Volume 10 Number 95
                       Produced: Tue Dec 28 12:57:24 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Getting to know MJ ers
         [R. Shaya Karlinsky]
Kavod and Mail-Jewish
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Marc Shapiro's Submission on R. Shach
         [Elchonon Rappaport]
Rav Shach
         [Arnold Lustiger]


From: mljewish (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 93 12:29:17 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

I am moving a few postings up in the queue, as they respond to a strong
post that went out earlier today. There is a fine line between serious
open discussion and attacking or spiteful non-dialog. Where the line is,
differs for each person. I do believe that each person that has
submitted things, believe they are firmly on the discussion side of that
line. It is my job to try and assess where that line is for the list as
whole and try and maintain the list discussion there. I fully admit that
I do not always succeed. There is also a sort of Catch-22 involved. If
the topic is not that "vital", I will probably be more conservative and
reject for rewrite postings that I think are getting too close to that
line, and can be rewritten without losing what the poster is trying to
say. But when the topic is "vital", and by this I mean it begins to
touch deeply on how we define ourselves as a Jewish Community, the line
starts to get "fuzzier", as different groups draw it in different
places. In addition, I think that frank and open discussion is critical
to us a global Jewish community on some of this subjects. However, that
means that more people will be writing things that "push" the edge of
the line. What is right approach here, only hear what is comfortable to
you, and not know what other parts of the community think, or be
prepared to hear some things that you violently disagree with. There has
to be a line. I fully support that. I do not believe in the "sanctity"
of "free speech" like some members of the ACLU, for example. 

This has been a very volatile topic. Unfortunately, I find that this is
a very devisive issue within the Orthodox jewish community. It is one
that rarely gets discussed, because in any group that I have been in
that is not homogenous, if the topic comes up, one of two things happen.
Either the two sides end up shouting at each other for a while, and then
there is no exchange of ideas between them, or they break up into two
groups of like minding people each of which then proceed to tell each
other how terrible the other is. 

I cannot believe that we cannot move beyond that stage! However it is
clear that it is time to move this discussion away from the "line". The
two "extreme" positions on this topic have been put forth: Rav Shach is
the Gadol Hador and anyone who disagrees with any statement of his is an
apikoris; and Rav Shach, while one of the most knowledgeable people in
Torah and Halakha, acts in an imperious manner with an outlook on life
that is unacceptable so one should ignore all of his statement.

Can we now get on with more reasoned discussions? Do not write to
inflame others! All that does is make more work for me and few people
gain from the discussion. Engaging in the battle of Torah can be done
while still having respect for all sides. Whether it be Right Wing, Left
Wing, Centrist, Chasidish, Litvish, what have you, write with respect
for your adversary. Remember, while s/he is your adversary in this
battle of Torah, s/he is not your enemy, but rather a comrade in arms in
the global battle FOR Torah.

Enough of a soapbox for now, although I have more to say to you all over
the next few days (and then I will sure need this vacation :-) )

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: R. Shaya Karlinsky <HCUWK@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1993 12:27 IST
Subject: Getting to know MJ ers

     Arnold Lustiger, in MJ 10/89 wrote:
>I want to ask public mehila (pardon) from R.
>Karlinsky for an earlier post: Had I known he was a Rosh Yeshiva, I would
>not have addressed him as "Shaya", and I would have worded my post
>differently (it is most impertinent to sound authoritative when
>disagreeing with a Rosh Yeshiva).

     It depends about what we are disagreeing! I suspect that there are
areas where you _are_  more authoritative than me.  Actually, I guess I
subconciously refrained from identifying my position, since I wanted my
postings to stand (or fall!) on their merit, and not receive deference
because of any administrative post I may hold.  After reading some of the
responses (content, but especially the tone) to Rabbi Hirshfeld's letter,
(whom I _did_ indentify as a Rosh Yeshiva) I see that I need not have been
so worried. :-)
     Just a word of perspective that I feel is appropriate. A friend and
colleague who is a bit older than me said a number of years ago about
himself and his position at the time:  It is a sad obervation about the
state of Klal Yisrael when they call me a Rosh Yeshiva.  I all too
frequently feel that it is doubly applicable to me.

>Our moderator tells me that he is considering asking for a short
>descriptive line after our signature (e.g. Arnie Lustiger, Polymer
>Scientist, Exxon Research and Engineering), something I would
>wholeheartedly support to eliminate any future similar paux pas.

     Actually, I had suggested more than that, and for a completely
different reason. I am finding communication through e-mail a little too
impersonal.  I think this is especially true when dealing with Torah
discussions - and I view what goes on through Mail.Jewish as "Harbatzat
Torah."  I had asked for a voluntary paragraph from participants giving a
short bio/background sketch.  Age, married/single, kids, where do you live,
Jewish and secular educational background (BT, Day school, University,
Yeshiva; which  ones?), profession.  It would help personalize a  very
impersonal medium, put postings in a context, as well as make responses (at
least mine) more appropriate.

     Any comments?

[I will propose this formally at the beginning of the next volume, after
Jan 1. My current thoughts are to have this information available via
the archive area. I'm not yet sure on the best way to structure it. A
directory structure and one file per person? One file per letter with
people listed by first letter of last name? Have the name as the header
of each line so that the listserve search command will retrieve it? Feel
free to send me your ideas, we will discuss it a bit on the list next
week, and then I will start to implement something. Mod.]


