Individual Postings 1st appeared(& were copied in html form) on the Email List Mail Jewish

From: rhendel@king.mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Tue, 27 Aug 1996 13:29:10 -0400 Subject: New Year Socializing: A preparation for the Mitzvah of Marriage I am responding to the rich variety of postings on whether members of the opposite sex should socialize on Rosh Hashana on tashlich. My answer is simple. It should be encouraged. Marriage is a Mitzvah. What better time to meet people then by a religious symbolic ceremony making us new and refreshed. Certainly people who go to Movies and bars might find this a welcome switch!! Furthermore, if say a boy and girl had a falling out or a misunderstanding what better time to make up. How then do I account for those occasional acharonim who prohibit because of the excesses of Socializing?? Simple. Let me give you an analogy. My mother once told me that she had stopped going to one of the nearby Mikvah's in our neighborhood because "there was too much socializing" when people met there (have you seen so and so etc). It was too gossippy so she went to a more distant mikvah. Now my mother was NOT giving a Pesak not to go to Mikvahs. She was personally assessing a situation and acting on it. In a similar manner if a particular rabbi sees that IN HIS congregation people are too gossipy at Tashlich and more harm is being done than good and he can't stop it then HE might try to prohibit Tashlich. In other words Tashlich prohibitions MUST be perceived as HORATH SHAaH in a particular situation. It cannot however be imagined that any Rav would try and stop people from socializing for marriage. In a similar vein one person posted on the fact that Beith Yaakov girls who say good shabbos to someone in the street get a bad reputation. This is news to me. But again any such policy must be regarded as temporary with a particular girl and boy involved. Indeed saying Hello is so important that I can interrupt Kriath Shema to return a greeting! In fact it would seem to me that abstaining from returning a greeting would violate the Biblical law of Onaah --hurting someone elses feelings. The underlying theme in these two comments is the same: A biblical commandment cannot be set aside because of some vague "atmosphere" goal of Tzniuth. Thus the commandment of marriage encourages people to talk during Tashlich (except if a community misuses this) and similarly the prohibition of Onaah obligates Beth yaakov girls to say good shabbos (unless the boys in the community are so hyper that even a good shabbos leads to "sinful responses" a possiblity that I really dismiss as unlikely). I conclude by noting that the Rambam in his great introduction to his commentary on Pikay Avoth---the so called "eight chapters" which discuss Jewish views on psychology-- clearly states that a person who is momentarily not on the "middle road" has the right to abstain from permissable things (such as socializing during tashlich and saying good shabbos) BUT ONLY till he returns to normal. I believe that this "temporary" concept will spread sufficient light on the occasional strigencies we see in Tzniuth to prevent us from getting entangled in unacceptable practices. With this in mind I wish a happy new year to all Jewish singles and hope they meet their bashert a few weekends from now! Just think of the great Kiddush Hashem if a MJ discussion could lead to breaking a bad trend and to many couples getting married! Russell Jay Hendel,Ph.d, ASA, rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu