Volume 10 Number 55
                       Produced: Fri Dec 10  6:14:01 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bontshe Schveig (4)
         [Susan Slusky, Benjamin Svetitsky, Michael Kramer, Norman
Divine Providence (2)
         [Allen Elias, Yosef Bechhofer]
Divine Will
         [Eli Turkel]
Jonathan Pollard (3)
         [Sam Saal, Yisrael Medad, Neil Parks]
Jonathan Pollard & Treason
         [Yisrael Medad]
Young Israel of Phoenix
         [Gary Levin]


From: <segs@...> (Susan Slusky)
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 93 09:32:23 EST
Subject: Bontshe Schveig

The story of the martyr that Eric Davis related is Bonsche Schweig by
Peretz (not Singer, whose middle name is Bashevis not Ben).

I would not regard Bonsche as a model though. I remember hearing a d'var
torah where the theme dealt with not limiting one's aspirations. Bonsche
Schweig came up in the course of things. After all, he could have asked
for Moshiach, but his view of the possibilities was so limited that he
only asked for a bagel mit putter (sorry, not toast and jelly). I agree
with this view of Bonsche Schweig, which by the way translates as
Bonsche the Silent.

Susan Slusky

From: Benjamin Svetitsky <bqs@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 93 13:50:20 -0500
Subject: Bontshe Schveig

I was surprised to see a reference to Bontsche Schveig here.  The story
by I.L. Peretz may be great literature, but it represents an
existentialist approach to suffering which (IMHO) is antithetical to
Jewish teachings from Job onwards.  Bontsche's final request for a roll
with butter is meant to imply that he was able to bear his suffering
because he was brutish to the point of being mentally impaired.
Peretz's angry message regarding the value of suffering and the value of
spiritual strength is obvious.

Ben Svetitsky          <bqs@...>

From: <mpkramer@...> (Michael Kramer)
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 93 16:35:53 -0500
Subject: Bontshe Schveig

Just a note from a picky literature professor: "Bontshe Schveig" was
indeed written by I.L. (or "yud lamed") Peretz, not by I.B. Singer or
Sholom Aleichem.  I recommend it to all who haven't yet read it.  It's
rather short, and so wouldn't involve too much bitul Torah :-).  And I
imagine many mj'ers will find it's hashkafah (philosophical or
theological outlook) intriguing.

Michael Kramer
UC Davis

From: Norman Miller <nmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 93 18:11:16 -0500
Subject: Re:  Bontshe Schveig

Eric Lowell Davis has retold a story by "Isaac Ben Singer" about someone
named "Schlomo".  For the record: he probably meant Isaac Bashevis
Singer.  In any case the story in question was not written by him.  The author
is Yehuda Leyb Peretz and the eponymous character is named Bontshe,
not Schlomo.  As in "Bontshe Shvayg".

Otherwise, kol b'seder.

Norman Miller


From: Allen Elias <iis@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1993 20:18:21 +0200 (EET)
Subject: Divine Providence

Hayim Hendeles asks why Reuven had Joseph thrown into a pit of snakes
and scorpions to save him from his brothers.  The Medrash and Zohar tell
us Joseph and his brothers had supernatural powers. Judah had a voice
which could knock down the walls of Egypt. When Joseph revealed himself
to his brothers in Egypt an angel was sent to protect him from being
killed by them.  Reuven knew that Joseph could well handle himself
against the snakes and scorpions. But he was not so sure Joseph was as
powerful spiritually as his brothers.

Allen Elias

From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 93 18:11:51 -0500
Subject: Divine Providence

I would like to note that the position of the Zohar noted recently at
length by Hayim Hendeles on Reuven and Yosef is briefly summarized
(without, however, attribution to the Zohar) by the Ohr HaChaim al
haTorah there.


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 93 11:57:01 +0200
Subject: Divine Will

     Hayim Hendeles writes:

> Every Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur we solemnly declare that on this day
> it is decreed who shall live and who shall die. Understand it or not, I
> refuse to believe that any of those who perished during the Holocaust
> were decreed for Life on Rosh Hashana.

  I find this hard to accept. Chatam Sofer already points out that one
cannot step in front of a bullet and say that one will survive since
one's survival was determined on Rosh Hashana. God does not (usually)
perform miracles to those that put themselves in danger because they
should have lived through the year. That is why it is generally accepted
that we go to doctors. I just read a statement from one of the spokesmen
for Belz who discusses why they choose to go to the best doctor and not
the most religious doctor.

