Volume 13 Number 7
                       Produced: Tue May 10  8:21:23 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artscroll and Zionism
         [Marc Shapiro]
Artscroll Siddur
         [Neil Edward Parks]
Artscroll, Hevel Varik (vehamaskil yavin)
         [Mechy Frankel]
G-tt fun Avrohom
         [M E Lando]
Kedusha and Chumra
         [saul djanogly]
         [David Charlap]
lashon ha ra
         [Michael Rosenberg]


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Mon, 2 May 1994 16:53:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Artscroll and Zionism

One small correction to what I wrote re. Artscroll, I didn't mean that 
hundreds of gedolim had sanctioned the prayer for the State but hundreds 
of rabbis. Tens of Gedolim have sanctioned the prayer. I also didn't mean 
to imply that R. Aharon Soloveitchik is a non-Zionist. My friend who is 
in his shiur asked him about the prayer and he said that he has a problem 
with the words reshit tsemikhat geulatenu because he is unsure. That is, 
he doesn't know if the State is the beginning of the redemption, but he 
never said that it is forbidden to be said. Actually, Artscroll would 
never bother asking R. Aharon his opinion, since they have their own 
poskim.  (A number of private correspondents have defended 
Artscroll by calling my attention to the witchhunts in Haridei society 
and pointed out that the people who run Artscroll have real reason to 
fear  these extremists)
	Finally, obviously Artscroll can do what they wish with their series. 
My only point was that it would be great if they could be more inclusive. 
This would increase their impact.

[second message, added together. Mod.]

A number of people who have written me, and even those who have
responded on-line, somehow assume that to call a gadol or Artscroll non-
or anti-Zionist is insulting. Apparently these people associate
anti-Zionism with Arafat. However, in Haredi circles it is insulting to
be called a Zionist. Anti-Zionism is the Daat Torah of Haredim who
follow Rav Shach and they only differ from Satmar in practical matters.
As far as ideology is concerned they are both anti-Zionist, as is
Lubavitch. Even Rabbi Schwab, whose advocacy of Torah im Derekh Eretz is
well known, continues to attack Zionism. for those who don't know it,
Agudat Israel was founded on the principles of anti-Zionism and R. Chaim
Soloveitchik and Isaac Breuer were probably the leading fighters against
Zionism and Mizrachi.  Apparently some people on this line are unaware
of the fact that the majority of Gedolim in Europe opposed Mizrachi.
This is all well known but since some people seem to think that I have
insulted someone by calling him an anti-Zionist I wanted to clarify
        Therefore, it is not surprising that Artscroll adopts an
anti-Zionist stance. Everyone expected this and, as one person responded
to me, why should I criticize them for following the Haredi view since
after all they are Haredim. What I wanted to call attention to was the
fact that it would have been very nice had Artscroll not done what would
have been expected. It would have been a pleasant surprise (for me,
obviously not for those whose opinions matter) had Artscroll not
attempted to publish a Haredi siddur but a siddur which everyone could
feel comfortable with, along the lines of These and Those are the words
of the Living God.

                                        Marc Shapiro


From: <aa640@...> (Neil Edward Parks)
Date: Mon, 2 May 1994 20:42:08 -0400
Subject: Artscroll Siddur

I enjoyed reading the various reviews and comments regarding the
Artscroll Siddur.

It has a lot of interesting features.  My complaint with it is that the
italics are too darned hard to look at.  If they ever reprint it without
the italics, and a nicer looking Hebrew font without the variety of
sizes, I'll consider using it.  Till then, I'll stick with good old
Philip Birnbaum.


