Volume 10 Number 4
                       Produced: Wed Nov 17 18:36:25 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Sharre Orah" "Gates Of Light" in Translation
         [Avi Weinstein]
Age of the Universe
         [Gedaliah Friedenberg]
Controversy about the Rav, cont'd
         [Goldberg Moshe]
         [Warren Burstein]
Judaism "mipi ollelim"
         [Frank Silbermann]
Kashrus of Muesilix brand cereal
         [Andy Jacobs]
Syrians and Conversion (2)
         [Marc Shapiro, Jerry B Altzman]


From: Avi Weinstein <0003396650@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 93 12:43:02 -0500
Subject: "Sharre Orah" "Gates Of Light" in Translation

For those interested: Soon to be published and available to the public
is the work "Gates Of Light" by the RYG, Rabbi Yosef Gikitilla.  It will
be published by Harper Collins and in the bookstores by January 1st.

Sharre Orah is a thirteenth century encyclopaedia of Hashem's Names,
Cognomens and their relationship to the Sephirot.  It was translated by
yours truly and all I can say is after three and a half years, "Baruch
Shepatrani" or to paraphrase and distort Bob Dylan, "I have been

Avi Weinstein


From: <friedenb@...> (Gedaliah Friedenberg)
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 14:09:01 EST
Subject: Age of the Universe

When I was at yeshiva in Yirushalayim (Ohr Somayach) the yeshiva
brought in Dr. N. Averill, the chairman of the Physics Department at
Bar Ilan University.  He has a book out which discusses the recent
revelations on the age of the universe and how this verifies the Torah

The book is available in Hebrew, English and Russian.  I see it
advertised all the time in the International edition of the Jerusalem
Post.  I read the book and highly recommend it.

Gedaliah Friedenberg


From: <vamosh@...> (Goldberg Moshe)
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 07:56:40 EST
Subject: Controversy about the Rav, cont'd

The following is extracted from an article by Rabbi Eliezer Bernstein,
of New York, which appeared in Hatzofeh, Oct 29 1993. The article is
named: Ve-lamashmitzim Lo Tehiyeh Tikvah [The Detractors Shall Have No
Hope]. The beginning and end are direct translations, I have abstracted
the middle of the article. I take full responsibility for the translation
and the summary.

I am interested in any comments from our colleagues in the USA.

Here is my summary of the article:

(1) Translation -- beginning of article

    This Jew, you see, sits at home in Kiryat Matasdorf in the heart of
Jerusalem. He teaches in one of the yeshivot there, writes books with
Torah chidushim and "defiles the well from which he drank." In his
chidushim he gives credit by name to the Torah giants that he quotes.
Only one is quoted anonymously, and given the title "hamasbir [the

    "Hamasbir" is Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik za"l. The author hides
his name since he was head of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Yeshiva and he is
a perfect example of the successful integration of Torah and science.
Both the author and his family studied in the Yeshiva but this cannot be

    And, there is also a teacher in the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Yeshiva
that published a book of sheiurim of the Rav. He does name his
illustrious teacher but purposely hides the name of the institution that
the Rav was connected to body and soul for more than fifty years. His
excuse is that otherwise the book might not be bought in Lakewood
(meaning the "yeshiva world" in general).

(2) Summary--middle of the article

Rabbi Bernstein then goes on to describe one of the widest-ranging campaigns
ever undertaken to besmirch the name of a Torah giant. This campaign started
even before the Rav was buried, with an organized decision not to take part in
his funeral, including direct threats to some who did decide to take part.

Rabbi Bernstein describes one-sided articles and editorials in Hamodiya in
Israel and in the Jewish Observer in the USA which sparked a reaction by Rabbi
Moshe Tendler and then far-reaching controversy that still rages. He lists
the Rav's three unpardonable as sins seen by the detractors:

Cardinal Sin No. 1: The Rav left Agudat Israel, a well-spring of life, and
joined Mizrahi. As far as Rabbi Bernstein is concerned, history has shown the
Rav's decision to be the right one. And, he certainly made his decision only
after much soul-searching.

Cardinal Sin No. 2: In discussions during 1955, the Rav refused to order the
Histadrut Harabbanim to leave the Synagogue Council. However, the Rav made a
clear distinction between two kinds of relations with Conservative and Reform
Jewry:  contact with outside bodies (government, etc) should be coordinated
among all Jewry, but there should be no cooperation on internal matters such
as religion.

Cardinal Sin No. 3: The Rav's knowledge and study of secular matters is
completely unforgivable. And this in spite of the unprecedented success
of his methods and ideas, which showed the Haredi world that some good can 
be obtained from Gentile wisdom.

(3) Translation -- end of article

    The effort to rewrite Rav Soloveitchik and his legacy is destined
a priori to be a devastating failure. This is an argument that is not
for the sake of heaven [lo leshem shamayim].

    This misguided [pasul] criticism has had an interesting and unexpected
side effect. The moderates among the Rav's students, who usually steer clear
of any hint of argument with the yeshiva world, have been thrust into a
situation of unjustified attack on their mentor. But in the end the criticism
uncovers new dimensions of the Rav's greatness that were not appreciated in
the past. This leads to better understanding of the Rav and his legacy that
will continue to shine on for all generations.

