Volume 11 Number 13
                       Produced: Fri Jan  7  8:17:08 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia - Update on Sam Goldish's Medical Condition
         [Dan Goldish]
Gadol Hador
         [Mechael Kanovsky]
Gedolim & Achdus
         [Yankee Raichik]
mail.jewish and Rav Shach
         [Sam Saal]
         [Bob Werman]


From: Dan Goldish <GOLDISH@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Jan 1994 12:43:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia - Update on Sam Goldish's Medical Condition

[This is an edited copy of some mail Dan Goldish sent me that I tought
would be fine to share with the list. Avi Feldblum, Mod.]

Thanks for distributing Art Kamlet's notice about Sam Goldish's recent
heart attack and get-well wishes. I mailed him a copy of the issue
wishing him a refuah shlemah, which my mother will bring to the hospital
for him to read, b'n.

To answer your inquiry regarding an update on his condition, I'm glad to
report he's scheduled to return home from the hospital tomorrow, bezras
Hashem.  He had the angiogram as Art Kamlet reported as well as the
balloon angioplasty procedure which opened a couple of the larger
arteries by about 30%.

 May Hashem restore him to good health, a refuah shlemah.  

[I'm sure that I speak for the whole list when I say that we all echo
your Tefillah. Mod.]


Dan Goldish
(a.k.a., "Son of Sam" 
   Sam Goldish, that is!)


From: <KANOVSKY@...> (Mechael Kanovsky)
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 94 17:34:03 -0500
Subject: Re: Gadol Hador

My rosh yeshiva used to joke about the term "gadol hador" as if one had
a "gadolmeter" that you plug in a name and the needle registers 8.7 in
the gadol scale.
	Other than the sanhedrin there is no isur in disagreeing with
any rav as long as you can back up your argument in the proper way.
Calling anybody a gadol hador and therefore not being allowed to argue
with his opinions causes closedmindness and also causes people not to
study an issue since rav so and so said something. This is true on a
question regarding things like kashrut or shabat and it is especialy
true when the question has to do with a way of life. Judaism calls for
personal responsibility and I think it is obligitory on each jew to
learn as much as he can in order to know what to do.
	The way many "mefarshim" explain the mishnah in tractate Avot,
"aseh lechah rav" (make for yourself a rabbi) is not take down the phone
number of the local rabbi so you could ask him questions, but, choose
for yourself a rabbi who will teach you how to learn so if in the future
if you have any questions you could look them up for yourself.
	This of course has nothing to do with the respect that one
should have for gedolim big and small. Even if one learned only one
thing from somebody that according to one opinion in the gemarah is
enough to obligate that person to render his cloths when he hears that
the person who tought him that one thing died.  

mechael kanovsky


From: <raichik@...> (Yankee Raichik)
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 94 13:25:50 -0500
Subject: Gedolim & Achdus

I am a bit hesistant to throw my 2 cents worth into the issue of Gedolim
primarily because I am a born & bred Lubavitcher and have my own strong
opinions on Rav Shach and the entire controversy. It is interesting that
the Litvish world has basically grafted onto their Roshei Yeshiva the
Chassidish outlook on a Rebbe (the main flash-point of the Vilna Gaon's
attacks on Chassidim). Dov Krulwich writes in Vol11#7:

>Fourth, I have never heard a comment reliably attributed to R' Shach
>that insults the personal integrity of the Lubovitcher Rebbe.  I have
>heard R' Shach refer to those who believe the Rebbe to be Moshiach as
>kofrim [heretics], which I agree is very strong, but it is not an attack
>on the Rebbe himself.  He didn't put the Rebbe in Cherem, or call him a
>kofer, or anything else like that.  If anyone has attributed quotes, I'm
>sure they'll post them.

Dov, first he has personally attacked the Rebbe. Second, I hope no one
posts any quotes because it will serve no purpose except to pour more
gas on a fire that should never have been lit. When this discussion of
Gedolim started, I saw it going exactly the direction it took. Lets all
for the sake of achdus and peace stop talking about living
contemporaries and trying to defend them.  If the person in question is
a genuine giant of Klal Yisrael then he does not require any help from
us. Lets move the discussion to where it started, a generic discussion
of what makes a person a Gadol. In this vein, I strongly agree with
Michael Kramer:

>Perhaps (and I must admit that I suspected this would be the case) there
>are no clear, undisputed answers.  Even if we all accept certain
>criteria as the sine qua non of gadlus (e.g., as my friend Harry Weiss
>suggests, extraordinary halakhic expertise and unimpeachable character),
>still we do not agree as to whom these criteria apply nor, more
>importantly (I think), do we understand how the criteria are applied.

However, IMHO his closing suggestion: 
>instead of saying that "R. Ploni is (or is not) a gadol," let's say "R. Ploni 
>is recognized by __________ as a gadol"
is an [definitely unintended] invitation to further the divisions among us 
into based on whom we recognize. 

I noticed recently mentioning of "tolerance". Basic Ahavas Yisrael is
not IMHO tolerance. Tolerance means enduring a situation even though it
causes us anguish and discomfort. If that is how we relate to another
Jew who doesn't agree with our opinion 100%, then shame on all of us.
Ahavas Yisrael means loving a fellow Jew DESPITE his perceived failings.
If all we can hope for is a low standard of tolerance then we are
heading toward deepening tribal divisions and ir-repairable harm to Klal
Yisrael chas veshalom.

