Volume 10 Number 65
                       Produced: Wed Dec 15  1:03:18 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Censoring the Rav (!!)
         [Freda Birnbaum]
G-d and Evil
         [Meylekh Viswanath]
         [Bennett J Ruda]
Mormons and Geneology
         [Sam Gamoran]
         [Danny Skaist]
Rav Shach on Mizrachi Yeshivot
         [Bob Werman]
         [Jonathan Katz]
Snakes & Scorpions
         [Ben Berliant]
When Does a Gezara Apply
         [Morris Podolak]
When Does a Gezera Apply?
         [Anthony Fiorino]


From: Freda Birnbaum <FBBIRNBA@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 93 18:44 EDT
Subject: Censoring the Rav (!!)

In V10N56, Eli Turkel says regarding censorship:

>    I just wish to point out that some form of censorship is practiced
>by all different communities. Rav Soloveitchik dedicated his essay
>"Lonely Man of Faith" to his wife Tonya. The Hebrew translation "Ish
>Ha-emunah" left out the dedication. I have heard rumors that the
>translators (or publishers) felt that it was inappropriate for a gadol
>to acknowledge his wife in a serious piece of work in spite of the fact
>that Rav Soloveitchik himself put in the dedication.

If that is true... allow me a question.  Which is worse, the sloppy
scholarship/intellectual dishonesty/unfairness to the reader, or the
disrespect and chutzpah to the Rav?  Did they really think it was
appropriate for them to be passing judgment on the Rav like that??

How can anybody expect to engage in serious intellectual or halachic
discourse and meddle with sources like that?  (Cf. also the "My Uncle
the Netziv" discussion and related matters.)

Questions are rhetorical, I suppose.  Can anyone offer a justification
for this behavior?

Freda Birnbaum, <fbbirnbaum@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: <VISWANATH@...> (Meylekh Viswanath)
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 93 10:38:52 -0500
Subject: G-d and Evil

Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...> says:

>For me, it is unreconcilable to hold that G-d both willed torture and
>death for His people and mourned it at the same time.

Is that not what happenned with the Egyptians?  Isn't that why we do not
say a full hallel on the last days of Peysakh?  

In what sense can we say that God wills one thing, and not another?  To me,
it is obvious that both good and evil have to come from God.  Our
understanding of good and evil is such that ascribe to them certain
characteristics.  Can we demand that good and evil have the same 
characteristics from the viewpoint of God?  I find that not too far from 
a 'humanization' of God.  We cannot grasp the nature of God.  (However,
this does not mean that we are not permitted to think of good and evil
in terms that we can understand.)

Meylekh Viswanath (<viswanath@...>)


From: <bruda@...> (Bennett J Ruda)
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 93 09:19:02 -0500
Subject: Midrash

In connection with David Sherman's comments about Midrash, I believe the
quote about people who take Midrash literally vis-a-vis those who reject
it totally is the Rambam, I think in Perek Chalek.

There is an article on the general topic of Midrash and the selective
use of it in teaching in an article in The Jewish Observer May 1993
issue in The Use of Midrash in Adult Education by Rabbi Abraham Hassan
and Rabbi Moshe Kupetz. They go into greater depth of the opinion of the
Rambam and the general selectivity of what kinds of Midrash can be used
and with which kinds of audience, particularly in kiruv.

Bennett J. Ruda        || The World exists only because of
SAR Academy            || the innocent breath of schoolchildren
Riverdale, NY          || From the Talmud 
<bruda@...>  || Tractate Shabbat


From: gamoran%<milcse@...> (Sam Gamoran)
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 93 09:19:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Mormons and Geneology

Janice Gelb writes in vol 10 #62
> 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.

So what?  Dead or alive - what meaning do we ascribe to someone
'converting someone else' ?  If a Jew, rachmana litzlan, converts himself
to Mormonism that is something to deal with - but if someone else tells
me that *I'm* a Mormon - or whatever - it doesn't change who or what I am.
Kal v'chomer (surely) a dead ancestor remains what he/she always was from
their deeds during their lifetime.


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 93 09:19:41 -0500
Subject: Rainbow

>Jack A. Abramoff
> Unlike the rainbow, which is a sigh of Hashem's
> covenant with the Jewish people,...

Is this true ? I thought that it was a sign that hashem is angry with
the world and the rainbow is to remind him of the covenant with the
whole world, (all the children of Noah).

That it means "If not for the promise that I made to Noah (as signified
by the rainbow), I would destroy the whole world again."



From: <RWERMAN@...> (Bob Werman)
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 93 13:07:28 -0500
Subject: Re: Rav Shach on Mizrachi Yeshivot

The newspapers have made much of R' Shach's lionizing the late Shlomo
Lapid, z"l, one of the two victims, together with his father, of the
terrorist attack on the Harsina Crossing in Hebron.  This alleged illui
came from a Mizrachi Yeshiva backgound and applied to Ponevitz; he was
rejected out of hand and insisted on being examined in extenso; when
examined he was found to be truly exceptional and this was reported to
R' Shach who asked to meet him.  According to the newspaper accounts R'
Shach put on his coat to meet the young man.  When questioned about this
action, R' Shach is alleged to say that he must honor someone who is
liable to be a gadol b'torah.