    Ve-lamashmitzim lo tehiyeh tikvah!


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 93 22:51:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Evolution

Michael Allen writes:

>Actually, it has always been a wonder to me that anyone did this
>experiment and that the result was considered interesting.  Haven't
>Jews been practicing Mila (circumcision) for 100 generations or more?

But perhaps Gerim mess up the results.  Who knows that for 20
generations back there isn't a single Ger in the family tree?

Actually, how often does it happen that a child is born without a
foreskin, but otherwise intact?  I know there are halachot about it.

 |warren@      But the Kibo
/ nysernet.org is not all that concerned.


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 93 14:21:49 -0500
Subject: Judaism "mipi ollelim"

Lon Eisenberg:
>	When we lived in Rehovot and our friends' son was in "gan",
>	I asked him:  "Nathan, what is a Christmas tree?"
> 	His response:  "I'm not sure, but I think it's a tree
>	you put fruit on for TuBeShevat."
>	Unfortunately, today he knows better!

Sometime around my daughter's 3rd birthday we were at a get-together at
the local Chabad house.  She noticed the large photo of the Rebbe hung
in a prominent location and pointed it out to us saying, "That's
HaShem!"  Later, she saw photo of Santa Claus in a catalog and again
pointed it out as being HaShem.

We decided to straighten her out by telling her that it's _not_ HaShem,
but she asked, "Then who _is_ this?"  We didn't want to teach her about
Santa Clause, so my wife simply said, "That's Fred."

Now, a few months later, my is with my wife in Sears and notices the
holiday decorations, asking, "What kind of tree is that?"  My wife said,
"It's just an ordinary tree."  My daughter (not yet 3 1/2) disagrees
thoughtfully, "No, I think it's a Fred Krissmuss tree."

We had hoped to enjoy at least another year before having to deal with
questions about Santa Clause, etc.  As it is, we get strange looks when
she gets excited and starts pointing out pictures of Fred wherever we
go.  But my real fear is how they'll take it the next time we take her
to Chabad house, and she loudly points out the photo of "Fred" on the

Frank Silbermann	<fs@...>
Tulane University	New Orleans, Louisiana  USA


From: dca/G=Andy/S=Jacobs/O=CCGATE/OU1=<DCAALPTS@...> (Andy Jacobs)
Date: 8 Nov 93 09:48:43 GMT
Subject: Re: Kashrus of Muesilix brand cereal

From: Meshulum Laks <LAKS@...> 

> Does anyone know what the Baltimore vaad says (R. Heinemann's) about 
> it. Is it reliably kosher?

Why don't you call the Baltimore Vaad at 410-484-4110, and ask them.

 - Andy


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 93 05:10:38 -0500
Subject: Re: Syrians and Conversion

A number of people have noted that the Syrians do not reject converts,
rather they don't allow them to marry into their community. In practical
terms this is no different than rejecting them. In any event, in this day
and age what does it mean to have a community along ethnic lines. Thank
God we have a State of Israel and Ashkenazim, Sefardim Yemenites etc. are
now marrying one another all the time. There no longer are communities
like we used to have. The Syrians like to maintain their cohesion and from
having worked with them I know that to marry an Ashkenazi is not looked
upon kindly, to put it mildly.
Contrary to the Syrian conception, we are all *one* community, i. e.
Jews. There no longer is any place for the elitism shown by groups.
Those who know the Syrian community can attest to the fact that strict
halakhic observance is not one of their shining characteristics and it
therefore is all the more unfortunate that they choose to raise themselves
above the rest of us by saying that they won't intermarry with converts.
There clearly is no more of a threat to intermarriage in their community
than among the rest of us. Should we all ban converts from intermarrying
with us? The Syrian ban is an embarrassment and its reasons have a lot
more to do with "ethnic purity" than ensuring halakhic observance.
					Marc Shapiro

From: <jbaltz@...> (Jerry B Altzman)
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 93 11:10:43 -0500
Subject: Syrians and Conversion

> halakhic status as a full-fledged Jew, and it is simply a matter of not
> accpeting them as "members of the community".  No one would deny that a
> convert who undergoes a "kosher" orthodox conversion is Jewish in every
> respect, it is just that it doesn't count within the orbit of the
> community and its religious and social institutions.

In spite of Hillel's determined attempt, I am still left confused. The
convert if Jewish? Then why don't the Syrians say "The convert is
Jewish, end of story."? The convert isn't Jewish? By not being a member
of the community, does that mean that a convert couldn't be called for
an `aliyah in a Syrian synagogue? Wouldn't count for a minyan?

Without intention to impugn anyone's community, this smacks of "Sure
it's kosher, 100% kosher, but I wouldn't eat there."

jerry b. altzman   Entropy just isn't what it used to be      +1 212 650 5617
<jbaltz@...>    jbaltz@columbia.edu        (HEPNET) NEVIS::jbaltz


End of Volume 10 Issue 4