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Foreward

Approaching a Shidduch

The Prospective Mate

Marriage and its Preparations

Overcoming Personal Obstacles to a Shidduch

Spiritual and Attitudinal Preparations for Marriage

The Appropriate Age for Marriage

Allowing for Tranquillity Regarding the Time Preceding a Shidduch

Expectations and Prospects

Resolving Doubts In Approaching a Shidduch

Modesty in All Matters Relating to a Shidduch and a Wedding

Factors Regarding an Anash Shidduch

Whom to Decide Upon - Whom Not to Decide Upon

Various Factors and Issues Regarding a Shidduch

Siblings and Relatives

The Crucial And Final Decision

Eternal Joy - Volume 1
A Guide To Shidduchim & Marriage
Based On The Teachings Of The Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Shidduchim


Chapter Fourteen
Siblings and Relatives

by Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg

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  Various Factors and Issues Regarding a ShidduchThe Crucial And Final Decision  

A Shidduch For A Younger Sister When Her Older Sister Is Not Yet Married The Older Sister's Assent Will Assist Her In Finding Her Own Shidduch

In reply to your letter in which you notify me that a fine shidduch is being suggested for your younger daughter tichyeh, a shidduch that is finding favor by all, but your older daughter tichyeh is not yet married, and you ask my opinion in this matter:

You should [first] obtain your older daughter's assent regarding this matter and her forgiveness regarding her sister preceding her in a shidduch.

The kishurei hatena'im [of your younger daughter] should be celebrated in a restrained manner, and there should not be too much of a rush to make an early wedding.

May it be G-d's will that in the interim your older daughter will find her mate, one that is fitting for her both materially and spiritually, and you will be able to inform me of glad tidings twice over.

We do not know the wondrous ways of Divine Providence. It is possible that your older daughter's overcoming her natural inclination to envy her sister and forgiving her [for preceding her in a shidduch] with a perfect heart and true joy, will remove the final obstacle and impediment, and she will find her shidduch very speedily.

With blessings that the kishurei hatena'im of your younger daughter take place in a good and auspicious hour, and that you speedily be able to transmit the glad tidings of the kishurei hatena'im of your elder daughter tichyeh.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 197)

Marriage Is Of Greater Import Not The Seeking Of A Shidduch

With regard to the younger daughter marrying before the older daughter:

Of greater import is the actual wedding, [i.e., that the younger sister does not actually get married before her older sister,] but it does not impact too much the seeking of a shidduch (and even not the writing of the tena'im, when this is done without publicity).

This is especially true, since by the time [the younger one becomes engaged] there may be a change in status [with regard to a shidduch] of her older sister.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VIII, p. 215)

Complete Forgiveness And If Possible In Writing Or Before Witnesses

In reply to your question about the marriage of the younger sister before the older one:

Presently, during the time of the four-fold darkness of Ikvesah deMeshicha, when the "Son of David" [i.e., Mashiach] will arrive [only] after all the souls will descend from the "Storehouse of Souls" known as Guf,[1] then if the older sister will forgive [her younger sister] with complete forgiveness, this matter [of her getting married first] has been permitted [by our Sages]. It would be advisable that this forgiveness be in writing or take place in front of two witnesses.

Understandably, all this applies only if the young man is G-d-fearing, etc.

It would also be appropriate that in addition to the forgiveness, the younger sister as well as the parents set aside some money for the wedding expenses of the elder sister, to be utilized when she becomes engaged in a good and auspicious hour.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 326)

First Find A Shidduch For The Older Sister

In reply to your letter of Monday, in which you write that up until now a shidduch has not come up for your older daughter, and a shidduch is presently being suggested for your younger daughter:

You are

  1. to exert yourself to find a proper shidduch for your older daughter - it is known of the many places in which our Sages, of blessed memory, have spoken about the tremendous responsibility that lies on the father to find an appropriate shidduch for his daughters.

