Volume 12 Number 52
                       Produced: Tue Apr 12 22:51:00 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Devarim shebikhtav
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Holocaust Museum, Washington DC
         [R. Shaya Karlinsky]
Humility - A True Story
         [Shaul Wallach]
Pastoral Care in Israel
         [Joel Goldberg]
Psak and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
         [Fred E. Dweck]


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 1994 11:00:26 -0400
Subject: Devarim shebikhtav

In #42, Eric Safern wrote:

> Gedalyah Berger writes in the Hagaddah issue that Chazal started the
> derashot with 'arami oved avi' because this was required for vidduy
> bikkurim, therefore was explicitly required by the Torah to be said on
> this night, and was therefore permitted despite the problem of 'davar
> shebikhtav.'

I did not say that this parasha is "explicitly required by the Torah to 
be said on this night"; it is not.  I quoted that since it is required to 
be said at a *different* time, i.e., when the bikkurim are brought, 
Chazal felt comfortable choosing it to be said at the seder.

> What I don't understand is, how does *starting* this way then permit the
> reading of *other* pesukim which are unrelated to vidduy bikurim?

I actually thought of the same problem during the seder.  My only answer 
is that I highly doubt that this devar Torah was intended as anything 
more than a "vort" (kudos to anyone who can translate that), and not as 
real peshat.

Kol Tuv,
Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS


From: R. Shaya Karlinsky <msbillk@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Apr 1994 21:19:04 +0300 (WET)
Subject: Holocaust Museum, Washington DC

     It has been quite a while since I have had time to write to
Mail.Jewish.  (I haven't even kept up with reading the issues of the last
month.)  I spent most of January and February travelling (or getting
ready to travel) and with Purim and Pesach preparations I have not had
time to properly thank the people who responded to a number of my queries
in preparation for those trips.
     In particular I would like to thank those who responded to my query
on the Washington Holocaust Museum.  Had it not been for the
recommendations of a couple of MJers, we probably would have passed it
up.  That would have been a mistake.  Thanks to those who convinced me
that it was worthwhile.
     As does everyone, I viewed what was presented with certain biases,
both emotional and ideological.  Having said that, a number of messages
jumped at me very strongly, and I would like to share some of my
reactions, which may serve as a springboard for further thought and
     The fourteen minute film on anti-semitism was unforgettable.  Not
because of any specific thing that was showed, but from the sweeping
historical overview of close to 2,000 years that was presented. When
coupled with what Chazal teach us (Sifri, Bamidbar 9:10) "Halacha,
b'yaduah sh'Eisav sonei l'Yakov," It is "law", that it is known that
Eisav hates Yakov, it painted a clear picture.  For over 1500 years the
Christian world (whom Chazal viewed as the descendant of Eisav and Edom)
opposed us due to our religious and ideological beliefs.  When a part of
the Jewish people began to compromise and abandon those beliefs, whether
for ideological reasons and/or to mitigate the ceaseless isolation of the
Jewish people, anti-Semitism did NOT diminish in any way.  It just took
on new forms and new justifications.  The non-Jewish world would simply
not let us forget that we were different, whether we knew it or whether
we tried to blur those differences.  Our inability to escape anti-
semitism and the new and contorted justifications for it were striking in
the film.  "Am l'vadad yishkon", a nation that dwells apart is our
destiny (Bamidbar 23:9).  I couldn't help thinking further that after 100
years of secular Zionism, one of whose stated aims being to "normalize"
us and make us accepted in the family of nations, nothing seems to have

