Volume 12 Number 80
                       Produced: Mon Apr 25  7:23:21 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
         [Marc Shapiro]
Hespedim for Rabbi Moshe Cohn, zt"l
         [Mike Gerver]
         [Sol Stokar]
Rav's Shavuot Drasha
         [Arnold Lustiger]
The breakdown of halachah
         [Mitch Berger]


From: mljewish (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 1994 07:09:33 -0400
Subject: Administrivia

Hello all,

There are two new items in the archive area, one is a writeup of one of
Rav Soloveichek's grashot related to Shavuot, transcribed and edited by
Arnie Lustiger, the other is copies of the Hespedim given for Rav Moshe
Cohn, sent in by Mike Gerver. Notices of the location of the two
articles are in this issue. If anyone has items that they would like to
submit for the mail-jewish archives (generally items that are 200 lines+
will go in the archives with a short announcement in the mailing list)
please let me know. Just a short reminder of accessing the archives
using email:

Send your request to: <LISTSERV@...>
NOT - mljewish or mail-jewish.

To get the index of what is available on the archive server, send the

index mail-jewish

To get any specific article, send the message:

get mail-jewish article_name

where article_name is replaced with the name of the article you want to
get. One usefull article to get on a regular basis is fullindex, which
is an index of all the postings since volume2.

To get a specific mail-jewish issue, send the command:

get mail-jewish/volumeXX vXXnYY

where you replace XX and YY with what you want.

If you are using ftp or gopher, I'm assuming you know what you are
doing, but I will try and put together a bit of a primer sometime in the
future (any takers to do that?). Plans for the future include a Web home
page. Keep tuned.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 1994 08:57:49 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Artscroll

