Volume 12 Number 68
                       Produced: Wed Apr 20 11:56:00 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Baruch Goldstein in Halacha
         [saul djanogly]
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Hebron Massacre
         [Marc Shapiro]
         [Ruth Neal]
Hevron massacre -- repost
         [Joshua W. Burton]
Text of Ad from 44 Rabbis on Hebron Massacre
         [Alan Stadtmauer]


From: <saul@...> (saul djanogly)
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 1994 06:48:34 -0400
Subject: Re: Baruch Goldstein in Halacha

I recently raised 2 questions re.Baruch Goldstein in Halacha and have now
found the answers.

1.In those circumstances where it is forbidden for a Jew to murder a
gentile, does a Jew pursuing a gentile become a RODEF,mandating another
Jew to intervene and even kill him(where no other option i.e.
wounding/disabling exists)?

Answer.No,he does not have the status of a RODEF.See Minchat Chinuch
Mitzva 600.Alef in the new Machon Yerushalaim edition.

2.If a Jew tries to cause(Gramma)the death of another Jew e.g.hires an
assasin does he become a RODEF(even though he cannot be put to death by
the Beit Din)?

Answer.Yes,he is considerd a RODEF.See as above and in note Alef.

I am not sure 2 applies to Baruch Goldstein because

1.He certainly had no intention to cause the death of other Jews by his

2.Provoking reprisals is not a direct causation.Afterall 'Ain Shaliach
Lidvar Aveirah'.It was Chamas who are guilty even if B.G.insructed them
to commit reprisals.

Therefore,it would seem that it would have been halachically forbidden
for a Jewish soldier to have shot B.G.in order to prevent the massacre.

I would also like to raise the question of whether a soldier in the
Israeli army has to follow orders which are against the Halacha?  I
can't see any reason why he should have to.

Please keep any answers halachic.I am not trying to incite Zahal to
mutiny!  Please G-d,this should only be a hypothetical question.

saul djanogly


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 1994 17:12:05 -0400
Subject: Chevron/Afula/Hadera

Joseph Steinberg reacted to my posting about Baruch Goldstein:

> Also, the terrorism that is going on now is in NO WAY the fault of Baruch
> Goldstein. IF there would be a decent Defense Minister in Israel he would
> get the situation under control. Hamas is not killing people because of
> Baruch Goldstein -- they were killing people before as well...

Yes, Hamas was killing people before, but it is obvious that the
escalation of murders during the last couple of weeks, and the more that
is promised, has been a reaction to Goldstein's crime.  Israel has not
seen terrorism on this scale in a while.  I do not understand exactly
how you know that a "decent" Defense Minister would be so successful; no
one until now has been able to put a stop to terrorism.  If you have a
straightforward solution, I'm sure the Israeli government and the rest
of us would be glad to hear what it is.

But to the heart of the issue: You say that the latest murders are in
"NO WAY" Goldstein's fault.  I do not want to get into a semantic
argument over the meaning of the word "fault," so I will just explain
how I see the situation.  I wrote in my original posting, "Of course
there were reasons for his [Goldstein's] actions, but a reason is not an
excuse."  I think the same is true for the Arabs.  They are 100%
responsible and accountable for their horrendous and heinous crimes.
But, they clearly were reacting to the killings in Chevron; Goldstein's
murders clearly were a *reason* (but not an excuse) for theirs.  People
are expected to consider the possible consequences before they act, and
when making such a cheshbon they are not permitted to assume that
everyone will react with careful consideration and moral integrity.
Goldstein could have foreseen, indeed probably predicted fairly
certainly, that something along the lines of Afula and Hadera would
happen; he is at fault even though the Arab terrorists had bechirah
chofshit [free will].  "Ashrei adam mefached tamid umaksheh libo yipol
bera`ah" [Happy is the man who constantly fears, while he who hardens
his heart falls into misfortune] (Prov. 28:14).  The famous gemara in
Gittin (55b-56a) uses this pasuk as a backdrop for the churban [fall of
the Jewish kingdom and destruction of the Temple]; though Bar Kamtza was
clearly responsible and culpable for the horrible calumny against the
Jewish people which he reported to the king, the gemara emphasizes the
fault of Kamtza's friend who did not properly take into account the
possible consequences of his hurting Bar Kamtza's feelings.

