Volume 11 Number 22
                       Produced: Mon Jan 10 22:16:48 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Mail Jewish MinHaShomayim
         [Pinchas Edelson]
Understanding and Peace.
         [Michael Lipkin]


From: Pinchas Edelson <Edelson@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 94 17:43:10 -0500
Subject: Mail Jewish MinHaShomayim

	I first would wish to relate a Chassidishe Torah regarding 
technology. That is, that all inventions and discoveries made in this 
world are decreed from Shomayim. Furthermore, that the ultimate purpose 
of these inventions and discoveries is for the sake of Torah and Yisroel. 
One may interpret this to be an extrapolation of maamarai Chazal (sayings 
of our sages): That all is in the hands of Shomayim except for the fear 
of Shomayim (Brachos 33:2), and the creation of the world, braishis (in 
the beginning) is  - bais raishis (the letter bais - two, beginnings). 
One for the Torah which is called raishis (Braishis Rabbah 1:4), and for 
Yisroel which is called raishis (Vayikra Rabbah 36:4).
	I wish to further extrapolate on this by saying, that the 
invention of computers and networking them is then ultimately for the 
sake of Torah and Yisroel. Furthermore, is there anywhere else on the net 
where more Jews from all over the earth correspond with eachother to 
learn Torah than this list ? One may conclude from this that the entire 
internet may have been created ultimately for the sake of Mail Jewish 
(are you still seated ?). One can only think how we are being watched 
from Shomayim with anticipation as to how we will use this ability which 
was not available to earlier generations. Adom HaRishon could see from 
one end of the world to the other, but he had no one to post email to. We 
should consider ourselves fortunate. How then should we feel when such on 
important discussion as who is a Gadol breaks down into simple political 
squabbles. This list is the only place where ALL types of Orthodox Jews 
can intelligently discuss sensitive matters which we might never discuss 
in person. 
	I do not condone the prospect of censorship for publicly known 
facts about any 'Gadol'. These people are more under the public eye than 
you or I, and they must demonstrate a higher level of character than the 
average Jew. If any of us were told by Hashem to speak to a rock to bring 
out water instead of striking it as before, and we struck it instead, we 
would not be punished as severely as Moshe Rabbeinu was. I am referring 
to the recent postings questioning the behavior of some 'Gadolim'. It is 
our duty to discuss these issues intelligently without anger for one 
another, and it is not wrong to raise such issues if they are done with 
the proper respect deserved to all the parties involved. There is nothing 
wrong with posting facts, and our own observations and conclusions are 
permitted if they are represented with derech eretz. This is even if they 
may be distasteful to others, so long as they are presented in a manner 
that the matter is still open for discussion. What we should avoid is 
pure ignorance and arrogance where one is neither asking for an answer 
nor making an intelligent comment to which one may respond, but only 
trying to insult and anger others. 
	We learn in Sefer Melachim that Yeravam ben Navat made a strong 
verbal attack on Shlomo HaMelech when he married the daughter of Paroh 
with an excessive ceremony the evening the Bais HaMikdosh was completed, 
drank wine, and slept four hours into the day until his mother was called 
to wake him up. This resulted in the korbon tamid being brought after 
four hours into the day on the day the first Bais HaMikdosh was 
dedicated, since Shlomo HaMelech held the keys to the gates. Also that he 
closed one of the entrances to Yerushalim which his father Dovid HaMelech 
made for those coming up to the shalosh regalim (yomim tovim) and built a 
palace for the daughter of Paroh. Yeravam ben Navat was not punished for 
rebellion against a King, on the contrary, Hashem instructed the Novi 
Achiah HaShiloni to proclaim Yeravam ben Navat as King over ten of the 
shvatim, which he merited because of his verbal attack on Shlomo 
HaMelech. This is all stated in the gemarra Sanhedrin (101:2 - 102:1).
	It appears that in trying to define Gedolim some of us have begun 
from the bottom upwards, that is,  beginning with our generation instead 
of with Mattan Torah. The precedence for starting with Mattan Torah is 
the beginning of the Mishna Pirkei Avos: Moshe Kibel Torah MiSinai... 
Even though there were many Gedolim not mentioned in the Mishna, we may 
still learn which order we should proceed in. Seder Torah Hu Torah (the 
order of Torah is also Torah).
	One may ask, if there were many Gedolim not mentioned in the 
Mishna, what do we call those who were mentioned. Of course, those 
mentioned in the beginning of the Mishna Pirkei Avos are Nasiim (and 
Zugos), but still there were those quoted (later on) who were also 
Gedolim. The Jewish people were blessed with so many Gedolim in those 
times that only the greatest of them could be recorded in the Mishna. I 
therefore wish to coin a term called Gedolei Gedolim which is not 
reserved only for one who holds the title Nasi.
	Going back to the time of Moshe, we must first recognize that 
from Mattan Torah began a period of prophets which lasted one thousand 
years, into the first generation of the Second Bais HaMikdosh. There were 
other prophets who were leaders of the people under the direction of 
Moshe Rabbeinu, these would be the Gedolei Gedolim of that generation. We 
also find others who are identified as a Gadol B'Torah, but do not have 
the leadership status of the Gedolei Gedolim. One such example of this 
may be Korach. The leaders of the generation were all ballei Ruach 
Hakodesh and great Tzaddikim in their own right, and this was apparently 
the rule not the exception.
	From the death of Ezra began a new period of Jewish leadership. 
The era of the Prophets officially ended, and from Shimon HaTzaddik began 
the Chachamim of the Mishna. Chazal say in Bava Basra (12:1) From the day 
the Bais HaMikdosh was destroyed prophecy was taken from the prophets and 
given to the Chachamim. The Maharsha in Bava Basra explains that this 
refers to the destruction of the first Bais HaMikdosh. Although we also 
find in Sanhedrin (12:1), and Sotah (48:2), that when Chagai Zecharyah 
and Malachi (Ezra) died Ruach HaKodesh departed from Yisroel, and they 
lived during the first generation of the Second  Bais HaMikdosh. The 
Maharsha explains that this is not to exclude the prophets during the 
seventy years of galus in Bavel and Chagai Zecharyah and Malachi, but the 
remainder of the Second  Bais HaMikdosh period.
	The Maharsha asks, how can Rashi say the gemarra (Bava Basra 
12:1) is saying that prophecy was taken away from those who were not 
Chachamim, but not from the Chachamim, wasn't being a Chacham one of the 
prerequisites for prophecy. The gemarra Nedarim (38:1) says that a 