     A "sweeping overview" of the two decades that Hitler was on the
scene was also very striking.  As presented in the films and historical
overviews, he first appeared as an irrelevant loudmouth.  The detailed
presentation showed a chain of events, both on the global level as well
as on the German level, that contained quite a number of "coincidences"
coming together to propel him to power, and there were countless times
where a very likely deviation from what actually happened would have
relegated Hitler to a footnote of history.  Once he was in power, his
persecution and ultimate genocide of the Jews required many circumstances
- some of them quite unlikely - to converge.  What I saw in Washington
was how all these events came together, in addition to many possible
alternatives which did not come to pass.  It was a Purim story, but with
a tragic ending.  As on Purim, G-d prepared the complex matrix of
elements necessary to form the background to enable fulfillment of the
decree of annihilation. But in contrast to Purim, He didn't step in at
the last minute to move things in a different direction.  The lesson of
Purim, which teaches us that G-d is very much the master of history with
the sometimes subtle ways he manipulates events, should inform the way we
view the history of the twentieth century.
     I know many people are uncomfortable with any implication of
"attributing the Holocaust to G-d."  But IMHO an objective analysis of
what the Torah and Chazal teach us about the events that occur to the
Jewish nation (as opposed to certain events that may occur to an
individual) require that we find His guiding hand every step of the way,
and know that the outcome is both directed and reversible.  This has more
than historical or philosophical significance.  It should inform our
attitude to the present events that are occurring to Jews in Israel and
the rest of the world.  And maybe even affect our actions.

Shaya Karlinsky <msbillk@...>
Darche Noam/ Shapell's
PO Box 35209                  Jerusalem, ISRAEL
tel: 9722-511178              fax: 9722-520801


From: Shaul Wallach <f66204@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 1994 10:17:04 -0400
Subject: Humility - A True Story

     Yesterday I heard this story from the ba`al ma`ase (the person
involved) himself, and as I found it very moving, I thought it would
be worth sharing with other readers as well.

     Many years ago a kolel yeshiva student from Brooklyn happened to
be at Times Square. On the street he saw an elderly man with a white
beard surrounded by some people who appeared to be trying in vain to
give him directions. The man looked Jewish, and the student approached
him to help. Not knowing much Yiddish, and seeing that the man didn't
know much English, the student tried speaking in Hebrew, which the man
knew. It turned out he was from Israel, and wanted to get to Boro Park.

     "Boro Park?" asked the student. "That's where I'm going. Come with

     The student took him to his car, and only by force did the elderly
man let him help with his suitcases. They got going, and on the way the
student talked with the man in an effort to get to know a little about
him. Due to the usual traffic jams, there was in fact quite a bit of
time available, and it readily became apparent that the man was quite
knowledgeable in the Torah. In fact, he was a rabbi and had a yeshiva.

     When the student heard this, he was somewhat put off, and let
loose with a merciless tirade of criticism against the yeshiva heads in
Israel, because they got involved in politics and money matters, etc.,
instead of teaching Torah and spreading faith among the people.

     When they finally arrived in Boro Park, the student was a little
surprised to see his car become surrounded by thousands of people
awaiting the man sitting next to him, and breaking out in dances in his
honor. This was apparently no ordinary Rosh Yeshiva! Then the student
saw signs and banners welcoming the personage. When he read them, the
truth finally dawned upon him who his passenger was. He was none other
than -

     Rabbi Yosef Kahaneman (ZS"L) - head of the Ponovetz Yeshiva!!!
(before Rabbi Shach SHLIT"A)

     Upon knowing this, you can imagine what color the poor student
turned, after having insulted Rabbi Kahaneman so thoughtlessly. He
broke down and cried, and started pleading with Rabbi Kahaneman,
"Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me!" It took a long time for him to
recover from what he had done.

     Rabbi Kahaneman, however, stubbornly refused to forgive him. "I
don't have to forgive you," he said, "because there's nothing to
forgive you for. On the contrary, I have to thank you, because I'm a
man for whom it's hard to obtain musar (chastisement). I invite you -
come with me and criticize me."

     What this story teaches us is that a person whose faith in trust
is strong need not fear criticism. If the criticism is correct, then he
will have no trouble accepting it and mending his ways accordingly. And
if it is wrong, then he will likewise have no problem in refuting it. So
either way, it is easy for him to receive criticism from others without
taking offense, but patiently and humbly. This is the path of our
righteous and pious sages of blessed memory, may their merit watch over
us, Amen!

Shaul Wallach


From: <goldberg@...> (Joel Goldberg)
Date: Mon, 4 Apr 1994 10:00:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Pastoral Care in Israel

  <n.bonner@...> (Nadine Bonner) wrote:
>                                     As an aside, David's contention that
> parents are required to stay with children 24 hours a day is as he says
> "nonsense." At least at Hadassah, where we were locked out of the [cancer]
> ward at night and forced to sleep on the floor in the hallway if we wanted to
> stay with our daughter.  We were also locked out when the cleaner washed
> the floor -- despite her constant screaming for us. 