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 93 20:12:16 -0500
Subject: Kavod and Mail-Jewish

I had a brief comment on a recent posting by Arnie Lustiger:

> Before I start this post, I want to ask public mehila (pardon) from R. 
> Karlinsky for an earlier post: Had I known he was a Rosh Yeshiva, I would 
> not have addressed him as "Shaya", and I would have worded my post 
> differently (it is most impertinent to sound authoritative when disagreeing 
> with a Rosh Yeshiva). Our moderator tells me that he is considering asking 
> for a short descriptive line after our signature (e.g. Arnie Lustiger, 
> Polymer Scientist, Exxon Research and Engineering), something I would 
> wholeheartedly support to eliminate any future similar paux pas.

Having gone through a similar experience arguing with soemone on this list
a while back, I have thought quite a bit about this issue.  I too felt
very badly about having argued publicly, in less than pleasant terms.  As
time has passed, I have realized something very positive about the
relative anonymity of mail-jewish.  I never would have engaged in the
debate in which I engaged had I known beforehand with whom I was debating.
And while I learned a lesson about arguing in a respectful manner, that
was a lesson that should be applied to *all* mail-jewish arguments. 
However, I feel that impolite debate is far preferable to polite
non-debate, and if we start identifying ourselves as rashei yeshiva,
rabbaim, or baal habatim, then I am afraid that the livelyness of the
debate in this forum will be inhibited.  Though I believe in, and try to
practice, kavod haTorah and kavod harav, I feel that in a certain sense
those who enter this forum are mochel that kavod.  I think we would all
find it improper if any of the members of mail-jewish attempted to issue
psak, or argued simply by standing on their authority as rabbaim or rashei
yeshiva (I have been impressed with the fact that in my year+ subscription
to mail-jewish, I don't think I have once seen such an incident).  Similarly,
though it strikes my halachic sensitivities as being improper, I think it
is appropriate to treat all subscribers to mail-jewish as equals -- all
are deserving of kavod, but that respect should be democratic.  Perhaps
our Moderator could alter the "Introduction" he sends out to new
subscribers informing them that they should be mochel on any kavod due to
them as talmidei chachamim before signing  up, and that if they expect to
be treated differently than the "layity" of the list, then perhaps they
should not sign up.  From my observations, this seems to be how most if
not all subscribers to the list operate anyway.

I say all this not as a protest against kavod harav; in fact, it is that
halachah frequently which is the *only* reason I am listening to the rabbi's
speach in shul :-).  Rather, I feel that this forum has been very
successful at judging ideas on merit, not on the merits of those posting,
and this is largely due to the anonymous and democratic nature of email;
to alter this parameter of mail-jewish I feel will have negative
consequences for the entire list.

Any other comments?

Eitan Fiorino

[This polite non-debate - frank discussion - acrimonious lack of kavod
walking the line is part of what I was talking about in my
administrivia. I can and will enforce some of it, but much of it is up
to you, the members of the list, to act in a reasonable manner. Some
modifications to the Intro message are probably in order. Mod.]


From: <ELCHANAN@...> (Elchonon Rappaport)
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 93 17:58:23 IDT
Subject: Marc Shapiro's Submission on R. Shach

"what EVERYONE else is thinking" - did you really consult with ALL of

"with the approval of rabbis" - Oh really?  They approved of the tone

"whom R. Tendler called the greatest Rosh Yeshivah of our generation" -
If true, what an incredible slap at his father-in-law, R. Moshe, "The"
rosh yeshiva.

Even if you are disturbed at R. Shach's positions and actions, your tone
is inappropriate to say the least.  You do more of a disservice to your
position by your lack of kavod than anything your logic might

You asked not to be moderated/censored.  I question whether your posting
merits the privelege.

Elchanan Rappaport


From: <alustig@...> (Arnold Lustiger)
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 93 10:53:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Rav Shach

Marc Shapiro writes:

> I realize that others are afraid to speak out so I will say
>what everyone else is thinking. 

Since I was the one to start the thread regarding R. Shach, I would like
to say that the discussion has clearly taken a destructive direction. In
R.  Shach's teshuva regarding the Rav referred to by Marc, R. Shach
maintains a modicum of respect in referring to him (i.e. the use of
Shlit'a after his name). The Rav on his part was always extremely
sensitive to avoid any opinion which even remotely resembled such an
attack, whether to his left or his right. In contrast to Marc's post,
never did these differences of opinion degenerate to personal attack. R.
Shach's views are indeed most extreme and personally very difficult to
deal with, but in no way does Marc in his post express what I am

Mail.jewish has been perhaps the only forum where honest differences of
opinion could be expressed in the religious community in an open
environment. It is this diversity which has been mail.jewish's strength.
Marc's post unfortunately threatens the delicate dialogue which has been
established. I am afraid that his post may be so extremely offensive to
a segment of that community (imagine if the Rav had been attacked in
this way!) that there may be a tacit withdrawal of that community from
subsequent discussion in this newsgroup.

I sincerely hope that this does not happen, and I wish to express my
sincere regret to those readers that my original post has caused the
discussion to degenerate to this level.

[I know at least a few people may decide to unsubscribe to mail-jewish.
I think we will be returning to more reasoned discussion, even if I have
to force it. Consider staying around for a little longer before making
any final decisions. Mod.]

Arnie Lustiger


End of Volume 10 Issue 95