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August 20, 1965 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-08-20

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Weekly Jewish Quiz

Is it true that some Jewish
weddings in Europe were per-
formed on the cemetery, and if
so, why?
This was done in some European
communities only for a specific
purpose, i.e. when a plague befell
the community, in order to halt it.
The reasoning behind this practice
is traced to a verse in the Penta-
teuch (Numbers 17:13) where the
Bible tells us how a plague was
stopped when Aaron, the High
Priest, "stood between the dead
and the living; and the plague
was stayed." Some explain this
further by saying that marriage is
a means of bringing life into the
world, while death is the process
by which it is ended. The two
powers are brought face to face
with each other on the cemetery
and the rabbi, acting like the High
Priest Aaron of old, stands be-
tween them, giving added weight
to the force of life, and thus life
wins over death. Others say that
it is not perhaps the rabbi but the
couple themselves who serve as the
influence to end the evil plague
which had befallen the community.
A couple, on their marriage day,
are forgiven with all their sins and
thus their confrontation with the
presence of death on the cemetery
is angelic and overpowering, bring-
ing victory to life over death.
Naturally, the bride and bride-
groom were selected from the poor-
est families—usually orphans who
would not find it easy to marry
without the financial support of.
the wealthy members of the corn-
munity who contributed to their
dowry, for the sake of averting the
plague. This, of course, brings a
third rationale into the picture, in:
sofar as the marriage made pos-
sible by kind contributions demon-
strates the charitable nature of the-
community which is a source of
grace in the eyes of the Almighty,
thus serving as a means of bring-
ing about His mercy in ending the
Why does Jewish law prohibit
a Jew from tattooing his skin?
This is expressly outlawed in the
Bible (Leviticus 19:28). Two lines
of reasoning are advanced in ex-
plaining • this prohibition. First,
such used to be the practice of
idolators. Secondly, this practice
destroys part of one's skin and
effaces the "image of God" which
man is supposed to represent. The
preservation of one's body is a
cardinal principle of the Jewish
faith, as is the preservation of
ones' self as God's image.
Why is it customary to look
at one's fingernails when pro-
nouncing the benediction over
the Havdalah candle on Satur-

day night?

It is customary to derive some
benefit or use out of an object to
serve as the purpose for making
a benediction over it. Thus, one
looks at his fingernails after mak-
ing the benediction over the Hav-
dalah candle so as to exemplify
that he is making use of the
candle to differentiate between his
finger and his fingernail, one be-
ing lighter in color than the other
—a difference which is discernible
to the eye only by the use of light.
Some claim that one looks at his
fingernails at this occasion be-
cause one's fingernails continue to
grow throughout one's lifetime and
their growth is a symbol of man's
blessings upon this earth sym-
bolized by the characteristic of
growth. Others contend that the
fingernails symbolize man's orig-
inal state when he was created en-
tirely covered by a coat of that
material. After his sin, this protec-
tive coat was removed from him
save for the nails on his fingers
and toes. According to this opinion,
looking at one's nails reminds him
of his original creation by the
hands of the Almighty. Some
claim that it was the lines of one's
palm that the custom required to
look at—these lines being discern-
ible only by a close light and, ac-
cording to some writers, having
something to do with his fortune.
It is also claimed that the lines on
one's palms being of different

lengths and going in different di-
rections, indicate the individuality

of mankind and make men learn to
appreciate the differences among
humans which should serve as
sources of interest in each other
rather than sources of prejudice

towards each other.
In accordance with one Mid-
rashic source (Pirke D'Rabbi Elie-

zer, Chapter 20) one looks at his
fingernails only if one has no
wine. Otherwise one can display .
the use of the light by merely
looking at the wine.
Why is the blessing over the
candle made at the exit of the
Sabbath and not at the exit of
a festival, except where the last
day of the festival occurs on the

The blessing over the candle is
made only after a day on which
it is forbidden to use fire. This
is only related to the Sabbath or
to Yom Kippur (the Day of Atone-
ment). On a festival, which does
not occur on the Sabbath, it is per-
mitted to cook for one's needs on
that day and thus one may light
a fire even on the festival itself,
so that lighting a candle or a fire
after the festival is not an act

which was heretofore prohibited.
On Saturday night, lighting a can-

dle is of special significance since
it was at the beginning of creation,
which Saturday night symbolizes,
that light, as such, was created.
Why is it required to keep the
feet together facing straight
ahead in a sort of military stance
while reciting the main body of
the prayers (i.e. the Shmonah
Esreh- — the eighteen benedic-
The rabbis (Berakoth 10a) have
derived this from the biblical
description of the angles who of-
fered their son in service to the
Almighty. The basic purpose seems
to be one of creating a feeling of
reverence and awe, since one is
required to visualize himself in
the presence of the Almighty Him-
self when offering his prayers.
Since one would stand at such a
fixed posture of attention before
a higher authority in the army one
certainly owes this same respect to
the highest authority of them all—
the Divine creator to whom we
offer our prayers. There are some
who think that these practices were
initiated so as to prevent one from
thinking that he offers his pray-
er through any intermediary and
to convince him that he has direct
access to the Almighty.
Why is it that for two of the
first benedictions and two of the