   When my wife gave birth at Hadassah Har Hatzofim this past November, the
  staff were very accomodating. (At the risk of repeating what I've written
  before) my wife has cerebral palsy, cannot peform any personal tasks,
  is confined to wheelchair, etc. We were given a room with two beds and I
  was present on the ward full time. I was also given a pass so that I could
  come and go from the ward outside of visiting hours, when required.
  Of course, we didn't go in cold. We spoke with the hospital social worker
  beforehand and arranged everything. 

  The hospital is benignly neutral to religious Jews. There were many, many
  religious women on the ward, as well as some religious nurses. As others
  have noted, shabbat meals were offered by a "travelling Rav" who came around
  on Friday. More importantly, there are families in the area who will provide
  a shabbat pied-a-terre for husbands and others.


From: Fred E. Dweck <71214.3575@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 1994 05:20:47 -0400
Subject: Psak and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach

Rabbi Adlerstein writes:

<<<Surely you must be unaware that the "guy" who issued the psak about not
observing aveilus for a cremated relative was Rav Shlomo Zalman 
Auerbach, Shlit"a.  While there may not be an official Numero Uno Posek 
of the World, in a forced choice question as to the most respected 
halachic decisor of our time, Rav Shlomo Zalman would likely get the 
most votes.>>>

It would seem that it depends on whether one is Sephardic or Ashkenazic.
My vote and that of most Sepharadim (The majority of Jews in Israel)
would be overwhelmingly in favor of Rav Ovadiah Yosef!! I would bet he
would also get a healthy portion of the Ashkenazic vote, which would
then give him an easy majority. Unortunately, (or maybe fortunately) the
position of "Posek" is not by popular vote. It is by very deep and wide
knowledge of Torah, Talmud, Rishonim and Aharonim.

He writes further:  <<< Asking for another opinion when a particular decisor
doesn't know all the facts - either the existence of other valid  halachic
arguments, or all the parameters of individual feelings, mitigating
circumstances, etc. that also enter into the halachic process - does have
validity.  But these considerations  hardly apply when one deals with the
handful of world class poskim who stand at the very top of the halachic

Anyone who is as familiar with "She'elot Utshuvot" (respnosa) as Rabbi
Adlerstein is, surely knows that the greatest "world class posek" makes
mistakes.  I am not saying that I disagree with the pesak. I have not
read it in its entirety to be able to make a decision on that. However,
I am saying that to accept *any* posek blindly is only for "Amie
Ha'aretz" (ignorant people). (Rabbi Adlerstein please don't take the
above personally. I hold you in very high esteem.)

The good Rabbi writes further:
<<< Part of kabalas ole [accepting the Yoke of Heaven] is recognizing 
that the Ribbono Shel Olam asks us to do things that we find 

May I ask, where in Torah, (as opposed to "Divre Hazal") except for Yom
Kippur, does he find that Hashem asks us to do things that we find
uncomfortable. My understanding is quite to the contrary. The Torah
tells us: "You should be happy in your holidays", "you should call the
Shabbat pleasure", "you should choose life", Etc. We find in Halacha
that one is absolved of doing a mitzvah if it is very uncomfortable.
(See halachot tefilin, succah, etc. ad infinitum.)  I think it would
behoove Rabbi Adlerstein, and all modern day rabbis to teach this
concept, rather than that Hashem would want that we be uncomfortable.
The unfortunate result of such teachings is the many "Humrot hamevi'im
lide kulot" (stringencies which bring one to improper leniencies) which
we witness today.  The entire concept of the Torah, as given to Moshe on
Sinai, is that we should view it as the best possible way to live. The
happiest way to live! As I teach my talmidim, The Torah is the
manufacturers instructions to the user, of how to use and derive the
most benefit and pleasure from His product (creation).

I do not quite understand the "shayachut" (connection) of the following,
with the above: <<<Contrary to current rumors, a woman who wishes to
have an affair with another man cannot find halachic sanction by selling
her husband to a goy.>>>

I have never heard this rumor. It would be very interesting to hear the
sources for such a heter. <grin> I know many women who would be

Kol Tuv! 

Fred E.(Joey's father) Dweck 


End of Volume 12 Issue 52