  2. Since our Nesi'im have been exacting with regard to the verse,[2] "This is not done ... to give away the younger [sister] before the older [sister]," therefore, only afterwards [i.e., only after you find a shidduch for your older daughter], should you seek a shidduch for your younger daughter.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 269)

When The Older Sister Will Soon Become Engaged

In reply to your letter of Rosh Chodesh Menachem [Av], in which you write about the suggestion of a shidduch for your son ... shlita with a young lady from Jerusalem, but she has an older sister who has yet to do a shidduch; however, her parents hinted that very soon the older sister will become engaged, at which time the shidduch of the younger one will be concluded [with your son]:

Since matters of a shidduch are for the sake of an eternal edifice, it is understandable that one should not hasten and pressure that the shidduch be finalized as quickly as possible, when the difference is only in a matter of a few days.

Rather, you should establish a set time by which you will expect that the shidduch of the older daughter will have been finalized. That stretch of time can be a few weeks, as, in any event, we now find ourselves in a month concerning which our Sages, of blessed memory, have said:[3] "one should push it off from Av."

For any number of reasons it is not advisable to force the other side into accepting the proposal, and on the other hand, on your part as well, it is not advisable to bind yourself to this suggestion [of a shidduch], as it is possible that during these weeks other suggestions [regarding a shidduch] will come up, suggestions that are worthy of interest.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 292)

A Shidduch For A Younger Brother When His Older Brother Is Not Yet Married When The Younger Brother Has Already Reached The Age Of Twenty

It is my considered opinion - and this is also my response to those who inquire of me regarding this matter - that with regard to sons, one is not to impede the marriage of the younger [brother] before [the marriage of] the older [brother].

This is especially so when the younger [brother] has already attained the age of twenty. [In fact,] haste in this matter is to be lauded.

The older brother should have it explained to him, that assisting his [younger] brother in performing an unambiguous and obvious law of our holy Torah, also constitutes the older [brother's] own performance of a clear law of our holy Torah. Thus, the merit [of his performance of this law] stands him in good stead, that he should soon obtain a shidduch as well.[4]

First Ask For Forgiveness

You ask whether you should interest yourself in a shidduch, inasmuch as you have an older brother [who is not yet married]:

You should ask your older brother to forgive you with complete forgiveness, at which time you can interest yourself in a shidduch.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 162)

With The Knowledge And Agreement Of The Older Brother

In reply to your letter concerning the possibility of a shidduch for your son ... sheyichyeh, both parties having already met and agreed [to the shidduch], and all the above is with the full knowledge and approval of your [older, unmarried] son ... sheyichyeh:

May it be G-d's will that the shidduch take place in a good and auspicious hour, and that they build an everlasting edifice in Israel on the foundations of Torah and mitzvos.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIX, p. 264)

When It Doesn't Bother The Older Brother At All

With regard to the suggestion of a shidduch for your son ... sheyichyeh, although his older brother is not yet married - however, his older brother states that this doesn't bother him at all, and you ask my opinion regarding this matter:

It is cited in the Acharonim, that upon [the younger brother's] reaching the age of eighteen, we are not meticulous with regard to this order of precedence [i.e., that the older brother must marry before the younger one].

This is especially pertinent here, where the older brother completely forgives the younger brother [for seeking a shidduch before him]. It is fair and safe to say that this itself [that he so graciously gives his younger brother permission,] will serve as a segulah to hasten, with G-d's blessings, the appropriate shidduch for the older brother.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XX, p. 227)

Acting Above And Beyond The Letter Of The Law Surely Must Be In Accord With The Shulchan Aruch

A 25-year-old man, who had an older twin who had yet to engage in a shidduch, asked the Rebbe whether he should interest himself in a shidduch notwithstanding the above. He also indicated his desire not to hurt his brother's feelings - to the contrary, he desired to act in this matter above and beyond the letter of the law. The Rebbe responded:

You didn't mention - [in fact,] you did not even hint - that according to the simple and straightforward law in Shulchan Aruch, you should have already begun interesting yourself in shidduchim quite some time ago.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, printed in Kuntres Tzaddik LaMelech, Vol. VII, p. 228)

The Verse Regarding Not Giving The Younger Before The Older Is In Reference To Daughters

... As the verse,[5] ["This is not done] ... to give away the younger [sister] before the older [sister]," is stated with regard to daughters, your brothers sheyichyu should interest themselves in shidduchim without one waiting for the other.