From: Mechy Frankel <frankel@...>
Date: Mon, 2 May 1994 16:30:33 -0400
Subject: Artscroll, Hevel Varik (vehamaskil yavin)

Just back from travel again and with little hope of ever reading through
the accumulated mj backlog I have a few random comments on some recent

1. Artscroll: I noiced Mark Shapiro (Vol 12 #96) referenced the new
Artscoll Stone Edition (C)humash. I only recently came across it myself
while perusing a neighbor's bookcase and it looked like another first
class Artscroll print job.  It also looked like it would cost a bundle,
so I don't expect it to crowd out the current shul english standard
(Hertz), - as their superior siddur product has pre-empted use of
Birnbaum and older editions- until they come out with the paperback
equivalent.  One item however seemed sufficiently amusing (at least to
me), to share publicly. In the Introduction, where gratitude for the
generosity of the Stone family is expressed, there are also expressions
of appreciation for the leadership/guidance/etc. of various prominent
gedolim, rashei yeshiva, and other leader types. All such appreciations
are couched in the first person form (i.e. "we" appreciate, "we thank"
..or something like that, I'm doing this from leaky memory at work) -
with one exception. In the expression of appreciation for Dr. Norman
Lamm (evidently a person close to the Stone family sponsors who had to
be included) Artscroll begins its sentence with "To the Stone/Weiss
family Dr. Lamm is more than a good friend and ...some complimentery
words".  Here is a sentence whose impled "meoot" cries out "darsheni"
along the classic "haboar raik ain bo mayim" line. Or I am being
paranoid about this?

2. Hevel Varik: Mark Shapiro caught my attention again (Vol 12 #80) when
he mentioned a curious Artscroll explanation regarding the censored line
of Aleinu where the practice of goyim to bow down to "hevel varik",
accompanied by an enthused expectoration, is unfavorably compared to
jewish practice of bowing to the King of Kings etc. (I haven't actually
noticed the Artscroll exegesis myself, and can't look it up in real time
so I'm taking Mark's word for it).  His note that the jews always
considered this line as referring to Jesus is well taken, but there is
an interesting and amusing sidelight to this as well.  (This is
described in some detail in Vol. 2 of Sperber's book on minhagim. Some
earlier work on this subject was published in Sinai in the early 70s by
Wieder) The gematria of "Varik" is equal to 316 which also happens to
equal the gematria of "Yeshu" (Jesus), which would seem to confirm
someone's (sly?)  intent of identifying the "Rik" with its intended
target from the very inception of this tefiloh. Problems arose, however,
as people appreciated that another line of the Aleinu "umoshav yekaro
bashamayim memaal" ("and the seat of his honor/worth/? is in the heaven
above") presented a serious problem for such gematria afficianados.
After all, "yekaro" (a permutation of "varik") also has a gematria of
316, and if one appreciated the "hidden code" of "hevel varik", the
symmetrical hidden code embodied in the "yekaro" sentence was a kettle
of different, and rancid, fish. This actually gave rise to a plethora of
alternative nusachs of Aleinu in the Middle Ages with some versions
substituing words like "kevodo" or "hodo" for "yekaro" or even leaving
out the whole "yekaro" sentence altogether (stray real time thought -
perhaps another reason for the "censoring" of the hevel verik sentence.
The two sentences could not easily coexist in the same tefiloh and the
"choice" was made to retain the positive message). In any event the
rishonim (particularly Raavan) reacted negatively to this creative
flowering and we equilibrated at the current version.

Mechy Frankel                                  W: (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>                            H: (301) 593-3949


From: M E Lando <landom1@...>
Date: Thu, 5 May 1994 15:36:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: G-tt fun Avrohom

I am new to mail.jewish, and noticed some discussion concerning G-tt 
(seems to me it ought to be written with a dash just as we write g-d) fun 
Avrohom.  My mother ob'm and l'he'baw'dale, my mother-in-law had the 
custom in their families for women to say this t'fila.  My wife reports 
that her nusach differs from that found in the siddurim in our home.  Her 
version contains the phrase "boruch hamavdil bane kodesh l'chol."

