Minutes of the Agura Convention Halachic Plenary session – May 2010
Isru Chag Shushan Purim Torah by Shlomo Cohen
Several of the world’s leading Poskim formed the panel for this session headed by Moreinu HaRav HaGaon Issusschar Henoch Tzvi Hirsh Aryeh Leib HaCohen Katzenoodlemeister Shlita (Some might remember him as Iggy from his Yeshiva days.). As the session got under way it became apparent that the assembled Rabbonim and Lay leaders had one major burning issue requiring the tact, diplomacy and expertise of the panel. There was a clarion call for decisive, immediate action in an area fraught with dissension and divisiveness.
After a short prologue in which the parameters of the Minhag were established, Moreinu HaRav HaGaon Issusschar Henoch Tzvi Hirsh Aryeh Leib HaCohen Katzenoodlemeister Shlita (Iggy) proceeded to take questions from the floor. Here are the proceedings:
“Lichvod HaRoshei Yeshiva, Rabbonim and esteemed guests. Fargiv mein reden nor in Yiddish because mein Anglish is not so ay-yi-yi. Der Choshuva bizniz vus mir hut to explainin’ is zeyer complicateeren un shver, De ganser velt daf visin vas tzu tuen in yeder shul ven mir hut a chuson bie his Aufruf. In freedika doros de veiber hut gemacht peklach fuhn candy and nuts to flingin’ at der choson fuhn behind der mechitza far brucha un mazel. Zey hut getossed der pecklach gently mit hechere kavunes.
Yetz mir hert az di menner hut gechapt di z’chus avec fun der ladies un zay huben a streng trowin’ arm fun playin a soch bazebal un besketbul instead of lernin like dey are suppoze to. Zey plop demselfes toich daled amos fun di Bima un attempt tzu maim der poor Chuson. Yetz mir ken nisht huben an aufruf unless Hatzala is shtendin’ by tzu brengen der bleck un blue chuson to der emoigency ruhm far Musaf. Fun dos vegen, mir darf reden vegen dis issue tzu decidin’ how tzu proceedin’. Der penel is open to qveshtions.”
An instant clamor revealed a similar trend in the first few questions:
“Are we Yotzei the Minhag L’chol HaDayos if;
– the pecklach are thrown K’l’acher yad? Tshuva: Overhand, underhand, right hand, left hand; siz altz kusher v’yusher.
– They are thrown Shelo K’Darka? Tshuva: Shtate b’fairush “Beaning she’lo K’darka shmay beaning.”
– Do richochet shots count? Tshuva: Yah, Shueh.
– After a peckle hits the floor, may it be picked up and thrown again? Tshuva: This is a question of double jeopardy. Permitted in halacha but prohibited in American jurisprudence, thus, Dina D’malchusa Dina. In Eretz Yisroel it is permitted.
– They are bigger than a korbon Chatas? Tshuva: As long as it can be thrown over the Gabbai.
Question:What are the minimum and maximum Shiurim for size, weight and density? Tshuva; Minimally, there must be at least two Minim at least the size of the Rebbitzen’s knaidle. Density and weight may never exceed that knaidle because of Sakanas Nifashos. Maximally, Daled Minim as learned from a Gezeiras HaKasuv from Lulav. Those who follow the Chazon Ish quadruple all amounts. They are not concerned with Sakana since they learn out “Yaharog..kill him…V’al Ya’avor…but do not pass over (the opportunity to do this Mitzva.) There is no maximal size to a pekle. Recently, in our Shul, several young men recently tried tossing a SUV filled with candy at the Chusen. It didn’t quite reach the Chusen but when it landed all the air bags popped blowing out candy in all directions. Boys will be boys!
Question; L’chatchila what may, or may not be in the pecklach? Tshuva; There is an inverse statistical proportion based on the chusen’s popularity. For some reason the better he is liked the bigger, harder and more fiercely thrown are the pecklach. Stale popcorn is asur D’orysa. There is a strange minhag brought down frequently. Its true import has been forgotten. There are those that maintain that “ tossed sofrim” refers to the contents of the peckle, although we’ve forgotten what these ‘sofrim’ are. Others maintain it is some kind of middle eastern salad . Sadists usually pack 4 hard candies, 3 Brazil nuts and a paperweight in a glass bottle.
Question; What is the nearest from which a peckle can be thrown? Tshuva; How good is your deodorant?
Question; Are sharp edges on the wrapper kosher? Tshuva: This question involves the Dinnim of Charif. Charif is not botul. Al Tikri Botul ella B’Tal (with dew) that is to say, to shower gently, so sharp edges are prohibited.
Question: How should the peckle be tied? Tshuva: Pink ribbon may never be used as it is an ayin hara and the satan might think this is the kalla. Sefardim use a single daled knot, Ashkenazim prefer the double daled knot. Mekubalim tie a full tzitzis.
Der kasha fun the kovidiga Rav Of Kehilas Anshei Milchama in Dublin. “Thank you, Iggy. As you know, Ireland is divided north and south. Of course, the shul faces east. That leaves the congregation facing the Shulchan from either side of the shul, that is, half the congregation faces north, the other half south. During an aufruf, as the pecklach begin to fly, our congregants tend to forget about the chuson and, instead, heave the peklach at each other, north against the south shouting stuff like “Erin go Braugh”. The Chief Rabbi of Great Britain has tried to intercede but when he comes in all the peklach are aimed at him. What should we do?”
