Volume 10 Number 20
                       Produced: Wed Nov 24  9:02:01 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Halachik Value Judgements
         [Robert J. Tanenbaum]
Healing a Non-Jew on Shabbat
         [Zal Suldan]
The Kastner Affair
         [David/Jayne Guberman]
         [Uri Meth]


From: <btanenb@...> (Robert J. Tanenbaum)
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 93 10:13:22 EST
Subject: Halachik Value Judgements

The discussion concerning rabbinic pronouncements about whether it was
better to leave strong established Torah nurturing communities in Europe
in the 20's and 30's and even 40's because of the threatening
destruction and move to less Torah amenable communities in U.S. or
Israel, reminds me of many discussions on this net before.

Truly interesting halachic rulings are not ones where the question is
"what does the Torah say about this?" but ones where the question is
"the Torah says a number of things about this, which one of many will
predominate in this particular situation?"

In the discussion at hand the question was, "The Torah insists on
preserving both spiritual life and physical life. What are the risks to
both of these based on different options? Do we risk the threat to our
physical existance which historically we have collectively survived and
remain in the place where our familial and communal institutions are
strongest for our spiritual survival, or do we risk our lives and
spiritual accomplishments by taking highly risky journies to untried
communities?" (I know even this much is simplistic since Eretz Yisrael
had small established Torah communities which had their own threats from
the Arabs and disease and poor economy.)

The point is the community leader has to make a value judgement.

My Rosh Yeshiva (Rav Shlomo Freifeld Z'Tz'L) thought it was laughable
that Roshei Yeshiva vehemently opposed college educations. He used to
say, "What are talmidim supposed to do to support their families, work
in the post office?" So he believed, college may be risky to
Yiddishkeit, but so is an impoverished living standard? Learning is a
Torah value, and so is supporting ones family. Other Rohsei Yeshiva
believe that the risk of college outweighs the material gains.

The Rabbeim of Y.U. ruled that the value of communal prayer and the
importance of strengthening congregations outweighed the value of
whatever increased spiritual benefit women acquire by participating in
women's prayer services.  Other Rabbis disagree.

The way different values are stressed by legitimate Rabbinic authorities
regarding Israel and participation in the state and serving in the army
and retaining or giving up land has created innumerable "Torah-true"
positions many of which are diametrically opposed to each other.

The Torah and Halacha and Torah Philosophy teaches us to value all of
the above.  So where do we come in? I think it is reasonable to want to
know what the values of the Poskim are. Does Posek A fear secular
education or consider it beneficial or consider it neutral? Does Posek B
really understand medical conditions and know how to evaluate relative
risks and benefits of different medical procedures? etc.

I would want my Rav to know that both excessive materialism and
excessive fundamentalism are risks to spiritual health.  I would want
him to be willing to value the enjoyment of life as a positive Torah
approach, and not side with the "fun is forbidden" line of thought.  If
other people choose their Rabbeim based on how many extra items they
forbid, and that makes them feel good and holy, so be it.  Live and let
live. I'm happy the Torah tent (to borrow a political metaphor) is big
enough to hold all of us, and G-d will bless us all with His love.

Ezra Bob Tanenbaum	1016 Central Ave	Highland Park, NJ 08904
home: (908)819-7533	work: (212)450-5735
email: <btanenb@...>


From: Zal Suldan < <ZSuldan@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1993 19:33:36 -0500
Subject: Healing a Non-Jew on Shabbat

Several issues ago, Jeff Woolf responded to a question:
>>Regarding healing a Non-Jew, Aiva is a potent argument on Shabbat and is
>>strongly maintained by Rav Dr Moshe David Tendler.

And then Warren Burstein asked again:
>I remain puzzled by this halacha.  Could someone attempt to explain it
>to me?  Are we afraid that if the Jewish doctor doesn't treat a non-Jew
>then a non-Jewish doctor won't treat a Jew, e.g. is Aiva a subset of
>Pikuach Nefesh?

I remembered learning this halacha when I was at Brovenders several
years ago.  Several of the bochrim who were about to enter medical
school asked one of the rebeyim to start an informal shiur in Hilchos
HaRopheh <laws of the Doctor>. Of course, since treating non-Jews on
Shabbos is very appropos, especially in the United States where we were
all returning, this was one of the first halachot we touched on.

My source for this is Hilchot Rofim VeRefuah which is a compilation by
Avraham Steinberg of the responsa in the Tzitz Eliezer (Rav Eliezer
Yehudah Waldenberg).  Unfortunately, I no longer can find my copy of
this book, and have lost my xerox of the specific references in the
Tzitz Eliezer, but I have found my copy of the English translation by
David Simons and I will paraphrase from there.

He starts out by saying that Min HaGemarah <from the Talmud> one can not
be mechalel shabbos for a dangerously ill gentile patient. However, he
continues that nowadays, one can be mechalel shabbos midrabanan
<rabbinic desecration>, because it would otherwise create ill feelings
between Jews and non-Jews. And in fact, some authorities, he says, even
permit one to be Michalel Shabbos Midoraita <biblical desecration> in
such a case.  The Tzitz Eliezer continues, however, to say that there is
a legally acceptable way to render treatment even when dealing with
being michalel shabbos midoraita. "It is suggested that at the time that
the physician is providing the necessary care, his intentions should not
primarily be to cure the patient, but to protect himself and the Jewish
people from accusations of religious discrimination and severe
retaliation that may endanger him in particular and the Jewish people in
general. With this intention, any act on the physician's part bacomes
'an act whose actual outcome is not its primary purpose' <melakha
sheeinah tzrikhah ligufa> which is prohibited on Shabbos only by
rabbinic law." He continues to say that it is best to try to get a
non-Jewish Doctor to care for a non-Jewish patient on Shabbos, but if an
attempt was made and it was impossible to arrange, A Jew may still treat
a non-Jew on Shabbos as he outlines. (The sources in the Tzitz Eliezer,
as referenced in Hilchos HaRopheh are [vol8, sect15, chapt6]; [v9, s17,
c1,8,10], [v10, s25, c19])

Therefore, "Mipnei Aiva" is directly a subset of hilchos melachos
shabbos -- melacha she'aynah schricha legufa <laws of working on Shabbos
-- an act whose actual outcome is not its primary purpose> , and only
indirectly a subset of pikuach nefesh.