Yitschok Aldersteinmakes a number of good points in his response to Sol 
Stokar re. Artscroll and Yedid Nefesh. However, it doesn't seem to be 
enough to take away the sense that we are dealing here with some 
intellectual dishonesty. Artscroll tells the reader that the prayer is by 
Azkiri, however the prayer they printed is a corrupted version. They 
should tell the reader where they copied there version from (they might 
have just put the common version to words). They should also explain that 
even though this is not the original version it has become the accepted 
version, and also is the only version that really fits the tune. Perhaps 
they should also print the original version. 
	Unfortunately, it seems to be the case that there are some 
serious examples of intellectual dishonesty in the Artscroll project and 
this is distressing since they have become so popular. Most people are 
probably aware of the scandal involving R. Zevin's books. Here it was 
more than intellectual dishonesty, it was actual genevah since they 
published a book, claiming it to be a translation, when they actually 
censored a passage. They would be required to give you your money back if 
you demanded. It is also a very grave sin to distort what a gadol say. 
Our sages tell us that one who says a teaching in another's name brings 
redemption to the world, but the oppositi is also true, that one who 
distorts a teaching brings destruction. IT is funny, because all R. Zevin 
did was express thanks to God that there is a State of Israel. Since when 
is this a crime? If Artscroll was written by Satmar people I would 
understand, but the official Agudah position is that we are thankful that 
we have a State, but we are not happy with the condition it is in. 
Apparently the editors of Artscroll have a more anti-Zionist view. 
Perhaps this is what drove them to sponsor a biography of R. Sonnenfeld, 
when virtually the entire Litvish community associated with R. Kook and 
his Bet Din, and did not secede from Kenesset Yisrael.
	This anti-Zionism also appears in their siddur. This is most 
unfortunate because their siddur is without a doubt the best and most 
user friendly. Would it have been so terrible for them to have included 
the Prayer for the State of Israel or for IDF. If they wanted they could 
have included it in the back as an appendix. Since they do that with all 
the obscure piyutim which no one says why not with these two prayers, 
especially since the majority of Jews who use Artscroll daven in shuls 
which say these prayers. Here we have an example of Artscroll's world 
view -- they do not view these prayers as legitimate (however, for a 
great deal of money they did produce the RCA version which included these 
prayers -- if they had originally included them there would have been no 
need for the RCA version). Also, what happened to the prayer for the 
governement? I have noticed that many right wing circles no longer say it 
and it is not included in Artscroll. This is very strange, expecially 
since the anti-Zionists use to stress the prayer for the government even 
as they refused to say the prayer for Israel. Something is obviously 
wrong with Artscroll if they include Gott fun Avrohom which no one says 
and, in a slap in the face to most of its readers, refuse to include the 
prayer for IDF and Israel.
	The problem of intellectual dishonesty also arises at other times 
and if someone one the line is close to Artscroll maybe he or she could 
find out why they ignore information brought to their attention. Because 
of Artscroll's popularity the books are often reprinted and there is 
ample opportunity to correct mistakes but they refuse to do so. For 
example, it has been brought to their attention that Yonatan ben Uziel 
did not write a targum on the Pentateuch, only on Nach, but they continue 
to repeat their error. There are literally hundreds of such examples, 
which is only to be expected since a series as large as Artscroll which 
deals with hundres of commentaries is bound to make mistakes (Their 
mishnah series is truly excellent and I don't believe I have ever caught 
an error). Another example is when Rashi uses the phrase lashon kenaani, 
they translate it as Canaanite. It should have occurred to them to ask 
how Rashi knew Canaanite. He obviously didn't but lashon kenaani means 
old Czech. This error was brought to their attention but they have not 
corrected it. How come? I am not criticing Artscroll's method of dealing 
with Midrash or the way they ignore sages such as Kook and Soloveitchik 
(not to mention the Lubavitcher rebbe, may he be granted a refuah 
shelemah), but with simple errors of fact which have been brought to 
their attention. I would have thought that Artscroll would welcome the 
chance to correct the errors. Similar errors are found in their 
biographical books but have not been corrected, and I pointed out that in 
their book the Rishonim they included Joseph ibn Caspi who is a 
heretic (by their standards at least) but his name was not removed. They 
always rely on the Encyclopedia Judaica for their information but 
frequently this information is outdated. 
	I have already mentioned that their siddur is the best.They have 
correctd many errors, e. g. mashiv ha ruah u-morid ha-geshem is the 
correct way to say it and Artscroll has done it right.They have also 
printed the complee version of Alenu. (I assume Sol would argue that we 
must say the complete version and Yitzhok would say that history has 
given us the expurgated version) There are many other such examples 
where they show that they are the new standarfd for a siddur (before they 
came around it was impossible for the community to participate in Rosh 
ha-Shannah and Yom Kippur prayers since no one knew how to sing the 
verious piyutim. They tell you exactly howw the verses are to be 
chanted). However, since I have mentioned Alenu I should mention that in 
their commentary the first time it appears they say that an apostate 
slandered Jews by saying that this passage was meant to slur 
Christianity. It would have been best had Artscroll not included any 
commentary on this passage because although the apostates were traitors 
in that they revealed the secrets of the Jewish community, they did not 
slander anyone. The fact is that Jews always believed that the word 
va-rik refered to Jesus. Why should Artscroll deny a well known fact. 
Just don't say anything. 
  Other issues relating to artscroll which need 
to be discussed 
include their philosophy of exegesis but since I have said enough for today 
I'll end here wish Artscroll continued success in their Talmud 
translation which will soon replace Soncino as the standard (whether such 
translations are really needed is another issue entirely)
						Marc Shapiro


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 1994 2:30:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Hespedim for Rabbi Moshe Cohn, zt"l

In v12n24 I said I would try to post copies of the hespedim [eulogies]
for Rabbi Moshe Cohn, principal emeritus of Maimonides School, given by
his sons Yaakov and Reuven, and by R. David Shapiro, present principal of
Maimonides. Yaakov and Reuven are both on the net, and have e-mailed me
the texts of their hespedim, which are given below. At Yaakov's suggestion,
I have prefaced these with some biographical material that appeared in an
article by Michael Rosenberg in the March 25-31 issue of The Jewish Advocate,
reproduced here with the kind permission of Robert Israel, editor of The
Jewish Advocate.