Surely each one of them will completely forgive the others. This [act of forgiveness] will also serve as a segulah for a good shidduch for the brother who grants the forgiveness.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, printed in Mikdash Melech, Vol. III, p. 53)

When The Brother Has An Older Sister Who Is Not Yet Married A Relatively Quiet Wedding

In response to a letter to the Rebbe, wherein a groom notified him of his impending marriage, and that his older sister is not yet married, the Rebbe replied as follows:

At a propitious time, and surely prior to the wedding, a) you and your bride should each set aside some of your own money for the shidduch and wedding expenses of the older sister; b) ask her forgiveness; c) celebrate your wedding in a relatively quiet manner.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VI, p. 105)

When The Sister Has An Older Brother Who Is Not Yet Married Forgiveness Before Three Jews

Regarding that which you write that you have an older brother [who is not yet married, and you wonder what to do with regard to a shidduch]:

You should see to it that you ask his forgiveness in front of three Jews, and that he says that he forgives you with all his heart.

In addition, each of the parties, together with the parents, should set aside some money for the wedding expenses of the brother for when he will have need of it in a good and auspicious hour.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XI, p. 241)

Two Older Brothers - Ask A Rav

In response to your second question [regarding a shidduch], since you have two older brothers [who are not yet married]:

Although you are correct when you write that this should not serve as an obstacle to the marriage of a sister [when older brothers are not yet married,] nevertheless, it would be worthwhile to discuss this matter with a rabbi in your environs who actively rules on matters of Jewish law.

He will formally issue a ruling that this is indeed so, with the power vested in him by his having received Semichah. By doing so, the matter becomes the "opinion of Torah" (Daas Torah).

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIX, p. 46)

Brothers Marrying Sisters The Rebbe's Father And Brother Married Two Sisters

My father and master[6] and my uncle,[7] Harav HaChassid of blessed memory, married two sisters, according to the directive of the Rebbe [RaShab] Nishmaso Eden and with the stipulation that they not live in the same city. ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. III, p. 182)

On The Condition That They Do Not Live In The Same City

In response to a question posed to the Rebbe regarding the marriage of two brothers to two sisters, the Rebbe answered the following:[8]

If the young lady is G-d-fearing and possesses fine character traits and so on, and the above [that the shidduch would result in two brothers marrying two sisters] is the only impediment, then they should interest themselves in this shidduch. [However, this is] with the stipulation that he does not live in the same city as does his brother sheyichyeh.

"He Who Is Not Meticulous..."

... Since you write in your letter that this [shidduch] is a matter of [i.e., it will result in] two brothers [marrying] two sisters:

In this matter, "He who is not meticulous [regarding this issue] will not be judged meticulously,"[9] [i.e., you may go ahead with the shidduch]. It would be appropriate, [however,] that if at all possible, they, [the two couples,] should live in different cities.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VI, p. 190)

A Brother And Sister Marrying A Brother And Sister

In reply to your question regarding the circumstance that your sister is married to the brother of your [intended] shidduch, and you ask my opinion in this matter since your [intended] shidduch comes from a fine family, is modest in demeanor, and so on:

This matter is cited in the Testament of R. Yehudah HaChassid ... The Tzemach Tzedek ... writes[10] that he himself saw to it that a son and daughter marry a son and daughter [i.e., that two brothers and sisters get married].

... Specifically: The suggestion is a good one; may it be a wonderful match. If possible, the two couples should not live in the same city, or at least in the same neighborhood - a directive that is given to [enable] two brothers marrying two sisters.

Surely this [counsel of not dwelling in the same city, or at least in the same neighborhood] is efficacious with regard to the marriage of a son and daughter, [i.e., when a brother and sister marry a brother and sister], since this entire matter [of their marriage] is much less stringent - our Sages were not punctilious about this, even before the fact (lichatchilah).