I would appreciate anything anyone might want to add to this. 

Zal Suldan      <ZSuldan@...>


From: David/Jayne Guberman <guberman@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 93 11:44:07 -0500
Subject: The Kastner Affair

     Najman Kahana wrote:

>For those less familiar with the case, Dr. Kastner was the
>Jewish Agency's representative in Hungary.  After the war, he
>became part of the Mapai (now the Maarach, Labor) government.
>A small, local news-sheet (edited by Greenwald) accused him of
>being a Nazi collaborator.  He sued for defamation of character. 
>The attorney representing the news-sheet was Shmuel Tamir.
>In the trial, Tamir proved most of the allegations, and exposed
>some rather shocking facts which implicated many other "high"
>people.  The facts uncovered by the Kastner trial were used as
>the base of the Eichmann trial.  After the trial, Dr. Kastner
>was murdered by an unknown assailant.

     Having lent my copy of Segev's excellent and disturbing book
to my father-in-law, my recollection of Segev's account is that
the defamation suit was brought by the government, not by Kastner
(who held a relatively minor post in some government ministry). 
The trial itself was a travesty, due to the unfairness and bias
of the presiding judge against Kastner.  On appeal, the Supreme
Court criticized the trial judge and largely vindicated Kastner
of the charges made against him.

     Segev's book also does not support the claim that the
Kastner trial uncovered facts "used as the base of the Eichmann
trial."  What are they supposed to have been?

        David A. Guberman                  "If I had more time, I 
        <guberman@...>              would have made it briefer."


From: <umeth@...> (Uri Meth)
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 93 9:26:48 EST
Subject: Yaakov

Sam Zisblatt asks how do we understand the attribute of Yaakov to be
Emes (honesty) when we see in Parshas Toldos that he deceives his father
for the blessings of the Bechor (First born).  This exact question was
brought up at the shabbos table where I was two weeks ago and here was
what I felt was the correct reasoning.

Chazal (our Rabbi's) have told us that the attribute of Yaakov is that
of Emes.  Therefore, we must take this as fact and work from there.  (I
know this might sound a little like circular reasoning, but it is not.)
In the beginning of Parshas Toldos, Yaakov buys the right of the first
born from his brother Eisav.  Yaakov feels that it is better for him to
buy it from Eisav than to let Eisav keep it, because Eisav will not know
and does not wish to be bound by the laws of the Beshorah.  The laws
require service to Hashem, something which Eisav was not willing to do.
Rashi quotes on the spot on the verse Genesis 25:32 'Heenai Anochi
Holaich Lamoos' (behold I am going to die), that Eisav is saying, if I
keep the Bechorah, this will entail service in the Bais Hamikdash (holy
temple).  There are laws prohibitting the drinking of wine before
performance of the service, and it also requires that the hair be cut
quite often.  What Eisav was saying is that the laws required by those
who serve in the Temple are too hard for me, and since I will not be
able to keep them, they will kill me.  The punishment for doing service
in the Temple while one is inebriated is Korais (cutting off from one's
people).  Therefore, Eisav willingly sold the Bechorah, in fact Yaakov
was doing him a favor.

Now that Yaakov, through this sale, is the rightful Bechor, he has every
right to the blessings.  Yitzchak wanted to give the blessings to the
Bechor and Yaakov is now it.  Also let us note two other points.  
a) When Yaakov and Eisav we still fetii, Rivkah had a very hard pregnancy.
She is told, Genesis 25:23, that 'Verav Ya'avod Tza'ir' (the older will
serve the younger).  Rivkah had a prophecy that the younger, Yaakov, is
the chosen one, hence, he is entitled to the blessings.  This prophecy
was only told to her and not to Yitzchak, so when it came time for the
blessings, she manipulated the events, such that Yaakov would get the
b) Also, observe the nature of the blessings.  They consist of all
worldly items.  None of it has to do with the spiritual, it is all in
the physical.  Why is this?  Yitzchak's intent was the there should be a
Yisachar-Zevulun partnership.  Eisav, the worldly brother should become
the rich one, and support Yaakov who spent all day learning.  Yitzchak
thought that this was a viable plan.  Therefore, the blessing consisted
of wordly matter, such that Eisav would be able to support Yaakov.
However, Rivkah knew better, and she knew that if Eisav got the
blessings he would rule over Yaakov and subjugate Yaakov, not support
Yaakov.  Therefore, since she knew that Yaakov was supposed to get the
blessings anyway, through her prophecy, and that Eisav would not be a
partner with Yaakov, she manipulated the events such that Yaakov would
get the blessings.

I hope this clears up matters.

Uri Meth                (215) 674-0200 (voice)
SEMCOR, Inc.            (215) 443-0474 (fax)
65 West Street Road     <umeth@...>
Suite C-100
Warminster, PA 18974


End of Volume 10 Issue 20