דְּבֵית שַׁמַּאי — שֶׁאֵין אָדָם טוֹרֵחַ בִּסְעוּדָה וּמַפְסִידָהּ. וּבֵית הִלֵּל: תַּרְוַיְיהוּ נִיחָא לְהוּ, כְּדֵי דְּלִיפּוֹק עֲלַיְיהוּ קָלָא דְאִישׁוּת. Rashi points out that in Talmudic times, the goom’s family would prepare a wedding feast which would take place at the time of the נִישׂוּאִין. Beis Shammai holds that if מִאוּן was in play at the time of the נִישׂוּאִין, the husband would not not risk investing in the feast at the risk of the marriage being called off. But Beis Hillel says we’re not worried about. As long as they’re happy. set up the carving stations and enjoy!

See the source image

The Gemara then goes on to discuss debate issue #2 above, proceeding through #5. For coverage on that in detail, I leave you with Rabbi Stern’s video:

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Blog Yomi – Yevamos #105/Daf 106

We’re at the bottom of דף ק״ה עמוּד ב, discussing the final case with which the preceding Mishnah ended. As a reminder, that case was as follows:

וּמַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁחָלַץ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ בְּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִים, וּבָא מַעֲשֶׂה לִפְנֵי רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וְהִכְשִׁיר

There was an instance of חַלִיצָה occurring between a yavam and yevama in prison, and the matter came before R’ Akiva who affirmed its validity.

So our Gemara asks: בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ מִי יָדַעְנָא? אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל: וְעֵדִים רוֹאִין אוֹתוֹ מִבַּחוּץ

If the ceremony was just between the two of them, how can we take their word for it without any witnesses that it occurred? R’ Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel that witnesses viewing from the outside did see the event occur. (For example, through the fence of a courtyard.)

אִיבַּעְיָא לְהוּ: מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁחָלְצוּ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ אַבָּרַאי, וּבָא מַעֲשֶׂה לִפְנֵי רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא בְּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִין, אוֹ דִלְמָא: מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁחָלְצוּ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ בְּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִין? אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב: בְּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִין הָיָה מַעֲשֶׂה, וּלְבֵית הָאֲסוּרִין בָּא מַעֲשֶׂה

The Gemara then seeks to clarify: Did the incident in which they performed חַלִיצָה between him and her privately actually take place outside in a different locale, and the reference to prison is that the case came before R’ Akiva when he was confined in prison? Or, perhaps the incident when they performed חַלִיצָה between him and her took place in prison, and then this case came before R’ Akiva? Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav: The חַלִיצָה incident took place in prison, and also the case came to R’ Akiva when he was in prison.

Rabbi Stern shared the following תּוֹסָפוֹת here:

ובא מעשה לפני ר’ עקיבא בבית האסורין – וא”ת והא במתני’ משמע בהדיא שחלצה בבית האסורין דקתני מעשה שחלצה בינו לבינה בבית האסורין ובא מעשה לפני רבי עקיבא ויש לומר דבהרבה ספרים גרסי’ בא מעשה לפני ר’ עקיבא בלא וי”ו וקאי נמי בבית האסורין ארבי עקיבא ואם תאמר והיכי פשיט שהמעשה בא לפני רבי עקיבא בבית האסורין ולא בא אבראי ויש לומר דיודע הגמרא שבא לפניו בבית האסורין כדאמר בירושלמי רבי יוחנן הסנדלר עבר קומי חבושין דרבי עקיבא היה מכריז ואמר מאן בעי מחטין ומאן בעי צנורין חלצה בינו לבינה מהו אדיק ליה רישיה מן כוותיה אמר ליה אית לך כושין אית לך כשר

Some brief background here: The Romans imprisoned R’ Akiva in an attempt to stop him from teaching Torah to this students. It was therefore impossible to ask him questions openly, so his students adopted various guises to pose questions in code that he would decipher and to which he would respond. תּוֹסָפוֹת is citing the Yerushalmi version of Yevamos, דף ע עמוּד א, which relates the incident above as follows:

Rav Yochanan the Sandler disguised himself as a peddler and passed by the place in which R’ Akiva was incarcerated. He called out: “Does anyone need needles? Does anyone need knitting hooks? What if חַלִיצָה occurred when only he and she were present?” (Wow, you had to work hard to fool those Roman guards, didn’t you?) And R’ Akiva called back: “Do you have spindles? Do you have kosher?” From this we learn that his opinion was that the חַלִיצָה in question was kosher or valid.

Peter Alley

As an aside I can envision this from the days of my youth in the Logan section of Philadelphia, when peddlers would periodically walk narrow alleyways or passageways to sell various wares. And parenthetically, רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן הַסַנְדְלָר has quite a pedigree as documented in ArtScroll’s Introduction to the Talmud (page 340). It is believed that Rashi traced his family tree back to him, and thereby back to King David. He is buried in Meron (Israel) in the same area as R’ Shimon bar Yochai.

See the source image

It is entirely speculative that he has a descendant known as אָדָם הַסַנְדְלָר.

See the source image

The Gemara continues by stating that a “mistaken” chalitzah is valid: תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: חֲלִיצָה מוּטְעֵת — כְּשֵׁרָה

But what is considered a חֲלִיצָה מוּטְעֵת? It can’t be where he was duped into thinking that his חַלִיצָה was going to enable him to remain with the yevama, because we learned that חַלִיצָה requires kavana – an appreciation or understanding of the intent of the process. Rather the Gemara suggests that his acceptance of חַלִיצָה was conditional, based on being paid 200 zuz for agreeing to the process.