prophet must be a Chacham ? He answers, that for one to be a prophet on a 
constant basis one must be a Chacham. However, after the destruction of 
the first Bais HaMikdosh, being a Chacham was a prerequisite for prophecy 
even if it was not on a constant basis (also see the Rosh in Nedarim).
	Thus we find that prophecy remained with the Chachamim even after 
the death of Ezra. However, this subject is not so simple, the gemarra 
says in Sanhedrin (12:1) and other places that Ruach HaKodesh departed, 
but they could still receive a Bas Kol, and that Hillel was worthy that 
the Shecina should dwell upon him like it was upon Moshe. Also it says 
that the Shecina should dwell upon Shmuel HaKatan. The Maharsha in 
Sanhedrin explains, that this does not mean that the Shecina did not 
dwell upon Hillel or Shmuel HaKatan. The gemarra here in Sanhedrin even 
gives an example of prophecy by Shmuel HaKatan were he tells of the ten 
Chachamim who would be killed by the Romans during the reign of Hadrian. 
According to this, some Chachamim heard a Bas Kol, and some said actual 
prophecy. We know that the Tannaim and Amoraim were ballei Ruach Hakodesh 
and great Tzaddikim in their own right. There were also many others 
during their time who were Gedolei Torah but they were not mentioned.
	The gemarra Bava Basra 12:1 quoted above continues by saying that 
a Chacham is greater than a prophet. The Maharal M'Prague in his 
Chidushei Aggados on Bava Basra Chelek 3:61 explains this concept. The 
Maharal says,  that a novi is someone who knows something which no one 
knows.  Furthermore, what difference does it make whether or not it is 
something in the future if it is hidden. In addition to the novi 
receiving his prophecy from Hashem, the Chacham is also told things by 
Hashem which no one knows. Even though the Chacham knows the thing in his 
intellect, it is not something which his intellect reached on it's own, 
rather it is something which Hashem made known to him, and he is 
therefore a novi. The reason the gemarra says that a Chacham is greater 
than a prophet is that the prophet receives his prophecy the form of 
visions and examples, but the Chacham comprehends the thing (directly 
and) clearly. The Chacham also knows future events, and if he is a 
Chacham and a Gadol he can know future events more than a prophet. This 
is since nothing happens by accident, everything is arranged and 
organized before Hashem, therefore the Chacham also knows future events.
	Thus we find that although the period of prophecy ended prophecy 
did not end. The reason prophecy did not come in a direct message to all 
of Yisroel as before was that prophecy now came to the Chachamim through 
his intellect as the Maharal describes. This is not to say that Moshe 
Rabbeinu did not also have these qualities, Moshe also had both aspects 
of prophecy. However, in general the prophecy of the period after the 
prophets is referred to as Ruach Hakodesh, allthough within this there 
are many sub-levels, some closer to actual prophecy and some not. 
	There are many stories where we hear of the Ruach Hakodesh that 
the Rishinom and many Achronim had. Also, we find this in reference to 
deciding the hacacha itself. The Ravad disagrees with the Rambam in 
Hilchas Lulav ch. 8 halacha 5 and states explicitly that he has received 
this answer by Ruach Hakodesh. Nevertheless, the Magid Mishna is not 
satisfied and quotes the Ramban regarding this halacha. Furthermore, the 
Rambam writes in his Iggeres Teman that prophecy will return during the 
fifth millennium (at a date which he specified). Therefore, there is no 
reason to rule out a novi (in the simple sense of the word) appearing 
before the coming of Moshiach.
	In the sefer Shairis Yisroel in the beginning of the Drush 
L'Sukkos, it is written in the name of the Rivash, "That all of the 
chiburim (i.e. seforim or commentaries) until the Maharsha were written 
with Ruach Hakodesh".  R. Shalom DovBer of Lubavitch said in the name of 
R. Schneur Zalman of Liady Baal HaTanya and Shulchan Oruch (Sefer 
HaMaamarim 5672 Chelek 3: p. 1385), "That all of the chiburim (i.e. 
seforim or commentaries) until the Turei Zahav and the Sifsei Cohen 
including them were written with Ruach Hakodesh". Afterwards only some 
seforim were written with Ruach HaKodesh.  R. Levi Yitzchok Schneerson, 
the father of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita (may Hashem grant him a 
speedy  and complete recovery) wrote in a letter (266), "All of the 
seforim written by Chachamim who were Tzaddikim, who learned Torah Lishma 
(for it's own sake)... all of them Hashem actually said and in those words".
	There were quite a number of the Achronim in the nineteenth 
century who were ballei Ruach Hakodesh. Also, there were great Talmidei 
Chachamim of this period who were not on this level. This does not take 
away from their greatness, or from the importance of their writings. 
However, we must make some kind of distinction for those who were great 
Talmidei Chachamim and ballei Ruach Hakodesh. I have thought of the term 
Gedolei Gedolim for this, but that is not the only descriptive term which 
could be used.  In the later nineteenth century, and into the twentieth 
century there were less Talmidei Chachamim, and especially ones who were 
ballei Ruach Hakodesh. This is even to the point where the idea of 
someone being a baal Ruach Hakodesh is foreign to many Ashkenazic Jews. 
Among the Sephardim this was not such a foreign idea. 
	It is perhaps in this environment, where Ruach Hakodesh in our 
time  is foreign to many, that the concept of Daas Torah was born. This 
is apparently not exactly the Daas Torah to which the Semag referred, but 
perhaps an extension of it. This does not mean the advice of a Talmid 
Chachamim and Yiras Shomayim is not worthwhile if he is not a baal Ruach 
Hakodesh, I simply wish to bring a greater perspective to who is a Gadol 
in our generation. This is a relative term, we do not compare ourselves 
to the generation of Rabbeinu HaKodosh. Also we must look at a bigger 
picture when we ask questions such as what is Rabbinic Authority or 
infallibility. None of us turned away from the words of R. Moshe 
Feinstein because he was not a novi. Is it proper to have expected him to 
be one. 
	A Talmid Chachamim has our respect whether or not he is a novi. 
Perhaps the situation in our generation itself is a sign that Moshiach is 
about to arrive. The Targum Yonasan ben Uziel on the first posuk of 
Megilas Ruth says that in the history of the world there would be ten 
famines. All ten are described, some of them in the days of the Avos. The 
tenth famine which is before the arrival of Moshiach, however, is not a 
famine of food, but a famine of hearing words of prophecy from Hashem.
	May Hashem grant the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita a speedy and 
complete recovery, and may we merit the complete and true redemption 
through Moshiach Tzidkeinu speedily in our days.