For those who do not know R' Shach, reading his letters as mentioned by
others is a good introduction.  He is motivated by what seems a single
impulse -- the recreation of a Yeshiva world to compensate for the loss
of European Judaism.  In this enterprise he has been very active in
encouraging Sephardi yeshiva youth of promise despite innate prejudice
against them in the Ashkenazi camp; this has helped establish his
position -- until recently -- as the moral leader of Sha"s, the Sephardi
religious political party here.

__Bob Werman


From: Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 93 01:48:16 EST
Subject: She'hechiyanu

While making the She'hechiyanhu bracha on the first night of Chanukah, I
was reminded of a question I have had for a while. Why is this bracha in
the plural? I understand the use of the plural in "public" blessings; i.e.
if the bracha is said when lighting a menorah in shul (this is not the best
example, but I'm sure you can think of others), but what about when lighting
the menorah in one's own home? Aside from the fact that it is grammatically
incorrect, it seems strange to be referring to people who are not in the room.
Actually, my real question applies to the she'hechiyanu made at "private"
occasions; i.e., when eating a fruit for the first time, or putting on new
clothes. In these cases it seems more logical to change the bracha to
the singular form. Any ideas/comments?

Jonathan Katz
410 Memorial Drive - Room 251B
Cambridge, MA 02139


From: Ben Berliant <C14BZB@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 1993 10:08:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Snakes & Scorpions

	Some of the recent postings on midrashim wondered about why
Reuven threw Joseph into the pit if there were snakes & scorpions there?
In the spirit of Chanuka, I offer the following dvar Torah, taken
largely from the Torah Temima at the beginning of Vayeshev.

	The Gemara in Shabbos 21b brings two ma'amarim in the name of
"Amar Rav Kahana Darash Rav Aba bar Minyomei mishmei d'rav Tanchum".
The first ma'amar says that Ner Chanuka which is higher than 20 Amot is
Pasul; the second is the midrash about "v'habor reik, ein bo mayim".
--(that the pit was full of snakes & scorpions). The Torah Temima tries
to find a link between the two statements, in the following way:
	Reuven's goal was to save Yoseph's life.  That goal would not
have been served if Yoseph was killed by the snakes & scorpions.  So TT
argues that Reuven couldn't see the snakes.  And TT claims that the verb
"Vayashlichu" implies 20 amot. (He gets that from vayikra 1:16
"V'hishlich otah .. el shefech hadeshen").  Based on this, TT concludes
1) that the pit was 20 amot deep, 2) that 20 amot is beyond range of
normal vision, and 3) therefore Ner Chanuka cannot be placed above 20
amot. QED.

Happy Chanuka
Happy Rosh Chodesh

BenZion Berliant


From: Morris Podolak <morris@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 93 06:18:21 -0500
Subject: When Does a Gezara Apply

Rick Turkel writes:

> In m.j 10#50 in his discussion of the mitzva of yishuv haaretz [living
> in the Land of Israel], Moshe Podolak states that certain halachic
> rulings are not binding today since the reasons behind them no longer
> exist.
> If that is a valid position, then why does it not apply to the taking of
> non-prescription (i.e., non-life-preserving) medicines on Shabbat?  The
> original reason given for that halacha is that the preparing of
> medicines is forbidden because of the processes involved in that
> preparation (grinding, etc.).  However, in our times almost all such
> medicines are purchased before Shabbat in relatively stable form and
> need not be treated in any way before use.  Therefore, the original
> prohibition should not apply, yet many still say it is forbidden.  Can
> anyone enlighten me on this issue?

You have to be careful here.  There is a whole question of when one can
change the ruling that had been previously accepted.  The issue is
discussed in many places under the heading of "ain beit din yachol
levatel bit din chavero".  In the specific case of the Tosafot in
Ketubot 110b we are talking about a case where one who lives in Israel
is doing a mitzvah, period.  Tosefot is just saying that in their time
there were difficulties in getting to Israel in the first place, so that
people didn't do it.  They did not make a halachic ruling not to live
there.  All I pointed out was that today there is no longer the
impediment to keeping the mitzvah.  There is no question of a halacha
not being binding because the reasons have changed.  The mitzvah of
living in Israel was always effect, it was just a matter of whether it
was practical or not.  A similar argument can be applied to Rabbeinu
Chaim, but I think I've made my point.


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 93 12:42:09 -0500
Subject: When Does a Gezera Apply?

Rick Turkel asked about grinding medicine on shabbat, and how to
understand when a particular takana still applies.  Several months ago,
in the discussion of whether a bicycle could be used on yom tov, the
following solution was proposed to this type of question in general (ie,
if the reason no longer applies, does the gezera still apply?): if the
reason(s) for the gezera is given with the gezera itself, then it can be
assumed that the two are intimately connected, and if the reason no
longer apllies, then the gezera no longer applies.  But, if the
reason(s) are not given in the same place as the gezera, then it cannot
be assumed that the reason(s) is/are the only reason(s) for the gezera,
and in this case, even if the reason(s) are no longer relevant, one
cannot ignore the gezera.  If I recall, this explanation was quoted by
Aliza Berger in the name of Rav Moshe, and by me in the name of Rav
Schachter.  I would like to see some good examples and, if any,
counter-examples, of this idea applied.

Eitan Fiorino


End of Volume 10 Issue 65