אֵי זוֹ הִיא חֲלִיצָה מוּטְעֵת — כֹּל שֶׁאוֹמְרִים: חֲלוֹץ לָהּ עַל מְנָת שֶׁתִּתֵּן לְךָ מָאתַיִם זוּז

On this Rashi comments:

על מנת שתתן לך מאתים זוז – ואע”ג דלא יהבא ליה חליצתה כשירה כדמפורש בכתובות בהמדיר (כתובות דף עד.) דכל תנאי מבני גד ובני ראובן גמרינן תנאה שאפשר להתנות על ידי שליח שעשה משה את יהושע שליח לתת להם את ארץ הגלעד הוי תנאיה תנאה וכל תנאי דלא אפשר לעשות על ידי שליח כגון חליצה אין תנאי מועיל בה וזהו טעמו של דבר

So even though the condition or תְּנַאי was not fulfilled, the action of חַלִיצָה is nevertheless valid.

The Gemara then relates: בַּת חֲמוּהּ, דְּרַב פָּפָּא נָפְלָה לִפְנֵי יָבָם שֶׁאֵין הָגוּן לָהּ. Rav Pappa’s sister-in-law fell in front of a yavam who was not suited to her. Rav Pappa said: אֲמַר לֵיהּ: חֲלוֹץ לָהּ עַל מְנָת שֶׁתִּתֵּן לְךָ מָאתַיִם זוּז. לְבָתַר דַּחֲלַץ לַהּ, אֲמַר לַהּ: זִיל הַב לֵיהּ. אֲמַר לֵיהּ: מְשַׁטָּה אֲנִי בָּךְ עֲבַדָה לֵיהּ. Let her perform חַלִיצָה on the condition that she will give you two hundred dinars. Convince him to allow חַלִיצָה on the basis that he will profit financially from it. Abaye told the yavam to do so and he did. After he let her perform חַלִיצָה, Abaye said to Rav Pappa’s sister-in-law: Go give him the money, for you have agreed to give him two hundred dinars. Rav Pappa said to Abaye on her behalf that a case of: I was fooling you, was what she did to him. She never seriously intended to give him the money when accepting his stipulated condition, and even though the חַלִיצָה is valid one cannot force her to pay.

See the source image

It is understandable that the Elders would do their best to insure yibum took place to protect the interests of the woman, ranging from having her financial needs to the personal, while perpetuating her husband’s name through her brother-in-law. At the same time, if it is recognized that the yavam and yevama would be incompatible spouses, the Elders have alot of latitude as noted above in trying to influence the yavam to break the nominal zikah bond through חַלִיצָה. It is universally acknowledged that a relationship that begins without shalom bayis is destined to be rocky if not a failure.

On that note I leave you with Rabbi Stern to take you to the end of the Perek.

הֲדַרַן עֲלָךְ מִצְוַת חֲלִיצָה

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Blog Yomi – Yevamos #104/Daf 105

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz is Torah Content Editor at the Orthodox Union. I thought you might enjoy his synopsis of the key components of חַלִיצָה, a succinct summary of some of what we’ve covered, and a sneak preview of what lies ahead,

The Chalitzah Process

Chalitzah is performed as follows: the yevama goes to the judges of the yavam’s city. They call the yavam and give him appropriate guidance for the situation. If the judges’ opinion is that this couple should perform yibum, they advise him to do so. If their opinion is that this couple should perform chalitzah, such as if one of the couple is much older than the other, then they advise him to perform chalitzah.

The judges must first determine where they will meet, and the woman performs chalitzah there in their presence. This is based on Deuteronomy 25:7, “His yevama will go to the gate, to the elders.” If the judges didn’t discuss the case or set a place to meet but the yavam and the yevama happened to run across them and perform chalitzah in their presence, the chalitzah is valid.

Learning the Chalitzah Text

The yevama and the yavam should be shown how to read until they are familiar with the requisite text. The yevama should be instructed to say “lo avah” (“he did not desire”) in one breath, followed by “yabmi” (“my yavam”) separately so she can’t be understood to have said “avah yabmi” (“my yavam desired”). If the yevama knows the text that she has to recite, we are not particular about her reading “lo avah” in one breath but if she’s not able, she is coached until she does so.

The Chalitzah Shoe

Chalitzah must be performed only by day and not at night, in front of at least three who know how to read. A convert may not serve as one of the three. Even one whose father was a convert and whose mother was born Jewish may not participate in a chalitzah. Both one’s father and mother must be born Jewish. It is a mitzvah for five to observe so that the chalitzah will be publicized; the additional two can be simple people.

Chalitzah is performed as follows: they bring a leather shoe that has a heel and is not sewn with linen thread. The yavam puts it on his right foot and ties the straps around his foot. The yavam and the yevama stand before the court. The text from Deuteronomy 25:7 – “My yavam refuses…” – is read in Hebrew and repeated by the yevama. Afterwards, text from verse 8 – “I don’t want to take her…” – is read and repeated by the yavam, who then presses his foot to the ground. The yevama sits, reaches out in front of the court, loosens the straps of the shoe, removes it and throws it on the ground. As soon as most of the shoe’s heel has been removed from the yavam’s foot, the yevama is eligible to marry someone else.

Spitting

Next, the yevama stands and spits on the ground in front of the yavam’s face so that it can be seen by the judges. Chalitzah requires that both parties stand when reciting their assigned parts and when she spits. The judges must see the saliva that she expectorates. Finally, the text from Deuteronomy 25:9-10 – “Thus shall be done to the one who doesn’t build up his brother’s house. His name shall be called in Israel ‘the house of the one whose shoe was removed’” – is read and repeated by the yevama.

Everything in the chalitzah ceremony must be recited in Hebrew. This is inferred from the word “thus” (v. 9), which is understood to mean “in this language.” Those seated around recite “the one whose shoe was removed” three times. The yevama must remove the shoe with intention and the yavam must have the intention that he is participating in the ceremony for her. They must do so with the intention that the ceremony is to free her for the purpose of marrying another man. A blind man can’t perform chalitzah since Deuteronomy 25:9 requires that the yevama “spit before his face” and he can’t see it.