Unfortunately I am unable to include the text of the hesped given by Rabbi
Shapiro, who is just not "with it" in these modern times :-). Not only did he
not write his hesped on a word processor, he did not write it down at all,
but spoke extemporaneously, referring to some notes scribbled on an index
card. He spoke about Betzalel, and asked why, in parshat Vayakhel, the
Torah speaks as if Betzalel single-handedly built the mishkan, when in fact
many people contributed to building it. But Betzalel is credited with
building the mishkan because he put all of his time and energy into it.
Similarly R. Cohn devoted all of his energy to Maimonides. This was not
always so good for his family, but it was to the great benefit of the

				Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>

[Hespedim are archived as:

email listserv retreival: hespid_cohn
ftp/gopher/www: Special_Topics/hespid_cohn



From: <sol@...> (Sol Stokar)
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 94 16:11:03 -0500
Subject: Masorah 

	In some recent postings (e.g. Marc Shapiro's posting in vol. 10 #99 
and Mechy Frankel's posting in vol 11,#40 amoung others) various matters 
relating to the "masorah" (the accepted text of the Bible) were discussed. 
While the work of a number of scholars was discussed, including Penkower, 
Goshen-Gottstein, Ben-Haim and Cassuto, I was disappointed that the work of 
Rav Professor Mordechai Bruer was not discussed, or at least not discussed 
fully enough. After some private e-mail conversations with a few people on 
this list, I became aware that R. Bruer's work is not as well known as it 
should be, perhaps due to the fact that he publishes primarily in Hebrew. 
I would like to take the opportunity to outline what is for me the pre-eminent
work of masoretical scholarship in the last 750 years, viz. R. Bruer's 
"reconstruction" of the masoretic text of the entire "Tanach" (Bible). 
Let me emphasize at the outset that I have no professional qualifications 
in this area, nor have I ever had the priviledge of meeting R. Bruer, and 
I apologize for any errors in this summary that are due to my own 
misunderstandings. My sources are essentially threefold:

[Full article archived as:

email: masorah
ftp/gopher: Special_Topics/mesorah



From: <alustig@...> (Arnold Lustiger)
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 1994 16:51:00 -0400
Subject: Rav's Shavuot Drasha


****The following is a summary of one portion of a lecture presented to
the Rabbinical Council of America by Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveitchik on
June 22, 1972.****

[Drasha is archived as:

email listserv retreival: rav_shavuot
ftp/gopher/www: rav/rav_shavuot



From: <mberger@...> (Mitch Berger)
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 1994 15:42:39 -0400
Subject: The breakdown of halachah

Why is there a "Chumrah of the Month Club"? Here's some reasons I came up

1- As I wrote a couple of months ago, when we were discussing "gedolim", I
   feel the existance of the concept of "gadol" who is different in kind -
   not just in quantity - than the LOR, handicaps the LOR. Only "the
   gedolim" (e.g. R. Moshe) have the authority to go beyond just playing
   safe. (Both in their own minds, and in their congregants'.)

2- In today's age, religiosity is defined as "frumkeit". "Frum" has bein adam
   LaMaqom [between man and Gd] connotations, as opposed to "ehrlichkeit"
   which seems to be more about how you treat others. In such a community,
   whoever looks the most stringent on himself will get more respect.
   As one article put it "Keeping Up with the Cohens".

Either way, we are losing site of what halachah is about, how one is
supposed to get a p'saq [halachic decision]. The Gemara warns you not to
shop around until you find a Rav who'll permit what you want. Today we
have the problem in reverse. The rumor mill passes around chumros for
all to share. Never mind asking your own LOR. As the mishnah in Avos
	Asei lichah Rav - Make for yourself a Rav
You only need one!

| Micha Berger       | (201) 916-0287 | On Torah, on worship, and |    |  |   |
| <mberger@...> |<- new address  |   on supporting kindness  |    |  |   |


End of Volume 12 Issue 80