Tshuva; Say Yikum Purkan quickly and have the Rabbi start his drasha. Within 45 seconds everyone should be asleep.
Question: Are future mothers-in-law permitted to throw at the Chusen? Tshuva: This depends on how many shadchanim she needed to speak with, how many new dresses and hairdos she had to buy for her daughter and how long she had to wait before her princess finally, finally became engaged. There is a mathematical formula used to determine her eligibility to throw. Of course, if the Chusen is a doctor, lawyer or accountant she’d be a fool to throw anyway.
Question: This is a Choshen Mishpat Sheilah asked by Reb Elia Bradybunch.
“My son threw a peckle at his friend Shmulig during his Aufruf. Nebech, my son is a nerd who can’t throw straight, you shouldn’t know from such tzuris. He missed the Chusen and hit the Ba’al Koreh who just had $12,500 worth of orthodontics done. The Ba’al Koreh is suing my son for the money. Can we Taiyna that the Ba’al Koreh should have had enough sense to duck? After all, for $12,500 his orthondontist must be a quack! ” Tshuva; This must be a new Ba’al Koreh as anyone who has been on the job awhile knows better. The Ba’al Koreh may not sue your son but may sue his Layning teacher for malpractice.
Question: Can the chusen sue for damages? Tshuva; If he can’t take the punishment he shouldn’t be getting married in the first place. The reason for the Minhag is to get him accustomed to pain before the chupa.
Question: “We invited our goyish business partners, our goyish maid and goyish gardener to the Aufruf. If they threw pecklach is the Aufruf still valid?” Tshuva; Yes, unless prior to throwing they mumble anything about Baal, Merkus, Thor Zeus etc. If they mumble after throwing the pecklach are Tahor b’dieved.
Question: If a man made a neder not to throw pecklach and then changes his mind, does he require hatoras nedorim? Tshuva: One cannot make a neder on a Judaic requirement. We do recommend a visit to a therapist.
Question: A father is remarrying. May his sons from a previous marriage throw pecklach at him? Is this Kavod or does it constitute hitting one’s father? Tshuva: Kuvid schmuvid. It may not be Kuvid Av, but is is Kuvid AIM. This is the only kosher nikama a child has other than wrapping his father’s Lexus around a lamppost.
Question: Mistakenly, some Pecklach were put together using traif candy. B’dieved were we Yotzay? Tshuva; Lifnay eever lo sitein michshol. Even if the gabbai tells people not to eat the candy, do you think anybody ever listens?
Question: “We are a poor family. May we collect Pecklach from previous Aufrufs and re-use them?” Tshuva; Absolutely. In fact, it is a mitzva min ha’muvchar to use a mitzva item for another mitzva. As we stated elsewhere, stale popcorn must be replaced.
Question: “My youngest son is the champion Peckle collector in our Shul. He gets so many that he can’t carry them all so he pays several other boys to protect his stash. May they accept recompense for work done on Shabbos?” Tshuva: If he gives Ma’aser from his stash to the poor family in the last question we can matir the whole deal.
Question: “I don’t use the Eruv. The pecklach were brought to Shul on Shabbos within the Eruv. May I partake in the throwing?” Tshuva: Everywhere other than Flatbush. One may not risk being put into cherem and endangering shidduchim for one’s children merely for the transient pleasure of maiming another human being.
Question: My kalla made the pecklach. It wasn’t until I regained consciousness after the Chuppa that I realized she had used her brothers’ marble collections. Does this constitute Mekach Ta’us? Tshuva: No, get used to it buddy.
Question: Recently, as the men began throwing the pecklach in our shul, the chusen’s mother rushed out of the womens’ section onto the Bima, protecting her son with her own body, shouting, “Have Rachmunis, have Rachmunis.” Is this a hefsek? Tshuva: If, by hefsek you mean between the chusen and the pecklach, she would need to be eighteen tefochim high and four tefochim wide. Many mothers constitute hefsek.
Question: If one disagrees with the Rabbi’s Drusha, may leftover peckles be thrown at him? Tshuva; We would need to see the Rabbi’s contract to be sure. Nevertheless, you are too kind. Most congregations throw a lot worse.
Here are some local minhagim as reported by our intrepid roving reporter, Irving Dreykupf.
-Yekkes don’t throw anything because it’s not kavoud la’Tourah & lacks decourem.
-Southerners throw crackers or peanuts wrapped in teeny confederate flags.
-Russians throw small bottles of Stolichnaya. The chusen must catch them on the fly and drink all before reciting the Haftora. [Muscovites, as befitting their superior status, do this with big bottles.]
-Marshmallows are thrown at wimps.
-For nerds, the candy is put in pocket protectors.]
-Balloons are thrown at airheads .
-Carlbachers throw tapes
-In Lakewood, all the books that had been banned that week are thrown.
-Lubavitchers throw kvitlach wrapped in big pictures of the Rebbe.
-Satmars throw Lubavitchers.
-Bobovers just throw each other.
-Niturei Karta throw stones.
-West bank settlers put candy in empty hand grenade cases.
-JDLers use real hand grenades. They usually don’t pull the pins unless they don’t agree with the chusen’s politics.
-Breslovers throw N-NO-NOS-NOSH.
-Conservatives throw trendy cosmetic packs at the kalla for her Aliya.
-Reform asked ‘Aliya?’
-Reconstructionists said ‘Marriage?’