About midway through דף ק״ה עמוּד א, the Gemara cites an exchange that includes another detail about spitting during חַלִיצָה. The exchange revolves around an individual named לֵוִי who our Bavli doesn’t give much information about, but Yerushalmi does as follows on דף ע עמוּד ב:

בְּנֵי סִימוֹנִייָא אָתוֹן לְגַבֵּי רִבִּי. אָֽמְרִין לֵיהּ. בְּעָא תִתֵּן לָן חַד בַּר נַשׁ דָּרִישׁ דַּייָן וַחַזָּן סַפָּר מַתְנַייָן וַעֲבַד לָן כָּל־צָרְכִינָן. וִיהַב לוֹן לֵוִי בַּר סִיסִי. עָשׂוּ לוֹ בֵימָה גְדוֹלָה וְהוֹשִׁיבוּהוּ עָלֶיהָ. אָתוֹן וְשָָׁאֲלוֹן לֵיהּ. הַגִּידֶּמֶת בְּמַה הִיא חוֹלֶצֶת. וְלֹא אַגִיבוֹן. רָקָה דָם. וְלֹא אַגִיבוֹן. אָֽמְרִין. דִּילְמָא דְּלֵית הוּא מָרֵי אוּלְפָּן. נִישְׁאוֹל לֵיהּ שָׁאֲלוֹן לֵיהּ דַּאֲגָדָה. אָתוֹן וְשָׁאֲלוֹן לֵיהּ. מַהוּ הָדֵין דִּכְתִיב אֲבָל אַגִּיד לְךָ אֶת הָרָשׁוּם בִּכְתַב אֱמֶת. אִם אֱמֶת לָמָּה רָשּׁוּם. וְאִם רָשּׁוּם לָמָּה אֱמֶת. וְלֹא אַגִיבוֹן. אָתוֹן לְגַבֵּי דְרִבִּי. אָֽמְרוּן לֵיהּ. הָדֵין פַּיְיסוּנָא דְּפַייְסַנְתָּךְ. אָמַר לוֹן. חַייֵכוֹן. בַּר נַשׁ דִּכְװָתִי יְהָבִית לְכוֹן. שָּׁלַח אַייְתִיתֵיהּ וּשְׁאַל לֵיהּ. אָמַר לֵיהּ. רָקָה דָם מַהוּ. אָמַר לֵיהּ. אִם יֵשׁ בּוֹ צַחְצוּחִית שֶׁלְּרוֹק כָּשֵּׁר. הַגִּידֶּמֶת בְּמַה הִיא חוֹלֶצֶת. אָמַר לֵיהּ. בְּשִׁינֶּיהָ. אָמַר לֵיהּ. מַהוּ הָדֵין דִּכְתִיב אֲבָל אַגִּיד לְךָ אֶת הָרָשׁוּם בִּכְתַב אֱמֶת. אִם אֱמֶת לָמָּה רָשּׁוּם. וְאִם רָשּׁוּם לָמָּה אֱמֶת. אָמַר לֵיהּ. עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִתְחַתֵּם גְּזַר דִּין רָשׁוּם. מִשֶּׁנִּתְחַתֵּם גְּזַר דִין אֱמֶת. אָמַר לֵיהּ. וְלָמָּה לֹא אַגִּיבְתִּינוֹן. אָמַר לֵיהּ. עָשׂוּ לִי בֵימָה גְדוֹלָה וְהוֹשִׁיבוּ אוֹתִי עָלֶיהָ וְטָפַח רוּחִי עָלַי. וְקָרָא עָלָיו אִם נָבַלְתָּ בְהִתְנַשֵּׂא וְאִם זַמּוֹתָ יַד לְפֶה. מִי גָרַם לְךָ לְהִתְנַבֵּל בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה. עַל שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאתָה בָהֶן עַצְמְךָ

The people of Simonia came to Rebbi and told him, please give us a man who preaches, judges, runs the synagogue, teaches reading, teaches Mishnah, and looks after all our needs. He gave them Levi bar Sisi. They made him a big platform and sat him on it. They came and asked him, how does a woman without a hand perform חַלִיצָה? He did not respond. They asked him what happens if she spat blood? He did not respond. They said, maybe he is not competent in studies, let us ask him in homiletics. Again, he didn’t respond. They came to Rebbi and asked him what kind of candidate he sent who couldn’t answer any of their questions. Rebbi said by your lives, I gave you one who is my equal! He sent for Levi who came before him and answered all the questions posed to him correctly. He asked him, and why did you not give the interview committee any answers? He said to him, they made me a big platform and sat me on it in front of the townspeople. I because haughty, which cause me to forgot all that I know.

The ArtScroll notes in Yerushalmi Yevamos state that the people of סִימוֹנִייָא wanted someone who could fulfill four roles, which were actually six broad functions:

  1. דָּרִישׁ – An orator – someone capable of delivering public discourses.
  2. דַּייָן – A judge – someone who could adjudicate their disputes.
  3. חַזָּן – someone to lead their prayers
  4. סַפָּר – a scribe
  5. מַתְנַייָן – someone to teach Mishnah
  6. וַעֲבַד לָן כָּל־צָרְכִינָן – someone to take care of all our communal needs

Yersushalmi Brachos recounts that upon his death, Levi bar Sisi was eulogized as having been like a single vine that would produced one hundred barrels of wine. This alludes to the fact that he was a single person who fulfilled many different roles in the community.

Abba bar Abba, a talmudic scholar distinguished for piety, benevolence, and learning. He is known chiefly through his son Samuel of Nehardea, principal of the Academy of Nehardea, and is nearly always referred to as “Samuel’s father.” Abba traveled to Palestine, where he collaborated with Judah haNasi, with whose pupil Levi bar Sisi he forged a close friendship. When Levi died, Abba delivered the funeral oration and glorified the memory of his deceased friend Levi (source: the Jewish Encyclopedia).