From: <msl@...> (Michael Lipkin)
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 93 09:51:52 -0500
Subject: Understanding and Peace.

In MJ 10:94, Matthew Ian Tigger Subotnick writes: 

>Isn't, excepting history and inbred racial intolerance, the whole reason 
>jews have been persecuted for so long, that there was the holocaust, that 
>there is daily bloodshed in our homeland, isn't the primary reason a lack 
>of understanding and a will to live in peace with those who are different 
>than us?

IMHO, NO! With all the probing, sensitive, intellectual, recent discussion
regarding the holocaust it seems strange that someone could casually pose
such a query.  Hitler had a keen understanding of Judaism.  I don't think
it would have been beneficial for him to understand us any better!  Also,
many of the "enlightened" Jews of pre WWII Germany had Matthew's "modern"
outlook.  They overflowed with understanding for their German bretheren.
All they wanted to do was live in peace with their neighbors. Not exactly
what they looking for, was it?

>Even mainstram commercial Christianity has valuable lessons to teach jewish >children, (mind you they only echo teachings that you learn every shabbat), >these are the belief that community and family are important, that there is a >good reason and purpose in fulfilling your spiritual needs.

If, as Matthew correctly states, our children can learn these things from
Judaism, why on earth would we allow Christianity, with all of it's negative
baggage, enter our childrens's lives?  

>How much more pleasant it is to grow together, to study our rich heritage,
>and those of other cultures and religions ...

IMHO, Matthew has presented a recipe for assimilation. The reasons our
sages set up so many laws to prevent us from becoming overly familiar
with our non-Jewish neighbors seem even more valid today.  I am not intending
to get into the fray discussing our various historical persecutions, but
they do appear to occurr when large segments of the Jewish population make
an effort to "live at peace" through assimilation.

Michael S. Lipkin       Highland Park, N.J.       <msl@...>


End of Volume 11 Issue 22