My favorite siddur (excellent introduction, hebrew translation and
commentary) is the Siddur Ha'm'pho'rosh, edited by Yaakov Weingarten and
published by Gefen in Yerusholayim.  (There is also an excellent set of
machzorim.)  This siddur states that the t'fila, which they refer to as
"Bakosha l'motzo'ei Shabbos," was found among the holy writings of the
sainted Reb Levi Yitzchok zt'l of Berdiitchev, author of the sefer
Kedushas Levi, who states 'A great segula for hatzlochoh that should be
repeated three times by men women and children every motzo'ei shabbos
before havdolah.  And I am confident that they will definitely succeed

I personally do not know anyone who repeats the tfila three times, nor
am I aware of men who say it.  If Reb Levi Yitzchok was the author, it
should be mostly those of chasidic origin who say it.  One would not
expect women of Lithuanian, German or S'fardic descent to have this

A guten shabbos-Melando


From: <saul@...> (saul djanogly)
Date: Sun, 1 May 1994 06:55:25 -0400
Subject: Re: Kedusha and Chumra

The Netziv on Vayikra 21 v6 
'They(the Cohanim) shall be holy to their L-rd and they shall not profane
the name of their L-rd'
says the following

'Kedusha is seperation from others for the sake of Heaven,in every way
that the Divine name is sanctified i.e excelling in good character and
modesty etc.  to exclude that they should not differentiate themselves
in any other way for such differentiation would be nothing but arrogance
and haughtiness.  If the Cohanim do not behave in such an exemplarary
manner,even though it is not a sin,it will result in Chillul Hashem.(See
Yoma 86a).'

The purpose of Kedusha/Chumra is to draw closer to G-d not to draw
further away from one's fellow Jews.A Chumra with the right intention is
praiseworthy,with the wrong intention it is harmful as is Torah learning
purely for self- aggrandizement.

By the way,my LOR,Rabbi Cooper always says we must be just as careful as
what comes out of our mouths as what we put in them!

Anybody heard of some really good Chumros in the prohibition of Lashon Hara?

saul djanogly


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Mon, 2 May 94 10:37:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Kitniyot

<rbook@...> (Robert A. Book) writes:
>If the purpose of banning kitniyot is to preserve the "spirit of
>Pesach," then shouldn't the ban be on bread-like products regardless
>of ingredients, rather than some (but not all) ingredients that could
>conceiveably be used to make bread-like products?

I would be inclined to agree, but I don't know of preserving the
"spirit of Pesach" is the original reason.  I remember learning this,
but it wasn't from any source material.

I think, at this point in the discussion, that it is imperative that
someone locate the original text of the gezeira, to find out if a
reason is given, and what that reason is.


From: <Michael.Rosenberg@...> (Michael Rosenberg)
Date: Wed, 04 May 94 16:40:46 PDT
Subject: lashon ha ra

29 Apr 94, Arye Blaut to Michael Rosenberg:
 >> light) and caught himself.  How do you Mail Jewish readers deal with
 >> this subject? How do you control a habit--discussing other people when
 U> By "you Mail Jewish readers" do you mean on line or individually?
 U> On line -- we just don't write about anyone else.
 U> Individually, just don't speak about anybody.
 U> Aryeh Blaut

My internet gateway has been down for about a week...so I don't know if
there were any other responses to my original question.  Having been a
MailJewish reader for a while, I think it is safe to say that Aryeh's
statement "we just don't write about anyone else" is actually not the
case...I can't speak to his second assertion as individuals.

I asked the question originally because I received via e-mail from some
source a list of situations which comprise lashon ha ra, among them
saying something negative about someone =even if it's true=.  I begged
the question when I asked if other MailJewish readers felt this was a
problem in Jewish society--I should have taken a stance and said _I do_
think it's a problem as I hear people say things about others all the
time and I talk about others too.  Since the Rabbi's saw this as the
root of a spiritual ailment (Tzaraat) which had physical manifestations,
it has apparently been a significant problem for a long time.

I wonder if we are afflicted with tzaraat today and like the problems
with identifying locusts we have lost the ability to see and recognize
the physical manifestation?

Michael Rosenberg
uucp: uunet!m2xenix!dawggon!31.9!Michael.Rosenberg
Internet: <Michael.Rosenberg@...>


End of Volume 13 Issue 7