In addition to his scholarship, Levi was a bit of a character. The Gemara in Sukkah, דף נ״ג עמוּד א, relates: “לֵוִי הֲוָה מְטַיֵּיל קַמֵּיהּ דְּרַבִּי בְּתַמְנֵי סַכִּינֵי” – Levi would walk before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi juggling with eight knives. And in the same stretch of Gemara, this passage:

לֵוִי אַחְוִי קִידָּה קַמֵּיהּ דְּרַבִּי וְאִיטְּלַע. וְהָא גְּרַמָא לֵיהּ? וְהָאָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר: לְעוֹלָם אַל יָטִיחַ אָדָם דְּבָרִים כְּלַפֵּי מַעְלָה, שֶׁהֲרֵי אָדָם גָּדוֹל הֵטִיחַ דְּבָרִים כְּלַפֵּי מַעְלָה וְאִיטְּלַע, וּמַנּוּ — לֵוִי. הָא וְהָא גְּרַמָא לֵיהּ

The kohen prostrates himself on the ground. (Mordechai Persof/Midrasha L’ad Hamikdash)

Kidda is the full extension in which the Kohen prostrates himself on the ground during the Yom Kippur service. Levi demonstrated a kidda before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and strained his thigh and came up lame. The Gemara asks: Are you sure that is what caused him to be lame? But didn’t R’ Elazar say that one should never speak impertinently toward G-d and this is what causes one to become lame? In fact, he cited Levi as an example: Once a great person once spoke impertinently toward G-d, and even though his prayers were answered, he was still punished and came up lame. And who was this great person? It was Levi. Apparently his condition was not caused by his bow. The Gemara answers: There is no contradiction. For both reasons he came up lame; because he spoke impertinently toward G-d, he therefore was injured when exerting himself in demonstrating the kidda.

Nice to have this aggadah interlude, and I turn you back over now to Rabbi Stern to finish today’s Daf.

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Blog Yomi – Yevamos #103/Daf 104

We’re up to the Mishnah on דף ק״ד עמוּד א, which makes a declarative statement about two other components of the חַלִיצָה, one regarding the time of day during which it is to be conducted and the second regarding which foot of the yavam is to be used for the shoe:

חָלְצָה בַּלַּיְלָה — חֲלִיצָתָהּ כְּשֵׁרָה, וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר פּוֹסֵל. בִּשְׂמֹאל — חֲלִיצָתָהּ פְּסוּלָה, וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר מַכְשִׁיר

Preferably the ceremony is performed during the day, and the right (presumably dominant) foot/calf is used.

Why the difference of opinion about the acceptability of doing it during the daytime or evening?

לֵימָא בְּהָא קָמִיפַּלְגִי: דְּמָר סָבַר מַקְּשִׁינַן רִיבִים לִנְגָעִים, וּמָר סָבַר לָא מַקְּשִׁינַן רִיבִים לִנְגָעִים

Rabbi Elazar, holds that we compare the halachos governing monetary disputes, which category includes חַלִיצָה, as חַלִיצָה carries with it monetary ramifications and requires payment of the marriage contract to the yevama, with the halachos of leprosy. Just as leprosy cases are judged only during the day (Parshas Tazria 13:14 – וּבְי֨וֹם הֵרָא֥וֹת בּ֛וֹ בָּשָׂ֥ר חַ֖י יִטְמָֽא), likewise, monetary cases may take place only during the day. And one Sage, the first tanna, holds that we do not compare monetary disputes with leprosy.

לָא: דְּכוּלֵּי עָלְמָא לָא מַקְּשִׁינַן רִיבִים לִנְגָעִים, דְּאִי מַקְּשִׁינַן — אֲפִילּוּ גְּמַר דִּין בַּלַּיְלָה נָמֵי לָא, וְהָכָא בְּהָא קָמִיפַּלְגִי: מָר סָבַר: חֲלִיצָה כִּתְחִלַּת דִּין דָּמְיָא, וּמָר סָבַר: חֲלִיצָה כִּגְמַר דִּין דָּמְיָא

The Gemara responds: No, everyone holds that we do not compare monetary disputes with leprosy, for if we would compare them fully, then even delivering the verdict of the court case could not be done at night, but it is permitted to complete monetary judgments and deliver the verdict at night, provided the proceedings began during the day. And here, with respect to performing חַלִיצָה at night they disagree about this issue: One Sage, Rabbi Elazar, holds that חַלִיצָה is considered like the commencement of judgment of monetary cases, and one Sage, the first tanna, holds that חַלִיצָה is considered like the verdict of a monetary judgment, and therefore it may also be conducted at night.

As you can see, in some communities even to this day as rare as it is, it can be a very public ceremony.

Let’s Zoom ahead to the next Mishnah: חָלְצָה וְרָקְקָה, אֲבָל לֹא קָרְאָה — חֲלִיצָתָהּ כְּשֵׁרָה. קָרְאָה וְרָקְקָה, אֲבָל לֹא חָלְצָה — חֲלִיצָתָהּ פְּסוּלָה. חָלְצָה וְקָרְאָה, אֲבָל לֹא רָקְקָה — רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר: חֲלִיצָתָהּ פְּסוּלָה, רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר: חֲלִיצָתָהּ כְּשֵׁרָה

There are three components to the חַלִיצָה ceremony:

  1. The חַלִיצָה itself which is the tying and then the throwing of the shoe
  2. The רָקְקָה which is the spitting which has to be done in view of the yavam
  3. The קְרִיָאָה which is the declaration in accordance to a standard script

Let’s review the derivation of this from the Torah again:

וְקָֽרְאוּ־ל֥וֹ זִקְנֵי־עִיר֖וֹ וְדִבְּר֣וּ אֵלָ֑יו וְעָמַ֣ד וְאָמַ֔ר לֹ֥א חָפַ֖צְתִּי לְקַחְתָּֽהּ

