Volume 11 Number 11
                       Produced: Thu Jan  6 23:11:13 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Centrist-Haredi Dichotomy
         [Susan Slusky]
Definition of Gadol
         [Zishe Waxman]
         [Harry Maryles]
One man's Gadol is another's ?
         [Avi Weinstein]
R. Stern's sefer in YU beis midrash
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Rav Shach
         [Sam Gamoran]
Talmid hakham test
         [Elhanan Adler]
The Rav and the Rosh Yeshiva
         [Ben Berliant]


From: <segs@...> (Susan Slusky)
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 93 09:30:47 EST
Subject: Centrist-Haredi Dichotomy

I take exception to the following statements, which I find insulting:

From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
(I must emphasize the word *proper audience* in the above paragraph.  If
the audience of mail.jewish consists primarily of so-called centrists,
this would hardly be the proper audience to explain the Chareidi

If the only people you can convince are those who already agree with
you, then your arguments are not very convincing. This is what the goyim
call preaching to the choir. If it's something in particular that makes
Haredi points of view incomprehensible to centrists, then take heart,
there are left-wingers, Conservatives, Reform Jews, and Hasidim on m.j
who will provide you with feedback on your viewpoints.

Susan Slusky


From: <waxman@...> (Zishe Waxman)
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 93 16:31:30 -0500
Subject: Definition of Gadol

How about the following attempt at defining "GODOL": 

1. Moshe Rabeinu was a GODOL
2. For every x and y, if x is a GODOL and holds y to be one
   then y is a GODOL.

This seems to have some advantages: it is in agreement with the description of 
the transmission of the masora given in masechta Avos, and it captures the 
intuition that "it takes one to know one."

An interesting implication is that one can't be a GODOL in a vacume.

Zishe Waxman   


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Harry Maryles)
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 93 13:37:50 -0500
Subject: Gedolim

My name is Harry Maryles.  As a member of Rabbi Yosef Bechhofer's Daf
Yomi, I Have been able to read some of the postings of M. J. which he
has printed out and brought to shiur. I've asked to post my own views on
his computer and he has graciously allowed me to do so.

[Note from  Yosef  Bechhofer:  I  will  forward  hard  copies  of 
any responses to allow Harry to respond to this posting as well.]

     In light of references to certain individuals as gedolim and "not
gedolim" and also in response to an earlier question as to what
constitutes a Gadol Hador, I thought I would offer what I consider to be
the necessary qualifications of a Gadol Hador.  I hope this stimulates
discussion or debate and helps crystralize what a gadol hador is or
should be.  Please feel free to criticize, add to, or delete from my
     Here are my qualifications: 1. High degree of intelligence 2.
Highest degree of ahavas and yiras shamaim 3.  Highest degree of
integrity...4. a certain degree of humility 5.complete knowledge of shas
and rishonim 6.complete knowledge of shulchan aruch and early achronim
(i.e. shach and taz etc.)  7. ability to paskin new sheilos and to be
mechadesh new "torah" (with accomplishments in at least one of these two
areas) 8.  working knowledge or high degree of familiarity with secular
disciplines 9. knowledge of current events, especially their impact on
klal israel 10.  acceptance of points 1 through 7 about such an
individual by a majority of his peers (i.e.  roshei yeshiva and other
poskim) 11.  to be "the" gadol hador, one would need, additionally,
acceptance by the majority of bnei torah* as "the" gadol hador
 *bnei torah as defined in this context is: all sincere members of
the Torah world-left to right,  Y.U.  to  Lakewood,  chasid  to 
misnagid, sefardi to ashkenazi, students, bal  habatim,  rabbis.  (I 
hope  I've covered everyone.)
  Things not included in this definition are: 1.  personality type 2.
popularity of his political opinions 3.  popularity of his teshuvos.  4.
acceptance by "only one segment" of bnei torah as a gadol hador.
             p.s.  It might be argued that one might not find anyone
alive today that has all eleven qualifications, and since every
generation has it,s gedolim it becomes necessary to eliminate or modify
one or more of the above mentioned requirements.  Which one(s)?  again
please feel free to comment/criticize.
    Also, please feel free to nominate any contemporary individual if
you feel he fulfills or comes close to fulfilling all my requirements.
Harry Maryles


From: Avi Weinstein <0003396650@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 93 16:31:38 -0500
Subject: One man's Gadol is another's ?

I once heard an interpretation that we would do well to keep in mind.
On the statement that, "Talmidei chachamim marbim shalom b'olam" (Torah
scholars increase peace in the world) I have been told that this is
proof that our Sages had a great sense of humor.