> Please do not attack the dead... they have no way to defend themselves.

I will resist typing a long list of dead people whom I am sure you would 
wholeheartedly join me in criticizing.

> And yes, let us remember Baruch for the good he did as a doctor, etc. and
> not for the act he did while he was (probably) a shoteh zmani...

Let us remember both, admiring and thanking him for the very good, and 
resoundingly condemning him for the utterly evil.

Ve'af `al pi sheyismahme'ah achakeh lo bechol yom sheyavo.

Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 1994 09:30:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Hebron Massacre

Ari Kurtz says that is disgusting to say that Baruch Goldstein is
indirectly responsible for what happened in Brooklyn. Disgusting or not,
it turns out that this very point was made by a number of roshe yeshivah
who said that there is no technical question of rodef (vis-a-vis the
Gentiles) involved with Goldstein. Rather, it is obvious that he is a
rodef (vis-a-vis Jews) since his actions will cause Jews to be killed in
revenge and therefore anyone who had been at Hebron during his attack
was obligated to kill him. Rabbi Avraham Shapiro published an article in
Hazofeh a few weeks ago in which he said explicitly that the actions of
Goldstein (and anyone who tries to imitate him) are sakanat nefashot
because they will cause other Jews to be killed in revenge attacks
Marc Shapiro
P. S. For someone to say that R. Zvi Yehudah might have
given his approval to Goldstein's actions shows a woeful lack of
knowledge of what R. Zvi Yehudah was all about. (Rav Aviner, a talmud
muvhak, also has an article in Hatzofeh a few weeks ago)


From: <rln@...> (Ruth Neal)
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 1994 23:47:31 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Hevron

Iyar 8, gevurah she'b'netzach

In a recent post on the massacre in Hevron, Hayyim Hendeles writes:

>To make an extremely complex issue more complicated, one should not
>forget a critical Chazal (found in the Talmud): "One who shows
>compassion on the cruel, will ultimately show cruelty on the
>compassionate." [This regarding Shaul's failure to kill King Agag]

The Chofetz Chaim (in his commentary on the haftorah of Parshas 
Zachor) brings down another aspect of Shaul hamelech's behavior.  He 
asks, why did Shmuel say to Shaul "you did evil in the eyes of Hashem"?  
After all, Shaul did kill almost all of the Amalekim-- if anything, his sin 
would seem to be one of omission, not of actually committing evil. However,   
the Chofetz Chaim points out, since Shaul was commanded to kill =all= of 
them, then by not fulfulling that command, it becomes clear that he 
killed the rest of them not because of Hashem's command, but because of 
his own desire to kill them!  That is called murder, and for that murder 
Shmuel calls him to account, for the evil he did in the eyes of Hashem.

We read this haftorah less than a week before the killings in Hevron.
It is certainly a potent reminder of how very responsible and 
careful we must be when following what we =think= is the proper 
course of action that Hashem wants of us.  Even Nadav and Avihu, who 
were giants in their generation, got it wrong because (say Chazal) they 
did not consult their Rav before taking the action they did.  If they had 
consulted him, they would have had a check against their own perception 
of what would be pleasing to Hashem, and would (most likely) not 
have erred so fatally.

Nadav and Avihu had access (in the person of Moshe Rabbeinu) to the 
highest level of navua (prophecy) ever experienced
by any human being.  Shaul hamelech had Shmuel hanavi as his direct
conduit to the expression of Hashem's will.  And in our poor generation?
Lacking prophecy, we rely on =our= gedolei hador, who still tower as
giants over the rest of Am Yisrael.

I don't know if Dr. Goldstein consulted a rav before killing all those 
people.  If so, I don't know if that rav consulted =his= rav.
But given what people have said here, namely that the gedolim of our 
generation have uniformly condemned the massacre, it seems 
that somewhere, somebody may have gotten it wrong as to what 
Hashem actually wanted in Hevron.  