After the Elders of the City talk to the yavam, and he holds fast in his refusal to marry the yevama, the three components of the process occur:

וְנִגְּשָׁ֨ה יְבִמְתּ֣וֹ אֵלָיו֮ לְעֵינֵ֣י הַזְּקֵנִים֒ וְחָלְצָ֤ה נַעֲלוֹ֙ מֵעַ֣ל רַגְל֔וֹ וְיָרְקָ֖ה בְּפָנָ֑יו וְעָֽנְתָה֙ וְאָ֣מְרָ֔ה כָּ֚כָה יֵעָשֶׂ֣ה לָאִ֔ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־יִבְנֶ֖ה אֶת־בֵּ֥ית אָחִֽיו

The Mishnah cites, and the Gemara will elaborate on a dispute over what happens if only one or two of the three components of the process occurs. The Mishnah then continues:

אָמַר רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר: ״כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה״ — כּל דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא מַעֲשֶׂה מְעַכֵּב. אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא: מִשָּׁם רְאָיָה? ״כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה לָאִישׁ״ — כּל דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא מַעֲשֶׂה בָּאִישׁ

As an aside, if that phrase sounds familiar, we find it again in Megillas Esther, when she sets up Haman for the ride of his life:

וְנָת֨וֹן הַלְּב֜וּשׁ וְהַסּ֗וּס עַל־יַד־אִ֞ישׁ מִשָּׂרֵ֤י הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ הַֽפַּרְתְּמִ֔ים וְהִלְבִּ֙ישׁוּ֙ אֶת־הָאִ֔ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֥ר הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ חָפֵ֣ץ בִּֽיקָר֑וֹ וְהִרְכִּיבֻ֤הוּ עַל־הַסּוּס֙ בִּרְח֣וֹב הָעִ֔יר וְקָרְא֣וּ לְפָנָ֔יו כָּ֚כָה יֵעָשֶׂ֣ה לָאִ֔ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֥ר הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ חָפֵ֥ץ בִּיקָרֽוֹ

The question then becomes what constitutes action. Although the קְרִיָאָה part of the ceremony is the easiest to digest because it unequivocally states what is happening, it is not technically an action. What then to make of the actions themselves? You may find the comments on the Mi Yodeya Stack Exchange insightful in this regard.

Mi Yodeya

Permit me to quote: “So the simplest idea is that in the times of the Torah, the generally preferred approach was for him to marry her. If he chose not to, he would be publicly shamed. (Now in many cases such a marriage really would not be the best idea, but the Torah says do this procedure in all cases.) The Sforno notes the next topic in the Chumash is payment for embarrassing someone: we can shame people in specific cases for specific purposes, as warranted by the Torah; but that doesn’t mean we can shame anyone willy-nilly.

Now what is the significance of the shoe and the spitting? The spitting seems to be ‘ptooey, I’m disgusted that you didn’t do the right thing.’ As for the shoe:

  • Little Midrash Says quotes Chinuch: The widow says:I would have been willing to be your good obedient wife and even take your shoes off, but you wouldn’t marry me. Ptooey.
    • Not politically correct today. The Chizkuni offers this answer, and says ‘this is the one you give to heretics.’ Check your local non-Orthodox heretic, I guess…
  • Chizkuni’s other answer, which I would gladly give anyone today; also in the Rashbam, described as “simple and natural”:In Biblical times (see Ruth 4:7), the transaction of an estate was executed by one party handing the other party his shoe. Here the brother forfeits his involvement in his dead brother’s memory, thus the widow takes the shoe — she can now marry whomever she wants. Or perhaps, ‘usually in a transaction one person gives the other person his shoe. You won’t even do that; fine, you just sit there and I’ll take it off myself. Ptooey.’
  • Malbim mentions there are all sorts of kabbalistic things going on here, but that it can also be understood intellectually. Rather than reduce this to a soundbite, I’ll paraphrase only slightly:… man differs from animals not in his speech, as some birds speak; not in his intelligence, as many animals are quite intelligent; but in his free will, and ability to apply his intellect to the task of his choosing, even if his nature isn’t inclined towards it. The Gemara (Shabbos 152a) states the a king goes atop a horse, a free man atop a donkey, and a human being atop shoes; a king has dominion over thousands of people, most notably their lives in time of war; a free man has dominion over enterprise; and all human beings have a piece of dead animal that separates themselves from the earth that formed them and informs their natures, as free will allows them to rise above it. The exception is if the ground is holy, as it was for Moses at the Burning Bush, Joshua on his approach to the Jordan, or the priests in the Temple, then they go barefoot, with no separation between them and the earth [furthermore, in such cases, we surrender our will to that of G-d]. In the Biblical transaction of handing over one’s shoe, the message was: I mortgage my human dignity on this transaction; and I shall exercise my will and do everything in my power to see it through. In the case of Yibum, the Torah itself felt it worthwhile to make an exception to the ban on marrying a brother-in-law. Torah going against its own ‘nature’, so to speak. And yet this fellow keeps describing himself, and being described by others, as ‘I don’t WANT to do this’; he could exercise free will, but he’s just going to do whatever he wants. His sister-in-law therefore removes his shoe — you never act beyond your basic wants? You shouldn’t be wearing this.”

