Volume 10 Number 53
                       Produced: Wed Dec  8 19:54:49 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Chanuka Lighting
         [Zvi Basser]
Codes in the Torah
         [Marc Shapiro]
Divine will
         [Yitzchak Unterman]
Order of Mishnah Megillah
         [Malcolm Isaacs]
Responsa on Music
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Small Cattle  (v 10 #42)
         [Neil Parks]
Statement of Rav Waldenberg Shlita
         [Jeff Mandin]
         [Yechiel Pisem]


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 93 18:11:47 -0500
Subject: Censorship

        Marc Shapiro notes in a recent posting that he was asked to
censor R. Yechiel Weinberg's letters, but refused. This may seem, at
first, a meritorious attitude, and so seemed to me, but, upon some
reflection, seems, in fact, somewhat improper (unless..., see below). 
Assuming Rabbi Weinberg zt"l, who died in in 1966, did not authorize
the full publication of his letters, in 1993, what right do we have to
publish his letters period? Even if we do publish them, surely
sensitive material which a reasonable person sees as controversial,
offensive to some, or simply clearly not meant to be broadcast, should
logically be excluded? I heard some years ago that some publisher
published the intimate letters of the CHiDA zt"l to his wife, despite
the fact that these obviously were not meant to be published, and
aroused a furor... What is the unless? If R. Weinberg in fact left
directives to publish his letters, I withdraw this criticism.


From: <fishbane@...> (Zvi Basser)
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 93 09:27:16 -0500
Subject: Chanuka Lighting

The custom is that at least all males, if not females too now, light
hanuka lights separately in separate oil/candle holders and make
separate blessings. These latter are lit for the sake of beautifying the
mitzvah, much in the same way that on the eighth day of hanuka (eg) the
first candle lit of the eight is the major mitzvah while the others in
the menorah are minor in comparison and the blessing should preferably
be made upon the first. Why then do we not simply have the family join
in the blessings of the first lit candle --"the praise of the king is in
many joining people joining together"-- as we do in kiddush and light
the other menorahs without pronouncing any blessings since they are for
hiddur-extra purposes anyways? Why should everyone make a separate
blessing as is now the custom and not wish to fulfil the main
commandment and its blessings with the lighting of the first candle lit
in the house?

zvi basser


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 93 10:58:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Codes in the Torah

As for codes in the Torah, there are a few things which must be noted.
First, the codes are there. They have been documented and anyone can
examine the evidence for himself. However, the real question is what do
these codes tell us. It is incorrect to say that codes have not been found
in other works. The nature of numbers are such that it is not difficult to
find extensive patterns which defy imagination and are statistically near
impossible. At the beginning of this century there were a number of books
written to show that Bacon wrote Shakespeare. These books made use of the
most fantastic codes throughout Shakespeare's writings. Anyone looking at
them will be struck by the sheer improbability  that they were placed
there unintentionally. In fact, most would say that it is impossible for
this to have occurred. And yet it did. Bacon is not the writer of
Shakespeare despite the hundreds of secret codes which say he is. This is
the first point, namely, that you can always find codes if you know what
to look for.
	The second point is more significant. I still do not know what the
codes show. The Torah we have is not a letter perfect text. It is not the
Torah which Rashi had, it is not the Torah which R. Akiva had, and it is
not the Torah which Moshe Rabbenu had. It is also not the text which
contemprorary Yemenites use. Therefore, the codes are being carried out on
a Torah which is not the orgiinal Torah. Granted, a case can be made that
God wished us to find the codes in our Torah's but from the people I have
heard they claim that the codes prove the divinity of Moses' Torah.
Apparently the people carrying out the code experiments are unaware of
the fact that until the invention of printing some 500 years ago there was
not one Torah text. Rather, there were different traditions. Our text is
based on the Spanish tradition exemplified by R. Meir Abulafia. The
Ashkenazic tradition was different and there are many disputes between
them in matters of maleh and haser. Even R. Meir Abulafia was confronted
with differences and he had to make decisions. Will someone then please
explain to me why the codes are valid if they are based on the decisions
of Ramah (which differed from Rashi).
	Before people attempt to deal with this question I suggest they
study the history of the trasnmission of the Biblical text, particularly
the Masoret Seyag la-Torah of Abulafia (just reprinted and avalible at
Bigeleisen) Lonzano's Shtei Yadot, and Norzi's Minhat Shai. One must also
see Goshen-Gottstein's writings on the development of the Tiberian
Masorah. Our text is based upon the Tiberian Masoretes, not the
Babylonians. One final point, it does not make any sense to say we have
the Masoretic text. The term Masoretic text is not found in traditional
Jewish terminology. It is an invention of printers and has no real
meaning because there is not one Masoretic text. Every text with Masoretic
notes is a Masoretic text, the two most famous being Ben Asher and Ben
							Marc Shapiro


From: Yitzchak Unterman <Yitzchak.Unterman@...>
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 93 10:21:45
Subject: Divine will

I refer to Hayim Hendeles' story (in Vol10 No.45) regarding my
grandfather (Rav Unterman z"l) and Rav Moshe Feinstein z"l.  I asked my
father whether he thought the story was true and he said that it was
unlikely, as my grandfather paskaned extensively on questions of
medicine, and in particular the saving of lives, himself.  Besides, he
did not refer questions to Rav Moshe z"l.

