Volume 10 Number 62
                       Produced: Mon Dec 13 19:29:45 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
An interesting thought on the Holocaust
         [Robert J. Tanenbaum]
Children of Amalek
         [Neil Parks]
Expulsion of Jews
         [Robert Israel]
Headstone for Grave in Berlin
         [Chavie Reich]
         [David Sherman]
Mormons and Genealogy
         [Janice Gelb]


From: mljewish (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 93 19:12:59 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

The Chanuka party went very well, I think, and I'm glad I got a chance
to meet a few of you who were only logins before. Since the "magic"
number of 1000 as the number of subscribers to mail-jewish came up, I
thought that I would let you all know that we crossed the thousand mark
on Friday.

A few general policy notes:

Bounced Mail: If I get repeated mail from a site saying that you are
unknown user, then I will drop you from the list. If you suddenly stop
getting mail for more than about 4 days, I would suspect that you have
gotten dropped from the list. Feel free to check with me if that

Message size and Queue time: I am sort of moving to the following still
informal rules. Messages that are more than 150 lines I will examine
carefully to see if they either should be placed in the archive area,
and a 10 line or so description will go into the next mailing, they
should be sent back to the author to rewrite and shorten, or a few that
I think are worth sending out as is to the entire list will go out. They
may be moved into a sort of lower priority position. Messages that are
between 75 and 150 lines are viewed as "long" postings. Only one mailing
per day will generally have these long postings in them. So
approximately 2 or 3 of these postings can be bundled into one mailing
which will go out in a given day. If I have two days of such postings in
queue, then I will try and send a mail message back to any new long
submissions that it will be 3 or more days before the submission is
used. "Regular" submissions, i.e. those less than 75 lines will make up
the remaining max of 3 mailings per day, with those that are are 15
lines or less usually going out with one or two days, even when things
get busy. For information purposes, right now I have 3 75+ line
submissions and 1 150+ line submission.

These numbers and rules are not hardfast in any way, but I'll try and
see how it seems to work out. As always, I am interested in hearing your

Happy Chanuka

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: <btanenb@...> (Robert J. Tanenbaum)
Date: Thu, 9 Dec 93 09:50:44 EST
Subject: Re: An interesting thought on the Holocaust

To David Charlap,

I think your idea about the Holocaust has merit.
I think all of the "reasons" for the Holocaust have merit.
My problem is that I think that any attempt to find explanations for
the Holocaust does three things:
1. it diminishes and deligimitizes the suffering of those who died or
   went through it
2. it takes the focus away from our own pain at the loss of our brothers
   and sisters
3. it tends to minimize the guilt of the evil perpetrators - who like
   Haman should be forever remembered and forever blotted out

That's why I prefer the formulation by Rabbi Eliezer Berkovitz (Z'Tz'L)
in his book "Faith After The Holocaust" and his other books.  His thesis
is that the Holocaust was the action of men dedicated to evil intent.
The victims were no more nor less "deserving" of this action than any
member of the Holy Jewish people - and others. G-d "permitted" this to
happen because G-d wants a world where people -- even the most evil
people -- have free will to make their own choices and carry them out
even if innocent people suffer.

This approach does the following:
1. it dignifies the victims with their full humanity and holiness as Jews
2. it allows us to feel our own losses
3. it puts the blame entirely on the perpetrators
4. it gives us the responsibility for stopping evil before it spreads

It is clearly within the Jewish tradition to be angry at G-d and to
protest the injustice of His permitting evil to harm innocent people.
G-d is big enough to tolerate our anger.  In fact I would suggest that
He welcomes our anger, because He wants us to have a well-developed
sense of justice, and it is appropriate to rage against the injustice of
the Holocaust.

My faith in G-d prompts me to simultaneously rage at Him for the
injustice (because He is supposed to be Just) and to embrace Him with
the knowledge that He loves us and is the source of all goodness.  My
faith says, despite all the hurt, I will go on and continue loving my
G-d and serving Him to the best of my ability by seeking justice and
tolerance and opposing injustice and bigotry.

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


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

  > From: Jack A. Abramoff <71544.2433@...>

  >                What is very interesting, of course, is the degree to
  > which the WWII Nazis actually considered themselves the direct
  > descendants of the Amaleikim; Julius Streicher's comment about Purim at
  > his hanging provides just one example.

What is even more interesting is the actual connection between the Nazis
and Amalek and Purim.

Megillas Esther, Chapter 9, verses 6 through 12, tell us how the ten
sons of Haman the Amalekite were killed.  Then in verse 13, Esther asks
the King to have Haman's sons hanged.  Why is she asking for something
that seems to have already happened?