The Mishnah finishes with considerations about disqualifications of individuals involved in the process:

הַחֵרֵשׁ שֶׁנֶּחְלַץ, וְהַחֵרֶשֶׁת שֶׁחָלְצָה, וְחוֹלֶצֶת לְקָטָן — חֲלִיצָתָהּ פְּסוּלָה. קְטַנָּה שֶׁחָלְצָה — תַּחְלוֹץ מִשֶּׁתַּגְדִּיל, וְאִם לֹא חָלְצָה — חֲלִיצָתָהּ פְּסוּלָה. חָלְצָה בִּשְׁנַיִם אוֹ בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה, וְנִמְצָא אֶחָד מֵהֶן קָרוֹב אוֹ פָּסוּל — חֲלִיצָתָהּ פְּסוּלָה. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן וְרַבִּי יוֹחָנָן הַסַּנְדְּלָר מַכְשִׁירִין. וּמַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁחָלַץ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ בְּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִים, וּבָא מַעֲשֶׂה לִפְנֵי רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וְהִכְשִׁיר

If a deaf-mute man underwent חַלִיצָה, or a deaf-mute woman performed חַלִיצָה, or if an adult woman performs חַלִיצָה with a male minor, her חַלִיצָה is invalid and the woman may not marry. If a female minor performed חַלִיצָה, she must perform חַלִיצָה a second time once she becomes an adult, and if she does not perform the second חַלִיצָה, her first חַלִיצָה is invalid. If she performed חַלִיצָה before two or three judges and one of them is found to be a relative or disqualified as a judge for some other reason, her חַלִיצָה is invalid. R’ Shimon and R’ Yocḥanan the Cobbler say everything is peachy, and validate the חַלִיצָה in this case. (Listen, if you can’t trust a סַנְדְלָר about a process involving a shoe, who can you trust?). An incident occurred involving a certain person who performed חַלִיצָה between him and her alone in prison, i.e., not in the presence of others, and the case came before Rabbi Akiva and he validated it.

All this is elaborated in the Gemara, for which Rabbi Stern will take you the rest of the way.

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Norm Macdonald – Something Special

After battling leukemia privately for nine years (he quipped in 2011 that he disliked when people used the term “battling” in conjunction wth cancer, implying that those who survived were somehow more heroic than those who didn’t), comedian Norm Macdonald died last September at the age of 61.

Before his death, Norm recorded a Netflix comedy set in his home that is now out, titled: “Nothing Special”. There’s an oxymoron if you’ve ever heard one. Although Chevy Chase was the originator of blatantly Fake News on Saturday Night Live, Norm put his unique imprimatur on the segment which popularized his wit and intellect. That deadpan voice. The perfectly timed comedic pauses. The frequently punctuated rhetorical “you know” in that Canadian lilt.

See the source image

It figures that it would be a Grimm writer informing us about Norm’s bittersweet final set appearing posthumously as the Netflix Nothing Special: “In one take, he goes through a typically nutty set of his observational humor. It’s delivered in that strange Norm MacDonald style that combines intelligent asides with intentional ignorance, such as when he purposefully mispronounces words or routinely plays stupid on things in which he’s obviously schooled. It’s his shtick, and it was always a winning shtick.”

When learning of Norm’s passing, Dave (formerly David) Letterman tweeted: “Always up to something, never certain until his matter-of-face delivery leveled you/I was always delighted by his bizarre mind and earnest gaze”. It was fitting that Norm would be among the final guests on Letterman’s Late Night Show, as he credits Dave for being the motivating force behind his going into comedy in the first place. It was a brilliant and emotional set, showing how special he truly was.

One of Macdonald’s last appearances before his death was on his YouTube show, “Quarantined with Norm Macdonald,” in an episode featuring special guest Roseanne Barr. It was a bittersweet reunion with Barr, for whom he was a comedy writer, and at the end of the segment musing about coronavirus he drops in the last lines of the TS Eliot poem The Hollow Men with perfectly timed pregnant pauses:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

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Blog Yomi – Yevamos #102/Daf 103

Today I’m going to switch things up a bit and give you Rabbi Stern’s Zoom video shiur first as the core of the Daf, supplementing it with several observations.

We’re dwelling heavily on the nature of the shoe used for חַלִיצָה, and a concise resource in that regard is the Jewish Encyclopedia. From it we are reminded that the shoe, which is usually the property of the community, is brought forth and examined as to its cleanliness and construction, in accordance with the precepts of the law.

The חַלִיצָה shoe is made entirely of leather, usually from the skin of a clean animal. It consists of two pieces, the upper part and the sole, sewed together with leather threads. Three small straps are attached to the front of the shoe, each of which has a knot (“ḥumrata”) at the top to fit a hole made on the other side of the shoe. Two white leather straps are attached to either side of the shoe, by which it is fastened to the leg.

The חַלִיצָה shoe resembles a shoe that was common at the time of the Gemara, and is similar to ancient Roman shoes. In the 19th century, the חַלִיצָה shoe was described as a shoe made of corduan leather. The upper and the sole were sewn with a white leather strap, and straps were attached to each side of the shoe, also white and of unequal length. The shoe also had three wide straps with incisions on the right and three somewhat narrower straps with buttons on the left. When putting on the shoe, these three buttons were attached to the foot, then the long white strap was looped three times around the calf and tied with the short white strap to form a loose loop, which was then loosened during the ritual.

The yavam must have his primary foot (usually the right), on which the shoe is placed, washed very scrupulously, and after he has strapped it on he must walk four cubits in the presence of the judges. The complete Seder Hachalitza is found in the back of Shulchan Oruch Even Ha’ezer, and nicely summarized here by Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber.

The Gemara addresses what to do in the case that the yavam is an amputee, or has other alterations in anatomy that might call for customization of how the חַלִיצָה shoe is applied. Again, I’ll leave you to review Rabbi Stern’s video to work through those particulars.

You may have noticed that the leather straps of the חַלִיצָה shoe are mindful of the leather straps of the תְּפִילִין. If you”re wondering about that, you might enjoy this post from Chabakuk Elisha on Chalitza & Tefillin. I’ll excerpt key parts for you:

“In Sefer Bereishis when Avraham Avinu defeated the five kings, Avraham was offered the spoils of war by the King of Sodom. Avraham, though, rejected the offer and instead said, “Not even one shoe-strap will I take.” That is to say: Wealth and power are not the focus of life – you keep it; you are concerned with things like power and money. They are your gods. My G-d will send me all the wealth I need. Avraham merely requests the lives of his family members, and to recover what was invested in the battle. Chazal tell us that in the merit of the leather “straps” that Avraham refused to take, Avraham merited the mitzvos of tefillin straps and chalitza straps …

So, here we see the connection between tefillin straps and shoe straps. Just as a widow is able to go from a state of restriction in her choice of marriage partners to total freedom of choice through the straps of chalitza, Avraham Avinu was able to go from subservience to money to total independence of man by not accepting the booty from the King of Sodom and thus merit the straps of tefillin.”