In the beginning of the Tractate Ta'anit (7-8) there is a fascinating
discussion which acknowledges the inherent conflict between passion and
civility.  The Tzurba D'rabbanan (literally "scalding rabbis") are
excused for their incivility, because it emanates from passion and
caring and it is distinguished from narcissistic incivility.  In this
context Torah is likened to fire, but it is also admitted that only the
waters of Torah can be transmitted and received and that requires the
drinker of waters to go to a low place.  One is urged to have a fire in
the belly, while still being required to drink and produce waters to
another.  Humility is therefore revered while passion is understood as
necessary. The perpetuity of Torah depends on both the fire and the
water and the Sages were aware of this.  They were also aware that the
ultimate goal of Torah is to bring peace.  The Even Shlomo which is
attributed to the Vilna Gaon likens Torah to rain, some things flourish
from it while others rot.  Learning Torah according to the GR"A can make
the good better and the bad worse.  Intentions cannot be legislated, and
God's law in the wrong hands is easily manipulated.  The paradoxical
paradigm that emerges requires those who are civil to work on their
passion and those who are scalding to be tempered with civility.  How do
we drink the waters without extinguishing the fire?

I wonder.

Avi Weinstein


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 93 16:31:45 -0500
Subject: R. Stern's sefer in YU beis midrash

Marc Shapiro wrote:

> By the way, even though [R. Moshe] Stern says its forbidden to read
> Bleich, Bleich does quote [R.] Stern.

I believe that R. Stern's sefer in which he attacks the Rav and calls him
an apikorus can be found on the shelves of the YU beis midrash.  THAT is
the kind of tolerance and respect that we should expect from ourselves,
even if we can't expect it from others.



From: gamoran%<milcse@...> (Sam Gamoran)
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 93 01:36:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Rav Shach

In V10n100 Hayim Hendeles writes:

	Had the original poster asked why the leading Torah scholar of
	our generation has taken such apparently extreme positions - IN
	OUR OPINION - then these are valid questions for the *proper*
	audience to attempt to answer. There is certainly plenty to talk
	about, and even a partial response to this question would be
	quite illuminating. I can guarantee you that this would open up
	horizons that never even occured to the original poster in his
	wildest dreams!

	(I must emphasize the word *proper audience* in the above
	paragraph.  If the audience of mail.jewish consists primarily of
	so-called centrists, this would hardly be the proper audience to
	explain the Chareidi viewpoint.)

Why not?  Even Marc Shapiro writes (in the same issue) that the tone of
his article against Rav Shach was out of line.  I hope that this
experience will cause all of us to have proper kavod even in

While the majority of this list's subscribers may be quote-unquote
"centrists" (I'm not sure what this term means - but for now I'll use it
to mean "not-Chareidi") I believe this forum exists just so we can
exchange ideas.  If you are not willing to explain the Chareidi position
- how can I possibly be influenced to accept it?

Make no mistake about it - I consider myself far more to the left, but I
am eager to learn and, I hope, open-minded enough to possibly change my
views (and surely become more tolerant of other viewpoinbts through
understanding).  Aren't we *ALL* here to learn from each other?



From: <ELHANAN@...> (Elhanan Adler)
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 93 00:59:42 -0500
Subject: Talmid hakham test

"Talmid-hakham Test"

I have often wondered how to understand the statement of Rabbi Hanina
"talmide hakhaim marbim shalom ba-olam". Does he mean:

a) Talmide-hakhamim *increase* shalom in the world

(factual statement - therefore anyone who decreases it is presumably not
worthy of the title)

or, b) Talmide-hakhamim *should increase* shalom in the world

(implying that this is not the actual situation but a ideal to be strived for)


* Elhanan Adler                   University of Haifa Library              *
*                                 Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel          *
*                                 Tel.: 972-4-240535  FAX: 972-4-257753    *
* Israeli U. DECNET:      HAIFAL::ELHANAN                                  *
* Internet/ILAN:          <ELHANAN@...>                          *


From: Ben Berliant <C14BZB@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 93 16:31:32 -0500
Subject: The Rav and the Rosh Yeshiva

	The juxtaposition of todays' issues, containing both Israel
Botnick's comments on "The Rav and the Rosh Yeshiva" and Morris
Podolak's comments on "Gedolim", reminds me of a story related to me by
my father, Ztl.  It also relates to Eli Turkel's excellent article on
Daas Torah, which I fetched and read from the MJ archives.

	My father got semicha from RIETS in 1929 (in the pre-YU,
pre-Soloveitchik era) and for many years was the Rabbi of a shul in
Queens.  (I will observe his 23'rd yahrtziet on Shabbat Parshat
B'shalach).  He took very seriously his responsibilities as Mara D'asra
(leader of the community).  He did not hesitate to pasken halacha
(that's what the Yoreh Yoreh on his semicha meant).  On occasion, he
would consult with one of his colleagues or, more rarely, one of the
gedolim of the era (usually Rav Henkin, Zl).

	On one occasion, he had a particularly knotty problem,
(involving abortion, if you must know).  He went to the Yeshiva to
consult with Rav Shatzkes, Zl.  The two of them reviewed all the
relevant sources and discussed the interpretations thereof.  Finally, my
father turned to Rav Shatzkes and asked, "Nu, Rebbe, so what should I
do?".  Rav Shatzkes shook his head and replied, "Am, I the Mara d'Asra
here?  I'm only the Rosh Yeshiva.  You're the rav!  You decide!"

	And so he did.
					BenZion Berliant


End of Volume 11 Issue 11