  In terms of his story with the Ponovizher Rav I heard a sinilar story
with the Tchebiner Rav. He was once extremely sick and the doctors said
he had only a few weeks to live. He gave a special prayer to God (based
on the precedent of King Hezekiah) and fully recovered and lived for
many more years. After that he declared that he would not waste time on
any topic including organizational affairs as he felt that God had
extended his life because of his learning and so that he should devote
himself totally to learning. He felt that his situation after this
miracle was different from the normal rav.

Eli Turkel


From: Sam Saal <SSAAL@...>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 93 18:11:21 -0500
Subject: RE: Jonathan Pollard


>As one who does not support your efforts, let me explain a little more.
>All these other people accused of spying (who got off with light
>sentences) were not citizens of the USA.  When a foreign citizen spies,
>it is espionage.  When an American deliberately violates his security
>clearance and gives secrets away, it is treason and not espionage.

>Jonathan Pollard was not some foreign agent infiltrating an American
>military organization.  He was an officer who swore oaths and signed
>documents stating that he would safeguard the state secrets that he had
>access to.  He violated those oaths and contracts.

The example of the Egyptians may not have been so good.  The Marines in
the Moscow embassy got off with lighter sentences and I daresay the US's
relationship with the USSR was worse (more war-time-like) than with

By the way, Pollard was not an officer.  He was a civilian.  This does
not give him a right to pass documents, but it does not relegate him to
punishment harsher than that given to soldiers above.


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 93 09:00 IST
Subject: Jonathan Pollard

In response to the three postings of V10 No48: Please take notice that
TIME and the NYTimes have come out with insinuations about the damage
Jay caused.  They didn't put him on trial at the time (it was a
plea-bargaining) and he had no chance to defend himself in open court.
Now when the pressure is finally building up to free him, these nasty
anonomous reports surface.  How is he to defend himself?  Is this the
fair, honest way a government or its agents are supposed to act?  Isn't
this indicative of the character of "evil" gov't one should be fighting
and has been evident to those with eyes open ever since he was sentenced
to life in 1987?  and kept in a psychiatric wing for 10 months? and kept
in solitary for 5 years?

Yisrael Medad

From: <neil.parks@...> (Neil Parks)
Date: Wed,  8 Dec 93 01:46:00 -0500
Subject: Jonathan Pollard

  >                               Volume 10 Number 39
  > From: <dic5340@...> (David Charlap)

  > Jonathan Pollard was not some foreign agent infiltrating an American
  > military organization.  He was an officer who swore oaths and signed
  > documents stating that he would safeguard the state secrets that he had
  > access to.  He violated those oaths and contracts.
  > I strongly object to the fact that Jewish organizations think high
  > treason is defensible simply because the information went to Israel.
  > Judaism has never condoned criminal actions, and it should not start
  > now.

I doubt you will find much disagreement on this point.  Many ardent
supporters of the movement to free Pollard say that what he did was
illegal and he deserved punishment.

What he does not deserve is the severity of the punishment.  Spies whose
crimes were much more dangerous to the security of the US received
shorter sentences.  Pollard never betrayed American secrets to America's

He should not necessarily be pardoned, but his sentence should be
commuted to time served.


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 93 08:26 IST
Subject: Jonathan Pollard & Treason

Regarding a previous posting by a David C on Pollard as being guilty
of treason:

Treason is a very definite crime and is described in the Constitution as
aiding enemy in time of war.  Pollard aided Israel in its war against
terrorism when the US Intelligence Services were not fulfilling the
terms of the Executive Agreement signed with Israel in 1982.  If you
consider the previous two statements, either Israel is the enemy or
maybe someone else was approaching treason.  Either way, David is way
off base, in my humble opinion.

Yisrael Medad


From: Gary Levin <levin@...>
Date: Wed, 8 Dec 93 18:12:40 -0500
Subject: Young Israel of Phoenix

It is with great pride and pleasure to announce the opening of the Young
Israel of Phoenix. We are having our first shabbos service on Shabbat

Young Israel of Phoenix
715 E. Siera Vista    Suite #2
Phoenix, Arizona  85014

Happy Hannukah

Gary (Gershon) Levin


End of Volume 10 Issue 55