May it be G-d's will that the shidduch be in a good and auspicious hour; may you build a chassidishe home.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VIII, p. 31)

A Third Brother Marrying A Third Sister

If both of them [the third brother and third sister] are G-d-fearing (and in present times, when this quality is not to be found as readily as in previous times, this is a primary reason for them to interest themselves in this shidduch), then may the shidduch be completed in a goodly manner. However, they should not live in the same city as [do any of] the other brothers.

All the above applies to Ashkenazim. With regard to Sefardim, it is worth investigating whether they ever took upon themselves the directives stated in the Testament of R. Yehudah HaChassid.

In addition, one may add [as a reason for leniency and permission for the third brother to marry the third sister,] these [additional] factors: a) [the opinion] that the Testament of R. Yehudah HaChassid - and this would probably apply equally to brothers marrying sisters - was written only for his descendants, and b) since two of them already married sisters, the third may do so as well ("kivan d'dash, dash"[11]) ... What is most important of all is that they act in a G-d-fearing manner.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXXIV, p. 293)

When The Prospective Groom And Bride Are Related When Both Are Healthy

With regard to your question [about the shidduch] since the two of you are related: ...

We verily observe, especially in these latter generations, that there is absolutely no cause for concern when both parties are healthy.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XX, p. 68)

A Shidduch With One's Niece

... You also ask whether you should interest yourself in a shidduch with your niece:

In general, it would be better for you to interest yourself also in other suggestions. Afterwards, you can compare them to the suggestion of a shidduch with your niece.

May G-d guide you in the proper path; may you choose your mate in a good and auspicious hour.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 113)

When The Prospective Groom And Bride Are Cousins Poses No Problems

In response to the question of whether to interest himself in a shidduch with his cousin, or whether this may pose problems, the Rebbe responded:

It poses no problems with regard to a marriage.

(From a handwritten response of the Rebbe)[12]

A Multitude Do So

May all the above [with regard to the shidduch] be in a good and auspicious hour. Moreover, the timing is propitious - [the month of] Adar [in the year] Tinasei [lit. "get married"] - with regard to the marriage of cousins, [as Mordechai married[13] his cousin Esther].

Many, many people, in fact a multitude, do so as well [i.e., marry their cousins].

(Shaarei Halachah U'Minhag, Vol. IV, p. 78)

Similar Names When The Mother-In-Law And Daughter-In-Law Share The Same Names Add A Name Prior To Publicizing The Shidduch

A name should be added to one of them - either to the mother-in-law or the daughter-in-law - prior to the conclusion ([i.e., before the shidduch is] publicized). And the ruling of the Alter Rebbe and the Tzemach Tzedek in this matter is well known: "There is absolutely nothing at all to be concerned about" (She'eilos U'Teshuvos Tzemach Tzedek, Cheilek Even HaEzer, conclusion of sec. 143).

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIV, p. 460)

Best To Conclude The Shidduch Thirty Days Subsequent To The Naming

With regard to the suggestion of a shidduch with a young lady who has found favor in your eyes - your intent is surely that she is G-d-fearing, as befits a proper daughter in Israel - however, her name is the same as your mother's. You conclude by stating that you are a student in the [Sefardic] Yeshivah of Poras Yosef:

If it is as you describe that she is G-d-fearing, and the both of you will firmly resolve to build a home in Israel on the foundations of Torah and mitzvos, then an additional name should be given to her.

Understandably, the naming should be done [together] with a "Mi Shebeirach," when of one of her family members and the like receives an aliyah to the Torah.

After the naming, it would be best that a minimum of thirty days pass from the time she received her additional name to the time that the shidduch is concluded in a good and auspicious hour.

There is the well-known ruling of the Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, based on the ruling of his grandfather the Alter Rebbe, author of the Tanya (a legislator in the esoteric portion of Torah) and the Shulchan Aruch (a legislator in the revealed portion of Torah), that when the names are not the same there is absolutely nothing at all to be concerned about.