From: <burton@...> (Joshua W. Burton)
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 94 16:17:02 EDT
Subject: Re: Hevron massacre -- repost
To Marc Shapiro's courageously forthright posting on the ghastly hillul
haShem committed at Makhpelah this Purim, I have only one remark to add.
Both the Israeli and the US Jewish press have gone out of their way to
de-nationalize the late Dr. Baruch (or Benjy, as he was known at Einstein)
Goldstein; i.e., to emphasize his connection to the OTHER country.  In
this forum, by contrast, the Israelis have willingly shouldered their end,
and I think it behooves those of us in galut---however temporarily and
reluctantly we may be here---to do the same.  Whether we are worse able
(with distance) or better able (with perspective) to judge provocation and
response, horror and counter-horror, than are our friends ba'Aretz is not
the point.  The point is that I, and my fellow subscribers throughout the
world, are all in some degree answerable for the actions of kol bnei Yisrael.
We in the USA have a double portion of t'shuva to deal with next Tishrei:
as a Jew _and_ as an American, Dr. Goldstein was one of ours.

                    _._ _  _ ___ _ ___   _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _   _  _ _ _ _._ ___ _ 
Joshua W. Burton     | |( ' )   |.| . |  ( ' ) | | | | | |   \  )( (  ) |   | |
(401)435-6370        | | )_/    | |___|_  )_/   /|_|   | |  __)/  \_)/  ||  |  
<burton@...> |                          ..      .     -    `.         :


From: Alan Stadtmauer <stadt@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 1994 17:12:02 -0400
Subject: Text of Ad from 44 Rabbis on Hebron Massacre

Though we on MJ have seen many who have condemned Baruch Goldstein's
action, many have also suggested explanations for what led him to it. I'd
like to present the view of 44 Israeli rabbis who, fully understanding the
tense situation in the territories, didn't hesitate to condemn both the
killings _and_ any attempts to understand it. (Presuably, the evil of
murder is sufficiently absolute that motives are irrelevant and,
therefore, any sympathy misplaced.)

Shortly after the massacre, a group of rebbeim from yeshivot hesder placed
an ad in the Israeli press. The main four signatories were Rav Aharon
Lichtenstein, Rav Nachum Rabinovitch, Rav Yehudah Amital, and Rav Yoel
Ben-Nun. Notably, all four are closely tied with the territories, yet
represent a broad spectrum of views regarding the current peace
negotiations. Forty additional names were listed. Below is my translation 
of the ad:

	"We, the undersigned rabbis, express shock and complete 
	condemnation of the abominable murder of innocent people,
	all created in the image of God, at the hands of a Jew in
	Chevron. There is neither comprehension nor atonement for the
	murder of people engaged in prayer to the Creator of the world.

	"As human beings and as Jews, we grieve for the blood that
	was spilled and protest the terrible desecration of God's name.

	"We call upon all who can act to uproot and cast out any 
	expression of agreement with or attempt to explain actions of 
	this kind and anything similar to them.

	"'If there is iniquity with you, remove it, and do not let 
	injustice reside in your tent.' (Job 11)"

Unfortunately, the translation is weaker than the original since one
cannot capture the flavor of many biblical allusions. Most importantly,
their call to "cast out any ... agreement" uses the term ba'er, as in
"u'biarta hara mikirbekha" ("you should destroy the evil from amongst
you"), a phrase used by the Torah to describe the death sentence for
particularly heinous crimes. 

I'll also note that, despite halachic analyses which we've seen, the term
"retzach" (murder) is used repeatedly in the ad to characterize the crime

Finally, this refusal to "understand" has also found sympathy among
American rabbis -- the above text was circulated in the Flatbush community
together with a statement of agreement signed by most of the Jewish
Studies faculty at the Yeshivah of Flatbush High School. An interesting
response was the comment made by a parent to one of us, "Thank you for
your statement, now I know I can keep my children in the Yeshivah."

Alan Stadtmauer
Yeshivah of Flatbush


End of Volume 12 Issue 68