Volume 10 Number 45
                       Produced: Sun Dec  5 23:31:06 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Divine will
         [Hayim Hendeles]
         [Aharon Fischman]
Listening to Non-Jewish Religous Music
         [Mayer Danziger]
         [Zvi Basser]
Rashbam on beginning of Bereshit
         [Dr. Moshe J. Bernstein]
Understanding the Holocaust (2)
         [David Charlap, Andy Jacobs]


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 93 11:50:20 -0800
Subject: Re: Divine will

There has been much discussion on the net lately, with questions and
answers flying back and forth, over the nature of Divine Will.

I would like to share with you the following story I heard several years
ago. I have never seen this print, but heard it from a friend of mine
who heard it from ... Perhaps someone can confirm this story.

This question goes back many years ago, in the early days of the State
of Israel, and was addressed to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zt"l by Rabbi
Untermann zt"l.  During some critical period, there was a severe
shortage of a certain medicine in the hospital.  There was only enough
medicine for x people, but many more needed it.  Those who get the
medicine live, and those who don't die. The question posed to Reb Moshe

Reb Moshe zt"l answered, that it is not for us to say who's bigger and
who's smaller, who is more fit to receive the medicine, and who is lest
fit. Rather what you must do, is go through the hospital ward, and the
1st x people you come to get the medicine. We must assume that the
hashgacha has ordained it that these people should occupy these beds, so
that they would be the ones to receive the medicine.

At the least, it is certainly an interesting perspective on Hasgacha.

Hayim Hendeles


From: <afischma@...> (Aharon Fischman)
Date: 2 Dec 93 21:35:50 GMT
Subject: Gedolim

One topic that have gotten much recent exposure is the infallibility of
our Gedolim. One member brought down the recent case of the FBI
arresting a Rabbi who was told (albeit in hindsight wrongly) to
intervene in a case. A broader issue is the decision by many Rabbaim to
ask their constituents to remain in Europe instead of fleeing from the
Nazis. The fuel I can add to this fire is many of the advice given by
Amoraim (rabbis of the Talmud) in the Gemorah, that contradict ideas
that we hold as true today. For example in Brachot (44b) We are told
that Eggs are better food than anything else (except maybe meat), and
that one who eats many vegetables (that are not cooked or soaked in
wine) will have problems in their house (paraphrase). We hold as
scientific fact that eggs are not good for you due to cholesterol, meat
is not better, and that fresh vegetables are far better for our bodies.
What does one do with what may seem to be contradictory information? We
can say that scientist are wrong: think of how many 'proven' ideals of
old have since been disproved.  We can say that the Amoraim were wrong,
and did not know what they were talking about. However, I don't feel
that ranking on the Gedolim is the answer. When it comes to halacha, the
Talmide Chachamin (rabbis) have last say. IMHO, in extra Torah subjects,
such as politics and health, we would be wise to hear the Chachamim
(wise people) out since their opinions would be beneficial in most cases
(when smart people say things, people listen). Are we to take them as
law, or more specifically Halacha? IMHO, I don't think so. The Gemorah I
learned last night did not say 'Halach K'divre Mar' (the law is like
this person) nor did it seem to even be a Halchik discussion, rather
just the best way they thought a man should act. In most cases
therefore, we are better off _TO_ listen to our gedolim, even in
non-Halachik situations.

On the topic of understanding the ways of G-d, Mr. Fiorino said it well: 
	>However, perhaps this is exactly where I am supposed to be --
 	>answerless as the human condition.  "Then the Lord answered Job out 
	>of the whirlwind, and said 'who is this who darkens counsel, speaking 
	>without knowledge?'"(Job 38:1-2).  The inability of the person to 
	>fathom G-d's actions and inactions does not make G-d accountable to a 
	>human being, not does it release that person from his obligation to
 	>serve G-d. 
We can't possibly understand G-d's ways, nor can we be judges on other people. 
 Part of what Emunah (faith) might be it that G-d does what he thinks is best, 
I cannot even contemplate being able to understand all the Why's. 

Aharon Fischman <afischman@...> -or- fischman@yu1.yu.edu 


From: diverdan!<mayer@...> (Mayer Danziger)
Date: 1 Dec 93 16:15:53 GMT
Subject: Re: Listening to Non-Jewish Religous Music

Eitan Fiorino raises 2 points regarding my original posting of R.
Feinstein's responsa prohibiting religous music. (Igrot Moshe Yore Deah
vol 2 no 111) I will attempt to clarify the issues raised by Eitan,
begining with his 2nd point.  Regarding the question of Christianity -
R. Moshe specifically prohibits Christian religous music in an earlier
responsa (ibid. no 56). Please see both responsas mentioned above for a
more complete background.

Eitan's first point raises 2 issues:  1) one should consult a LOR for
specifics.  I fully agree and I believe that this forum is not
dedicated to practical applications of halacha. I would not have posted
R. Feinstein's responsa if the question had not been raised.  2) "other
poskim have no doubt written on the subject and Rav Moshe's teshuva may
not be indicative of where the halachic consensus lies". This is an
open-ended statement and can be misleading.  The question raised
involves serious issurim and I have cited a prohibition from one of the
(or the) foremost and universally accepted poskim of our time.  If
Eitan can provide us with other sources or indicate where the halachic
consensus lies, please do so. I apoligize for any misunderstanding.