One last point: I live in Crown Heights. During the pogrom of Aug 1991 I
lived 200 yards from the epicenter of the troubles. My wife and then 5
month old son ate matzoh and mayonnaise for 3 days. (The grocery stores
were sporadically open and we couldn't get to them). I was "zocheh" to
see from my window Al Sharpton Yemach Shemoi lead a march of 200 animals
betzuras adom waving billy clubs screaming "Kill the Jews" through the
streets and no one stopped them.  During this time a friend from Boro
Park called me and said that the night before in Lakewood after Maariv
the entire tzibur said tehillim for the yidden of Crown Heights. Rabbi
Moshe Sherer of Agudah, who was never known for his love of Lubavitch,
worked day and night contacting influential people to force the city to
end the pogrom. Satmar Chassidim came from Williamsburg to help patrol
the streets and escort people home at night. My point is that at some
point (hopefully sooner) we have to remember whom we really are - Bnei
Yisrael - the Mamleches Kohanim and Goi Kadosh. Believe me, you don't
want to wait for Al Sharpton and Lou Farrakhan Yemach Shmom to remind

To end on a humorous note, I heard that Moshiach came and he wanted
everyone to know he is here. He noticed a man walking with a Kippa
Seruga so wanting to fit in, he got one walked into the first shul he
found and announced, "I am Moshiach and I'm here". Well, the people
looked at him and said "No you're not, where's your black hat and black
yarmulka." So he got a black hat and yarmulka walked into a Chassidish
shul. They said where's your streimel. He got a streimel walked into a
Lubavitcher Shul. They said where is your pinched hat. He gets the
pinched hat and went to a modern orthodox shul. They wanted a Kippa
Seruga. So he gave up. Then everyone went running to him to come back.
And he answered, "You don't want a Moshiach, you want a yarmulka".

Yankee Raichik


From: Sam Saal <SSAAL@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jan 94 09:30:00 PST
Subject: mail.jewish and Rav Shach

>Esther Posen wrote:

>> If this forum is to be a bastion for Centrist Orthodoxy I clearly do not
>> belong.  If it would like to appeal to the few of us right wingers who
>> have the time, access and interest to belong it will need to show as
>> much respect to the "right wing" gedolim as it requests for its own.

>I think this forum is not "supposed" to be anything.  Though the crowd
>seems to be somewhat Centrist, there does seem to be quite a mix.  Thus,
>the number of postings, which give the overall character to the list, may
>tilt that way, but, in theory, that shouldn't make a difference when the
>issue is kavod harav.

We tend to skim the posts expressing an attitude similar to our own.  We
focus, and expend more energy, on the differences which is why Esther
senses a Centrist bias and I sense a strong right-wing presence.  I hope
all points on the spectrum see the benefit of reading posts from other

Sam Saal
Vayiphtach HaShem et pea ha'atone


From: <RWERMAN@...> (Bob Werman)
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 94 13:04:44 -0500
Subject: Rav-Muvhak

The position of the gadol and my place in Judaism.

I would like to bring up a new thread that spins out rather naturally,
it seems to me, from the heated and even acrimonious discussion of
gadlut [greatness?] now taking place in mail.jewish.

Since what I have to say does not seem to have been voiced in
mail.jewish or anywhere else that I know of, it may be my particular
problem and of no interest to anyone else.  And yet, in my almost 65
years, I have discovered that I am never alone in my responses; there
are always others.  It is only that times I am the first to voice the

And what is the problem?

My problem is that I have never been able to find a Rav, a Rav muvhak.
I am a shomer mitzvot and am accepted, it seems to me, in the orthodox
community I live in as a Jew in every sense, if a bit peculiar, but
there are far more peculiar members of the community than I am.  I have
known some of the rabbonim referred to in the discussions as g'dolei dor
and listened to them and observed them and admired them but none of them
has enlisted my allegiance and obedience.  I have a lovely rav schunati
[neighborhood rav] whom I love and admire and rarely ask shaylot of.
But he too is not my rav, let alone my Rav.

Can I really be a good Jew without a Rav?  I once asked that as a shayla
of a very learned man, no longer with us, and he answered, "Just as it
is now possible, with the aid of books, to learn g'mora today without a
teacher or a hevruta, perhaps it is possible to be a Jew , too, through
study alone, today."

This is not a clear answer and I am not sure that I am a good Jew, but I
am not a bocher, nor am I young and it is a burning matter, for I will
die, sooner than later, lo Aleichem [may this fate not be yours for many
years], and I would certainly like to die thinking that I died a good

What is my problem?  Gayva [arrogance]?  Perhaps?  I do not know.  I
have a long history of iconoclasm, although I have avoided voicing such
feelings about rabbanim.  And if I was an iconoclast as a young man, I
much less of one, now.

I can appreciate the greatness of the g'dolim and sometimes I can see
human faults in them too that are not easy to explain away as meant for
the benefit of Klal Yisra'el.  But even when I do not see such faults I
do not find myself ready or able to treat the gadol with the respect
that others seem to do.  Oh, do not get me wrong.  I am not
disrespectful and I may even be unusually polite and considerate to them
in my contacts -- but there is a part of me that always holds back.

I would like to know if there others in my boat or if readers know of
others.  And if I am to be reproved and condemned, let me hear why and
what is the nature of my crime.  Is it moral stinginess?  For those who
would instruct me, I forgive any harsh words that may be directed at me,
may-rosh [in advance].  Thank you.

__Bob Werman


End of Volume 11 Issue 13