(Copyright, 1965, JTA,

latter benedictions of this prayer
one bows and then straightens
up at once?
When pronouncing the formula
"Blessed Art Thou 0 Lord . . . "
one bows for the expression "Bless-
er art Thou" and then one straight-
ens up when ready to pronounce
the Almighty's name. (Berakoth
12a). Some consider this a means
of approaching the Almighty—
where one proceeds in due humility
and then experiences a full con-
frontation. Others have suggested
that this approach spells out the
dual and somewhat paradoxical na-
ture of the Almighty. On the one
hand he is constantly at the side
of every individual—soothing them
in their cares and enhancing their
joys in life. Also, on the one hand
we approach Him wtih fear and
trembling because of His omnipo-
tence. On the other hand we gen-
erate a feeling of confidence in
our hearts because of His Mercy.
It has also been suggested that be-
cause of this dual role of the
Creator, the benedictions employ
both the direct sound person pro-
noun, as well as they use the third
person, i.e. Thou, 0 Lord—ruler of
the universe . . . " thus presenting
a strange synthesis of nearness as
well as remoteness as a synopsis
of our faith in the Almighty.

Silver Torah Crowns Taken From King David's Tomb

opened an investigation into the
mysterious disappearance of two
large silver Torah Crowns from the
tomb of King David on Mount Zion
in Jerusalem.
The Torah Crowns, which were
found missing after Tisha B'Av
services last Sunday, are the big-
gest and most valuable of the 17
usually adorning the Torah Scrolls
of the Tomb.
This is the first time in Israel
that anything has been stolen from

TORONTO (JTA)—Francis Car
dinal Spellman, Archbishop of New
York, predicted here that the final
session of the Ecumenical Council
at the Vatican, opening Sept. 14,
will approve the draft declaration
on Jews without dilution, and that
it was "a practical certainty" that
the-declaration will be promulgated
by Pope Paul VI.
There have been recurrent ru-
mors, from the time the draft was
first presented to the second ses-
sion of the Vatican Council, that it
would be either dropped or diluted.

10—Friday, August 20, 1965


Since 1934
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DI 2-1600
2 Blocks
E. of Meyers

Invites Members, Friends and Neighbors



Tickets Available for Members, Sunday, August 22 to 29
Non-Members, after August 29
Evenings, 7:00 to 9:00—Sunday Mornings, 9:00 to 11:00
UN 1-7691
UN 4-9776

The Congregation of


Once again invites the Jewish Community residing in our
vicinity to join us in worship for the coming High Holidays,
and the year 'round.

Proud of our contribution to the spiritual welfare of the
community for over half a century, we pledge the Detroit
community that the Synagogue will remain under the
present management and directorship.

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Available at the Office, Daily


to 8 p.m. or Call:

UN 4-0982 or UN 2-9731

We Wish the Entire Community a Good and Healthy Year

HYMAN KARP, President




(Direct JTA Teletype Wire
to The Jewish News)

Cardinal Spellman Predicts
Approval of Draft on Jews

Typewriter Co.


Arab States Contribute
to New Dam Designed
to Divert Jordan River

LONDON—Iraq has paid Jordan
750,000 pounds sterling ($2,100,000
towards the construction of the
Mukheida Dam, scheduled to begin
next month, as part of the plan to
divert the waters of the Jordan
River, it was reported Tuesday by
the London Times from Amman.
According to the report, Jordan
received a joint contribution of
11,000,000 pounds sterling ($30,-
800,000) from other Arab states.
An Egyptian company has been
awarded the contract to construct
the dam at a cost of 11,500,000
pounds sterling ($32,200,000.

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Minister Reports Plans
for Beersheba Industries

dustrial plants which will provide
jobs for 1,000 workers are in the
advanced planning stage for com-
merce and industry in Beersheeba,
Haim Zadok, minister of commerce
and industry, reported in Beer-
He said that the new enter-
prises are in the fields of textiles,
printing, furniture and metalwork.
Zadok, who participated in a meet-
ing of the Beersheba Municipal
Council, said his ministry would
judge any projected enterprise on
its merits, and not give prefer-
ence to enterprise sponsored by His-
tadrut, Israel's labor federation.
A school for watchmaking in Jer-
usalem with teachers and technical
material to be provided by Switzer-
land will be started soon, Jean de
Stoutz, the Swiss ambassador to Is-
rael, disclosed. Location of the
school and the construction will be
handled by the Israel Labor Min-
istry. Graduates of the proposed
three-year course will be given
diplomas as qualified watchmakers.

the tomb of King David. A wide

search for the stolen crowns has
been initiated by the police author-

at the Synagogue, 8100 W. 7 Mile at Greenlawn

Southfield Branch: and the John F. Kennedy School Branch

Mt. Vernon, Between Greenfield and Southfield


Primary Grades — Sunday Only

Elementary Grades-


3 Times Weekly Incl. Sunday

Jr. High and Consecration —


Twice Weekly

For Complete Information

Come Visit with Us in Synagogue Office

Seven Mile Rd. W. at Greenlawn

or Call — UNiversity 1-6696

Israel I. Halpern,

Dr. Robert Schlaff

Dr. Martin J. Tatelbaum—Director of Education






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