Clearly there is tremendous symbolism operative in the חַלִיצָה process, with the construction, placement, removal, and flinging of the shoe all meant to convey the willful decision of the yavam not to marry his sister-in-law, and the emancipation proclamation of the yevama. The context of this is explored in a jewel of a book by Edna Nahshon, who adds cultural and anthropological tones to the discussion.

Lorne Rozovsky echoed this theme in an article titled Jews and Shoes published on chabad.org. He writes:

“The widow declares that her brother-in-law refuses to marry her, and he confirms it as directed in Deuteronomy (25:7 and 9). She then places her left hand on his calf, undoes the laces with her right hand, removes the shoe from his foot, throws it to the ground, and spits on the ground in front of him. The beth din then recites the formula releasing all obligations.

The shoe is a symbol of the transaction. This tradition is part of the color and romance of Jewish tradition and life. It is also part of the spiritual tradition. The Kabbalists describe the body as “the shoe of the soul.” Just as shoes protect feet from the dirt, so too does the soul require the body as a shoe to protect it during its journey in the physical world.”

I’ll finish with one interesting historical tidbit that the Gemara mentions in one of its digressions signaled by a “תָּא שְׁמַע” at the bottom of דף ק״ג עמוּד א. It involves an incident between a Jewish heroine named Yael and an evil man named Sisera (סִיסְרָא), and is somewhat mindful of Esther and her role in Jewish history. While the Gemara cites it for an anatomy lesson, I relate it here because it champions the ultimate power of women.

File:Jacopo Amigoni 002.jpg

The key reference to Yael is in the book of שׁוֹפְטִים:

וְהִנֵּ֣ה בָרָק֮ רֹדֵ֣ף אֶת־סִֽיסְרָא֒ וַתֵּצֵ֤א יָעֵל֙ לִקְרָאת֔וֹ וַתֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ לֵ֣ךְ וְאַרְאֶ֔ךָּ אֶת־הָאִ֖ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּ֣ה מְבַקֵּ֑שׁ וַיָּבֹ֣א אֵלֶ֔יהָ וְהִנֵּ֤ה סִֽיסְרָא֙ נֹפֵ֣ל מֵ֔ת וְהַיָּתֵ֖ד בְּרַקָּתֽוֹ׃

וַיַּכְנַ֤ע אֱלֹהִים֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא אֵ֖ת יָבִ֣ין מֶֽלֶךְ־כְּנָ֑עַן לִפְנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

וַתֵּ֜לֶךְ יַ֤ד בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ הָל֣וֹךְ וְקָשָׁ֔ה עַ֖ל יָבִ֣ין מֶלֶךְ־כְּנָ֑עַן עַ֚ד אֲשֶׁ֣ר הִכְרִ֔יתוּ אֵ֖ת יָבִ֥ין מֶלֶךְ־כְּנָֽעַן׃

This is followed by a song written by the נְבִיאָה Devorah in tribute to her:

Extolled above women be Yael,
Extolled above women in the tent.
He asked for water, she gave him milk;
She brought him cream in a lordly dish.
She stretched forth her hand to the nail,
Her right hand to the workman’s hammer,
And she smote Sisera; she crushed his head,
She crashed through and transfixed his temples.

For more information about the fascinating role of Yael, a righteous convert in the mold of רוּת, please read the entry on her in the Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women.

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Blog Yomi – Yevamos #101/Daf 102

We begin on דף ק״ב עמוּד א, seven lines from the top, continuing with the particulars of the חַלִיצָה process, their participants and judges, and the signature accoutrement of the laced soft leather sandal:

אָמַר רַבָּה אָמַר רַב כָּהֲנָא אָמַר רַב: אִם יָבֹא אֵלִיָּהוּ וְיֹאמַר: ״חוֹלְצִין בְּמִנְעָל״ — שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. ״אֵין חוֹלְצִין בְּסַנְדָּל״ — אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ, שֶׁכְּבָר נָהֲגוּ הָעָם בְּסַנְדָּל

See the source image

Rabba said that Rav Kahana said that Rav said: If אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָבִיא should come and say: One may perform חַלִיצָה using a soft leather shoe (מִנְעָל), the Rabbis would listen to him. But if he says: One may not perform חַלִיצָה using a hard leather sandal, they would not listen to him, for the people already have established the practice of performing חַלִיצָה using a sandal.

וְרַב יוֹסֵף אָמַר רַב כָּהֲנָא אָמַר רַב: אִם יָבֹא אֵלִיָּהוּ וְיֹאמַר: ״אֵין חוֹלְצִין בְּמִנְעָל״ — שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. ״אֵין חוֹלְצִין בְּסַנְדָּל״ — אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ, שֶׁכְּבָר נָהֲגוּ הָעָם בְּסַנְדָּל

Rav Yosef said that Rav Kahana told him something different in the hame of Rav: If אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָבִיא should come and say: One may not perform חַלִיצָה using a soft leather shoe, the Rabbis would listen to him. But if he says: One may not perform חַלִיצָה using a hard leather sandal, they would not listen to him, for the people already have established the practice of performing חַלִיצָה using a sandal.

What’s the difference between these two versions? מַאי בֵּינַיְיהוּ? אִיכָּא בֵּינַיְיהוּ מִנְעָל לְכַתְּחִלָּה – Rabba says until אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָבִיא comes (there may be some scheduling delays around Pesach Seder time), you can use a soft leather shoe לְכַתְּחִלָּה. Rav Yosef says it should be a hard leather shoe לְכַתְּחִלָּה until until אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָבִיא comes and teaches us otherwise.

From the website of the Kedem Auction House:

Image description

Several halachic details pertaining to this shoe: a shoe stitched with linen cannot be used for חַלִיצָה and according to majority of “Rishonim” all the shoe’s stitches and laces must be made of leather [therefore, buttonholes and hooks are made of leather]. The shoe must fit the foot tightly and not be tattered [i. e., it must wrap the foot well and not be easily removed]; therefore tying straps are added. The shoe itself must be made of black leather and tying straps of white leather. The shoe should be crafted to fit the right foot [to prevent mistakenly removing shoe from left foot]. Each Beis Din must own a חַלִיצָה shoe and it is one of the objects which “Dayanim” must possess. The shoe must belong to brother of deceased childless husband and Beis Din grants him the shoe as a gift which he later returns. In fact, a חַלִיצָה shoe is rare, since very few “Batei Din” deal with חַלִיצָה whose laws are numerous and complex.
The halachic tradition of craftsmanship of a חַלִיצָה shoe provides an authentic historical source of preserving the structure of shoes as crafted and stitched during period of the Mishnah and earlier. There is an elaborate set of photos of it in our picture book on pages 295 and 296.

The Gemara then discusses the act of חַלִיצָה itself. By the way, Wikipedia, of all places has a very nice review of the chalitzah process, and WebShas has an overview of the construction of the shoe itself. The yevama herself must remove the shoe, and there is discussion in the Gemara about the validity of the act if she damaged the shoe in the process.

Warning: don’t play the Steve Martin two minute YouTube audio clip below if you are easily offended. It is from his 1978 album, A Wild & Crazy Guy, featuring a character based on a series of Saturday Night Live sketches in which Martin and Dan Aykroyd played the Festrunk Brothers, Yortuk and Georgi who were bumbling Czechoslovak would-be playboys.

My intent in including here is certainly not to be sacrilegious, but to note that the first time I heard Martin do “I break with thee, I break with thee, I break with thee” in conjunction with the shoe routine I couldn’t help but think that he was somehow, directly or indirectly, exposed by someone to the chalitzah process.

In any event, that was comic relief, and I leave you now in the hands of Rabbi Stern to review the serious side of the Gemara.

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The Right To Assemble Is Not Absolute

On June 6th, the Mayor of our beautiful town, Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, Paul Kanitra posted a 9:27 video on his facebook page indicating his intent to take pre-emptive legal action against planners of a “pop-up party” on June 18.

See the source image

The “Beach Linkup Pt. 1” occurred in Long Branch, a shore town about 30 minutes North of us, last month. There were about 5,000 individuals who gathered not, as Mayor Kanitra put it, for a nice steak dinner and the views, but intent on creating chaos that they could brag about on TikTok and other social media outlets.

The chaos last month in Long Branch, during which had the makings of a riot, was a repeat of the civil disruption that occurred the previous year in the same town.

But this goes further back to the preceding June, 2020, when a similar pop-up event on Point Pleasant Beach saw rowdy party-gatherers treat the beach, Mayor Kanitra put it, “like a toilet”, twerking, urinating, smoking pot, fist-fighting, boozing it up, and strewing trash around with abandon. It attracted media attention because in the midst of controversy about social distancing, our state’s Governor downplayed its significance.

On his Instagram account,”percc30dick” posted:

There will be no beach party June 18th or 19th‼️‼️‼️ anybody in attendance may be prosecuted & have to answer to the law . I take no responsibility in the event of any gathering, everybody stay home‼️‼️ This is a serious matter don’t take it lightly

“tygoat1” posted:

“They know niggas still going they not letting this stop nobody fr 😂😂. We get it perc not trying to get locked up so let him be. AND THE PARTY MUST CONTINUE 😈”

And “itaintzah” chimed in: “Y’all can get together just don’t act like fools 🤷‍♂️ y’all have the right to assembly”

Well here’s a news flash for “itaintzah”, and all others who parade around signs about the “right to assemble” and abuse the privilege. Kindly read the actual text of the First Amendment. It states the following:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Let me repeat that for emphasis: the right of the people peaceably to assemble.

I understand that it may be difficult for people to agree on what it means to peaceably assemble, or assemble peacefully. So perhaps it might be easier to consider the flip side. What constitutes disturbance of the peace? On that I suspect we’d gain more agreement.

Thankfully we’re not as bad as Ocean City, NJ, a shore town about 75 miles to the south of us not far from Atlantic City. Unruly teens roam the boardwalk at night, with no concern about disturbing the peace, fueled by lax underage drinking and marijuana laws once again relaxed by a Governor who somehow fails to grasp the problem here.

Kudos to our Mayor Paul Kanitra, who was successful in getting a Superior Court judge to issue an injunction ordering a group of people to stop organizing unauthorized “pop-up” parties in Point Pleasant Beach. Today the Mayor posted the following on his facebook page:

“Yesterday, I attended a court hearing where Point Pleasant Beach successfully obtained an injunction against most of the “Pop Up Party” organizers and promoters. In addition, we have sent expensive Borough ordinance violations out for breaking our local rules and regulations. As a result, multiple cancellations have been issued by “promoters”. We believe we have headed off this insanity as much as possible. That all said, we are still totally prepared for any situation tomorrow in case anyone attempts to test our resolve. This morning, I went on PIX 11 to explain the situation and highlight the drastic need for the state to deincentivize this behavior and help towns up and down our Shore from ever having to deal with this again. Finally, I will personally be on the boardwalk and in our Police substation all day tomorrow to both monitor the situation and welcome all the families that come up to enjoy our great town!”

A Superior Court judge has issued an injunction ordering a group of people to stop organizing unauthorized "pop-up" parties in Point Pleasant Beach.
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