All the above is so even with regard to Ashkenazim. However, with regard to Sefardim, it is known that many Sefardic communities are not at all concerned about similar names of the daughter-in-law and mother-in-law.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 329)

They Should Not Dwell In The Same City

In reply to that which you write about a shidduch [with a young lady] who shares the same name as your mother:

You should consider this shidduch only if a name is added to one of them; moreover, they should not dwell in the same place.[14]

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 127)

When Only Some Of The Names Are Similar

Regarding that which you write that your kallah is approximately a year older than you, and that her name is Leah Raizel but she is only called Raizel, while your mother's name is Miriam Leah:

To use the terminology of the Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek (She'eilos U'Teshuvos Tzemach Tzedek, Cheilek Even HaEzer, sec. 143, and see also Piskei Dinim l'Yoreh De'ah, sec. 116 - and surely in this instance), "There is absolutely nothing at all to be concerned about."

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VI, p. 12)

When The Mother-In-Law Has Many Names But Is Called By The Same Name As The Daughter-In-Law Add And Sign With The Additional Name

... Add a name ... and so should she sign [i.e., with the additional name as well,] and G-d will grant success.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIV, p. 460)

Refer To Them Differently

In reply to your letter in which you write that many untoward events have occurred with you and your family sheyichyu, and you do not know the cause:

I see from your letter that your wife's name is Chayah Sarah Mirel and your mother's name is Chayah Sarah. I would be interested to learn how your wife is actually called, whether by all three names or not.

In any event, an effort should be made that at least from now on your wife tichyeh be called in a manner that is as different as possible from the way her mother-in-law tichyeh is called.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 446)

When The Father-In-Law And Son-In-Law Share The Same Names Add A Name To One Of Them

A name should be added to one of them, [in keeping with the] known ruling of the Tzemach Tzedek (and the Alter Rebbe) regarding this matter.

(Shaarei Halachah U'Minhag, Vol. IV, p. 87)

The Additional Name Should Become The First Name

In reply to your letter ... in which you write that you are thirty years old and have yet to marry, and now a shidduch is being suggested to you with a young lady whose father's name is the same as yours.

You are in doubt [as to how to proceed] in light of the statement in the Testament of R. Yehudah HaChassid [that a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, as well as a father-in-law and son-in-law should not share the same names]:

Since your marriage has been delayed to such a late age, therefore, if the young lady is properly G-d-fearing and will conduct herself as befits a proper daughter in Israel (meticulously observing the laws of family purity, Shabbos, keeping kosher, as well as all the other mitzvos), then it would be appropriate for you [to do the following]:

You should obtain ("yoshiv") three rabbis who actively rule on matters of Jewish law, and they should rule that you are to receive an additional name. [In addition to using your previous name,] you should receive your aliyos to the Torah and sign with this additional name as well.

It would be best that the additional name become your first name. [Having accomplished all this,] then there is absolutely no linkage [between your and your father-in-law's names] with the previously mentioned Testament [of R. Yehudah HaChassid]. All this, however, is conditional on your celebrating your tena'im after you have already been using your new name for thirty days.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 276)

When Only Some Of The Names Are Similar

In reply to your letter in which you inform me that a shidduch is being suggested to you and the name of the young lady's father is Avraham,[15] and you want to know my opinion of the matter:

See Hagahos Makor Chessed on the Testament of R. Yehudah HaChassid, who cites the sources who permit this matter ... We, however, have nothing if not the ruling of the Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, (She'eilos U'Teshuvos Tzemach Tzedek, Cheilek Even HaEzer, sec. 143, Piskei Dinim l'Yoreh De'ah, sec. 116), that since "the names are not entirely similar, there is absolutely nothing at all to be concerned about."

However, you should establish that you be called to the Torah, sign your name, and so on, not only with the name Avraham, but also with your other names (the other two, or at least one of those two).

