Ketubah Question

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Ask the Rabbi: Wedding Daze: Irregular Ketubah Question

Dear Rabbi Simon,

I hope you are doing well.  I wanted your advice about the following question.
My younger sister is getting married soon (overseas).  Sadly, her fiancé is not Jewish. Nevertheless, she wanted a ketubah (marriage contract) signing and asked me to be one of the witnesses.  I wanted to ask you whether it would be appropriate for me to do this or if I should tell her that I can’t.
Many thanks,

Dear Ayelet,

This is not the kind of question which rabbis relish, but there you have it.
Although your sister presumably sees the ketubah and your participation in it as a way of adding Jewish features to her wedding and marriage, I cannot recommend your involvement as a signatory. You need to tread a path between showing support and love for your sister on the one hand and formally endorsing this (Jewishly illicit) union on the other. Signing her ketubah strays too far from this path. If you are to give a speech at the wedding you should avoid conventional expression of approbation and celebration such as “mazal tov”. Of course you can wish the couple happiness and good health, etc. Again, you will have to tread carefully.
At the same time, you must consider this: your sister’s choice of a husband is born of love (I am presuming), not out of rebellion (as you have confirmed). Moreover, the children born of this union will be Jewish, and your sister’s relationship with her Judaism will be a crucial factor in their prospects for their own Jewish identity and even upbringing. For this reason I would apply here the words of the Talmud (Sota 47a), “push away with the left hand and draw near with the right.”
I hope this is helpful.

Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Easy as א-ב-ג?
Dear Rabbi Simon,
I hope you fasted well yesterday.
Thank you for the insights into the Kinnot, making them easier to understand.
In the afternoon, I was listening to a shiur on Eichah on Torahanytime.  As an aside, the speaker mentioned that the 1st perek of Eichah is the source for the order of the alef bet as we know it.  Other chapters also follow the alef bet chronology but with ayin en peh interchanged.
He quoted Rabbi Shimon Schwab as his source.
Although he did not elaborate on this, surely Sefer Tehillim predates Megillat Eichah by centuries.  Several psalms are written in the alef bet order (e.g.
psalm 119).
Can you please clarify?
Thank you & best wishes.
PhilippeHi Philippe
TY for your sophisticated Q.
I have also heard that the question of the sequence of samekh and 'ayin is subject to dispute. It seems that there are indications that in Paleo-Hebrew the order is reversed from what we know. It is alleged that chapters 2, 3 and 4 of Eichah (chapter 5 is not alphabetical) reflect the original order. Of course, as you say, ch 1 conforms to the order with which we are family.
You are right that Tehillim predates Eichah, however a critic can claim that the order was redacted to bring it in line with the accepted/preferred sequence. This is particularly true for ch. 119, where each of the 8 vv per letter are their own group, and each set of 8 vv. can easily be repositioned. The question is in Ps. 34 or 145, if the internal logic of the passage sheds light on the correct sequence. In Ps. 34, some claim that the v. starting with the letter peh makes more sense to follow the verse starting with samekh (due to the common appearance of the word ra'). I am not convinced that this argument is compelling.
I will stick with the mesorah, that 'ayin belongs before peh. Best to look before speaking.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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