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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Getting started in S.T.a.M

Hi,

I'm very new to this but intend to start learning S.T.a.M.  I have some questions to help get me started:

1) A very nice man, and I assume well respected, suggested I purchase the Mishnah Berurah English/Hebrew and start reading Tefillin chapter 32 to get started.  I'll be purchasing a paper copy, rather than the CD.  I found a large set at eichlers.com for $399.  a) is this a good price?  b) and is this a good place to start?  (This is a lot of money for me, but not outrageously so.  I just can't afford to spend money like this if there are better options.)

2) I'm a Conservative Convert.  (Long story, but I have little choice in the matter.  I'll become Orthodox whenever the opportunity arises.)  In the mean time, I assume it is not permitted for me to write Torah, Mezuzah, and Tefillin.  What can I write?  A Megillah?  Ketubot?  Also, if I write solely for myself, could I write S.T.a.M. for my own use?  Though I have already purchased, and had checked, all twelve Mezuzot that I need at the moment, the question occurred to me, and I know I'll be needing more some time in the future (I own a second house that I'm considering putting Mezuzot on, but am unsure at the moment, as non-Jews will be living in it; plus, I like to have some spares so I can put those up when I send the installed ones out for checking.

Elad/Dale

P.S.  I corrected the price from $299 to $399--finger glitch.

18 comments:

  1. Dale,

    Thank you for your post. At this point in your life I think given your strong interest in Judaism that purchasing a copy of the Mishnah Berurah with an English translation could be very helpful for you particularly as you intend to pursue a kosher conversion, that is one in accordance with Jewish Law, in the future.

    However, as this has not happened yet, you are not obligated in Torah and Mitzvos and therefor not kosher to write any articles of STaM. If you did begin to write mezuzos even if you used kosher materials and followed every halachah they would still be invalid and fit only to be buried in a genizah. I would strongly encourage you to set aside your interest in Safrus until such a time as you are able to undergo a kosher conversion and undertake proper instruction in this area from a qualified teacher.

    You may of course choose to do otherwise, but it is my hope that you will buy the Mishnah Berurah for yourself and take the laws you learn there to heart.

    Best Regards,

    Benyomin

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    1. I refuse to write intentionally pasul STa''M, I know that much. (I had hoped, though, that I was able to at least write for myself.) Reading the Mishnah will keep me occupied and I can start practicing on items, such as ketubot, that I am able to write.

      Thank you very much

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  2. Elad, the writing of ketubot are both rewarding and enjoyable, I would start there for now.

    To study the Mishnah brurah is fine too, but you don't need to buy the whole set, only the one volume that has chapter 32 in it. Eichlers in generally a good source.

    Good luck!

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    1. My wife will be happier with just one volume. I didn't think of that.

      Do you know of any books that address writing ketubot? I've never looked before.

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  3. With all due respect, you do not need any Mezuzot at this time. The Orthodox perspective is that a "Conservative Convert" is not a convert at all. It is not at all the same as a Jew (or Bona Fide convert) conducting himself according to the Conservative Jewish tradition.

    At the point that your Orthodox conversion takes place, you will be embraced by us with love, reverence and appreciation, like family.

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    1. btw there are poskim that hold that a conservative ger should be considered jewish LECHUMRA

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    2. After Ruth was turned away three times and her devotion remained, Naomi accepted her completely. I've been turned away far, far, far, more times than Naomi. Though I haven't lost my spouse, I'm like Ruth in that I'm comparatively poor and don't have the financial ability means to do whatever I choose with regards to persuing an Orthodox conversion. All that I can do is to be observant as I can in light of the situation.

      The other part is that I've obligated myself to a Beit Din of Jews, one whom is a Kohen, to follow a Jewish lifestyle as a Jew--nobody mentioned "Conservative Jew", just Jew. What this means to you may be different than what it means to me. I not only obligated myself, but I did so in writing in front of three Rabbis. You will, perhaps, disagree. Nonetheless, my obligation is to G-d and I'll not renounce it under any circumstance. Better would be to allow me to "finish converting" to Orthodox. But no, I'm not rich enough for that (my perspective). Sorry, but my obligation remains. Those who are not present when my wife and I observe Shabbot as we're required to, shouldn't say much about it. Nobody else was here when I said the blessing to install these mezuzot, and the people that say such things were not there during my hatofat dam brit, mikvah, nor the beit din. Nor were they there when an "Orthodox Rabbi" counted his 5 or 6 year old son for a minyan, but refused to acknowledge me.

      But G-d is before me always. To H-m I take care not to offend, and to observe H-s mitzvah as H- commanded us.

      Shalom.

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    3. Mendela,

      Thanks for the information. I'll look into this more. I've been at this my whole adult life to various extents. May G-d keep you and bless you.

      I doubt this will solve everything, but if it helps in any way, I count it as a blessing. I'll be going to Chicago in March--three days to be immersed in the Jewish life (mostly Jewish food!--my wife and I keep kosher, and we have to do everything ourselves!). I intend to attempt to contact an Orthodox Rabbi while I'm there. Maybe I'll happen across one one day that has answers.

      Again, thanks.

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    6. Sorry, but I'm not trying to be controversial, but I've heard a lot! of what I can't do, but few if any, about what I can. Again, I apologize if I sound that way. It is a little like those people who sit on the couch and yell at ball players on the TV about what they "should" do. Quite different being on the playing field, being yelled at. :)

      Shalom.

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  4. hello Elad,
    My name is Rabbi Moshe Weiner
    email moishebaz@gmail.com

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  5. You should ask rabbi moshe weiner but i think writing ketubot might be hard considering the fact that i think some rabanim hold your not aloud having errasing marks but you could start writting an eshes chayil till your experienced enought to write a kesuvah

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    1. I'll ask him. Sounds like it might be a better solution too. Thank you very much for this. I couldn't find an example real quick on the net. Do you have a photo of one?

      A related question. Do I have to copy from a "tikkun"/tanach, or some such for this? Can I type up Proverbs 31 on the computer, print it out, then copy from that? Or better to ask Rabbi?

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    2. I'll ask him. Sounds like it might be a better solution too. Thank you very much for this. I couldn't find an example real quick on the net. Do you have a photo of one?

      A related question. Do I have to copy from a "tikkun"/tanach, or some such for this? Can I type up Proverbs 31 on the computer, print it out, then copy from that? Or better to ask Rabbi?

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    3. you can copy from tanach but it will be challenging because they do not measure out the same lines for you if you give me an email at aaronrabino@gmail.com i can give you a tikun and instructions

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