On the subject of saving of lives, I note that there has been discussion
regarding the saving of a non-Jewish life on Shabbas.  My grandfather
published an article on this very topic.  As far as I remember its
thrust was to allay the concerns people have expressed in these columns
regarding the philosophical basis of the dispensation permitting the
saving of the life.  I cannot at the moment remember where this article
was published or what it was called.  I do remember though that I saw in
one of Rav Chaim David Halevy's (Shlita) books that he found my
grandfather's article unconvincing.

On the topic of the Holocaust and G-d, it has always puzzled me why
there is more concern over this than over any bad event that happens to
a good person.  Indeed in relation to the Holocaust, it is easier to
explain. The event began as punishment (whatever "punishment" means) for
the sins of the generation or previous generations.  Once it was decreed
that punishment should be meted out then the whole Jewish people
suffered.  Chazal state that once the angel of death has been given
permission to smite, it does not distinguish between a tzaddik and a
rasha.  There is of course much to add to this, but in bare outline this
seems to me to be a perfectly acceptable explanation.


From: <M.Isaacs@...> (Malcolm Isaacs)
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 93 18:12:11 -0500
Subject: Order of Mishnah Megillah

I've noticed that the order of the 3rd and 4th chapters of Megillah in
all the Mishnah editions I've looked at is reversed in the Bavli.  Has
anyone any explanation for this?



From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 93 18:11:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Responsa on Music

Mayer Danziger wrote

> Eitan Fiorino raises 2 points regarding my original posting of R.
> Feinstein's responsa prohibiting religous music. 

Actually, I wrote in response to the person who responded to Mayer's
original posting, who asked many questions along the lines of "Do I need
to stop listening to composer X or Y?"  I felt that it was important to
make the point to this particular person, and to the list as a whole, that
a second hand report of a single teshuva was not enough of a basis to
start making such decisions.  See the introduction to the index of igrot
moshe for a strong warning against using igrot moshe as a new shulchan aruch.

> 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.

Again, my point was not to argue with Mayer or with Rav Moshe's teshuva,
or to provide alternate sources.  I don't know anything about this issue. 
I just wanted to point out, for the benefit of the person who responded to
Mayer's posting obviously concerned about the possible consequences of his
listening habits, that the report of a single teshuva is *very* different
from a survey of the responsa literature by a competent rav whose intent
it is to issue a psak.  I, for one, was very appreciative of Mayer
bringing Rav Moshe's teshuva to my attention, and it is a perfect starting
place for anyone interested in investigating this topic.

> I apologize for any misunderstanding.

Apology accepted. :-)

Eitan Fiorino


From: <neil.parks@...> (Neil Parks)
Date: Wed,  8 Dec 93 01:46:00 -0500
Subject: Small Cattle  (v 10 #42)

  > From: Jack A. Abramoff <71544.2433@...>
  > Subject: Berochos: Eclipse of the Moon
  > tractate Sukah 29a.  The Gemorah (talmud) cites four reasons for an
  > eclipse: 1) people engaging in forgery, 2) bearing false witness, 3) the
  > breeding of small cattle in Eretz Yisroel (the land of Israel) and 4)
  > the cutting down of fruit trees.

Numbers 1, 2, and 4, I understand.  But what are "small cattle"?


From: Jeff Mandin <jeff@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 93 13:29:47 -0500
Subject: Statement of Rav Waldenberg Shlita

Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...> writes:

>      Which brings to mind a beautiful and to my mind very relavent
>comment made by Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg Shlita regarding Rav Moshe
>Feinstein zal with whom he had a lengthy give and take on the question
>of grounds for abortion: "I Deeply love Rav Feinstein - but I love truth

Interestingly, this expression has its origin in a statement ascribed
to Aristotle: "amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas" (I love Plato
but I love truth more).  In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle writes
"Both are dear to us, but it is our sacred duty to honor truth more
highly(than friends)".  Martin Ostwald writes that the "amicus"
statement probably originated in a 13th century Latin biography of


From: Yechiel Pisem <ypisem@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 1993 20:49:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Tefillin

Well, Arthur Roth posted in #42 regarding a shas hadchak by tefillin. 
In fact, the halacha is that if one can't retain a clean body or is a
"mitztaer" (in pain--possibly part of shas hadchak) he may not wear tefillin.
Yechiel Pisem
(The B"H future Talmid Chacham)


End of Volume 10 Issue 53