Mayer Danziger


From: <fishbane@...> (Zvi Basser)
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 93 09:02:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Martyrdom

Even if a ben noah tries to get klal yisrael to give up mitzvot one must
martyr themselves. Besides christian worship/ shituf/ is certainly
avodah zarah for a jew even if it is permitted to a non jew. The sifre
cites the addition of of the zekenim to the greek targum of the Torah--
leavdem-- and it comments lehavi et hamishtatef. -- it is like
worshipping stars and God together. Tosafot is very liberal in tractate
SAnhedrin by saying that a noahide may take an oath and mention God and
some other "being" even though a Jew may not.

zvi basser


From: Dr. Moshe J. Bernstein <mjbrnstn@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1993 09:19:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rashbam on beginning of Bereshit

  While the story about the Rashbam on the beginning of Bereshit being
censored because of _vayhi erev vayhi boker_ is still around, it
probably isn't true.  In point of fact, there is only one (!) manuscript
of Rashbam's commentary on the Torah and it is damaged at the beginning
and at the end (where MSS tend to be damaged).  Thus Rashbam's
commentary to the first several _sidrot_ was not available to the
publishers of mikraot gedolot through the centuries.
  The comments of Rashbam on Bereshit 1 survive on a single page in a
different manuscript (if my memory serves me correctly, Munich #5, a
Rashi manuscript) which was available to David Rosin who published the
good edition of Rashbam's commentary in the 1880s.  The comments printed
after chapter 1 through the end of _Lekh Lekha_ are gathered from other
places in Rashbam's commentary.
  Incidentally, while Rashbam's comments on Bereshit 1:5 make a very
strong peshat argument for his reading, see the attempts of R. David
Zevi Hoffmann in his commentary on Bereshit to reject them.

Moshe J. Bernstein


From: <dic5340@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 93 13:41:41 -0500
Subject: Understanding the Holocaust

I won't even try to answer the points raised as to whether or not God
willed 6 million people to die, or any of those other points that Mr.
Fiorino raised, but I will make a few more general statments:

1) The Holocaust was men slaughtering men.  Man was created with free
   will, and this includes the freedom to choose to perform such
   attrocities.  And the world had the freedom to stand by and watch it

2) How can any human being understand the reasons God had for bringing
   the Holocaust to Europe?  No human being will ever know the sins and
   mitzvot of the victims.  (And I include the over 5 million non-Jewish
   victims as well as the 6 million Jews.)  No human being will ever
   know what was in the hearts and heads and souls of the victims.  No
   human being will ever be able to know what the world would have been
   like had these attrocities not occurred.

   For all we know, the world today would have been a much worse place
   had these events not occurred.  But who alive can say?  Certainly not
   anyone alive today.

3) Perhaps it was a necessary step towards the Redemption.  The Torah
   talks about all kinds of terrible things that will happen before
   Moshiach arrives.  Perhaps this was all of them rolled up together?
   Again, nobody can say with any certainty.

In other words, I think it is futile to reason about the Holocaust.
Until God reveals Himself to mankind and we can ask Him directly, these
lines of dicussion really will not bear any fruit worth eating.

 David Charlap

From: dca/G=Andy/S=Jacobs/O=CCGATE/OU1=<DCAALPTS@...> (Andy Jacobs)
Date: 30 Nov 93 12:12:54 GMT
Subject: Re: Understanding the Holocaust

> From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>

I agree with Eitan's conclutions, that we cannot think that we
understand G-d, and that we should pray for G-d's mercy.  However, I
disagree with some of the statements made early in his posting in
v10n35, and in an earlier posting (which I cannot quote exactly).

In a previous posting, there were references to the Rabbi's (at the time
of the Holocaust) beeing either RIGHT or WRONG.  In that posting, it was
clear that a decision that resulted in longer life was considered
"RIGHT", where one that resulted in a shorter life was considered

In his most recent posting (as of this writing) he writes:

> On the other hand, if one means it was G-d's will that 6 million die in a
> more specific sense, in the sense that G-d willed or desired that 6
> million particular individuals should meat a cruel and inhumane end -- I
> cannot accept this understanding of G-d's will because it means that G-d
> is evil.

To comment first on the earlier posting, I can easily think of a case
where it would not be "WRONG" to decide to shorten one's life.  There
are three specific cases where one is required to give up their life
rather than violate a commandment.  For example, someone threatened to
kill Someone1, if Someone1 didn't kill Someone2.  In this case Someone1
is required NOT to kill Someone2, even if it means Someone1 will die.
If Someone1 were to ask a Rabbi, the Rabbi would have to tell Someone1,
to let themselves be killed.  Whould such a Rabbi be "WRONG?"

In Eitan's second posting, he claims that he cannot accept a situation
where G-d willed someone to be killed, on the grounds that it would mean
that G-d was "evil."  With my same example, I would claim that G-d
intended Someone1 to die.  But I would not claim that this makes G-d

So far I recognize that I have used a hypothetical situation.  I have no
knowledge if such an event ever took place.  I also realize that (in
some minds) there is a difference between having one death and having 6
million deaths.  So I will conclude by stating my personal belief that
the more one suffers in this world, but "deserved" better, the more one
will be rewarded in another world.  Because I am taught that the reward
in that other world will be greater than in this world, I can find
comfort in thinking that those who died in the Holocaust are receiving a
greater reward than they would otherwise have received.  This way of
looking at the Holocaust makes it appear that G-d was actually rewarding
those who followed in his ways.  This hardly makes G-d appear to be

 - Andy


End of Volume 10 Issue 45