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 160)

When One Of The Names Is The Same As The Name Of His Father-In-Law

In reply to your question as to whether people should call you Avraham Mordechai or if it suffices that they call you with these two names only when you are called to the Torah and when you sign your name:

There are no hard and fast rules concerning this matter; I also have never heard any directives in this regard. Therefore, conduct yourself as you have been doing up until now.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VI, p. 12)

When Each Possesses Two Names One Of Which Is The Same

Concerning that which you write about the names of a father-in-law and son-in-law, each one of them possessing two names, with but one name shared by both:

There is the well-known ruling of the Alter Rebbe, author of the Tanya and the Shulchan Aruch, as well as the ruling of his grandson, the Tzemach Tzedek, that [when the names are not entirely similar,] there is no room for concern (She'eilos U'Teshuvos Tzemach Tzedek, Cheilek Even HaEzer, sec. 143, Piskei Dinim l'Yoreh De'ah, sec. 116).

When The Shared Name Is Used Only For An Aliyah And For Signing

Regarding that which you write that a shidduch is being suggested for your daughter, and your question of me is [whether there is room for concern] since the young man's name is Avraham and your name is ... , however, you only use the name Avraham to be called to the Torah and when signing your name:

Since all other aspects [regarding the shidduch] are entirely satisfactory, the above should not serve as a hindrance [to the shidduch]. (See She'eilos U'Teshuvos Tzemach Tzedek (Cheilek Even HaEzer, sec. 143) that in an instance such as this, this is not at all considered to be the same names, and there is no room for concern. See also Piskei Dinim l'Yoreh De'ah, sec. 116.)).

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 349)

When The Names Of The Mother-In-Laws Are The Same An Additional Name

I see from your letter that the name of the young lady's mother and your mother's name are the same. It would be worthwhile for one of the mothers to receive an additional name.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVIII, p. 136)

The Additional Name The Choice Of Name

With regard to that which you write about the addition of a name, and which name to choose:

You should choose the name in accordance with the advice of the rabbi who [customarily] issues rulings in your location (i.e., where you study Torah and pray, etc.).

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXXIV, p. 294)

The Additional Name Must Not Be Forgotten

Understandably, it is important that the second [additional] name not be forgotten, leading as that would to the names [of the parties to once again] be equal. The elucidation of a "name that was forgotten" is explained in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch and their commentaries, [Even HaEzer] ch. 129.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIX, p. 295)

The Additional Name Has The Same Degree Of Validity

You can well understand my perplexity regarding your statement that there are those who say that there is a difference between the name given to the person at birth and the name that is added. See Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 129:18 that the contrary is true - the added name is the most crucial one.

In general, a person is the master as regards the giving of names, both to his children sheyichyu, as well as to himself.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXXIV, p. 299)

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Yevamos 62a; Zohar I, p. 28b.

  2. (Back to text) Bereishis 29:26.

  3. (Back to text) Taanis, beginning of 29b.

  4. (Back to text) Printed in Kfar Chabad Magazine (together with a facsimile of the Rebbe's holy handwritten response), Issue 851.

  5. (Back to text) Bereishis 29:26.

  6. (Back to text) The great gaon, chassid and mekubal, R. Levi Yitzchak Schneerson.

  7. (Back to text) Rabbi Shmuel Schneerson.

  8. (Back to text) Printed in Kfar Chabad Magazine (together with a facsimile of the Rebbe's holy handwritten response), Issue 858.

  9. (Back to text) See Pesachim 110b.

  10. (Back to text) Piskei Dinim, Yoreh De'ah, sec. 116.

  11. (Back to text) Gittin 56b.

  12. (Back to text) Printed in Beis Moshiach Magazine (together with a facsimile of the Rebbe's holy handwritten response), Issue 259.

  13. (Back to text) See Megillah 6b.

  14. (Back to text) See also Shiduchin V'Nisuin-Likkutei Horaos, Minhagim, U'Beurim (Kehot, Brooklyn, 5752), P. 69, fn. 214.

  15. (Back to text) The name of the questioner was Avraham Mordechai Shmuel.


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