In fact, she was not speaking just to King Achashverosh, but was
actually praying to Hashem that in the future, ten more sons of Haman
would be hanged.  And her prayer was answered.

Look at the names of the ten sons, and you will see that three
letters--Taf, Shin, Zayin--are small, while a Vav is large.  The
numerical value of the small letters totals 707, and the large Vav is 6.
This points to the 707th year of the 6th millenium--the year 5707.

Our oral tradition tells us that Haman had a daughter who committed

At the Nuremberg war crimes trials, eleven high-ranking Nazis were
sentenced to be hanged.  One, a transvestite, committed suicide.  The
other ten were hanged on Hoshana Rabbah in 1946--the Jewish year 5707!

I learned all this at Aish Hatorah's "Discovery" seminar.


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 93 04:13:41 -0500
Subject: Expulsion of Jews

In vol. 10 #52,  <dic5340@...> (David Charlap) wrote:

> Historically, every nation that expelled its Jews has collapsed soon
> afterwards.  The best example is Spain, after the Inquisition.

"Collapsed soon afterwards"?  Let's look at some examples.

England expelled the Jews in 1290.  Did England collapse?  As far as I
know, the only major disaster there in the next century was the Black
Death, but that affected all of Europe, North Africa and the Middle

France expelled the Jews in 1394.  If you want, you can relate this to
their defeat at Agincourt (1415) by the English (who, I suppose, had
recovered by that time from their own expulsion of Jews).  But that
proved to be only a temporary setback, as eventually France won the
Hundred Years' War.

Portugal expelled the Jews in 1497.  Portugal maintained substantial
control of trade between Europe and the Orient until the 17th century.
I suppose you could say that the "collapse" was their defeat in battle
against the Moors (1578) and the union with Spain in 1580.

Now for David's "best example".  Spain expelled the Jews in 1492.  In
the next century Spain built up a vast empire in the New World, and in
the process acquired huge quantities of gold and silver.  Spain was the
dominant power in 16th century Europe, especially in the second half of
the century.  Now it's true that the expulsion of the Jews weakened the
Spanish economy, especially the merchant and artisan classes, and maybe
this contributed to Spain's eventually being left behind in the economic
development of Europe.  But there was no collapse, only a decline after
a century of great success.

Every nation has successes and failures.  I simply don't see any
correlation between the failures and expulsions of Jews.  I'm not saying
(G-d forbid) that expulsion of Jews is a Good Thing, but let's not
indulge in too much wishful thinking.

Robert Israel                            <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics             
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Y4


From: Chavie Reich <BANK1@...>
Date: Mon,  13 Dec 93 13:02 +0200
Subject: Headstone for Grave in Berlin

If anybody has any information how to order a headstone for a grave in
Berlin, it would be greatly appreciated. Any fax or telephone number of
a contact in Germany (particularly Berlin itself) would be useful.

Please respond to <bank1@...>


From: <dave@...> (David Sherman)
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 93 01:57 EST
Subject: Midrashim

> From: Allen Elias <iis@...>
> 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...

I recall reading once (anyone know the source?) to the effect that
"someone who doesn't believe any Midrashim is an apikoros, and someone
who believes every Midrash is a fool".  Allen's example above has
revived this issue for me.  We hear midrashim all the time, in divrei
torah, and especially in the stories that our kids come home from day
school with (usually stories relating to the parsha of the week).

I'm never quite sure how to react to these midrashim.  Some of them come
across as so bizarre, and so out of sync with what appears to be the
clear words of the Chumash, that I can't believe them.  (I'm open to
discussing them on this list if people are willing.)  Then again, does
it matter?  If the point of a midrash is to make a point (musar, etc.),
does the historical accuracy matter?

I think it's a given for those on mail.jewish that we "should" accept
what's in the Chumash as literally true, except where it can be taken as
allegory.  Where exactly "should" we draw this line for midrashim?

David Sherman


From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 93 12:42:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Mormons and Genealogy

Mike Gerver writes in vol 10, #17:

>In v10n1, Gordon Berkley discusses the PAF (Personal Ancestry File) software
>produced by the Mormons, and Avi asks whether there might be any halachic
>problem with ordering it. I was concerned about this question too, since the
>Mormons developed this software in order to provide a convenient way for
>their members to enter their family trees into the data bank they keep, as
>a religious obligation.

The Mormons genealogical software may be even more problematic than
indicated here: the reason they keep such detailed records is not just
as a religious obligation for them and their family, but because the
Mormons believe that a convert can also convert their ancestors ex post
facto, and so try to keep detailed records on all people, not just
Mormon families.

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 


End of Volume 10 Issue 62