Volume 13 Number 64
                       Produced: Fri Jun 17 12:23:04 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Codes: Hallacha and Theology
         [Sam Juni]
New List Announcement: Daily Jewish Law
         ["Yaakov Menken"]
Rabbi Frand on Chukas
         ["Hillel E. Markowitz"]
Rabbi Frand on Korach
         ["Hillel E. Markowitz"]
         [Phil Chernofsky]


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 1994 18:17:20 -0400
Subject: Codes: Hallacha and Theology

In his cogent analysis of the Hallachic significance of Codes (5/26/94),
Mike Gerver concentrates appropriately on the irrelevance of Codes to
practical Hallacha as such, since Codes are not part of the world of
Psak (decision making structure).  I believe that while Mike has that
angle covered pretty well, the jist of the recent MJ debate on the topic
was not oriented at the practical aspects of the Codes, but rather at
the implications of the system re theology and Emunah (religious

Mike actually gets into this area to some degree at the end of his post-
ing when he discusses the Bas Kol (heavenly voice) which has been men-
tioned in the Talmud as having no validity vis a vis Hallacha. Again,
however, Mike veers the discussion more toward the practical arena of
implications for Hallacha.  I would like to deal with the non-Hallachic
aspects exclusively in the folowing paragraphs. I shall try to present
my rationale, which I guess has not come through clearly in the
discussions until now.

We are accustomed to Machlokes (debates) in the Talmud, which are often
described as "Ayluh V'Aylu Divrei Elokim Chaim" (both are the words of
G-d). The interpretation of this comment is usually taken to be as fol-
lows: Both Talmudic adversaries recognize the reasoning and legitimacy
of both points from a theoretical (and metaphysical?) level. The debate

is only which orientation should be taken vis a vis the practical aspect
of Hallacha. Hallacha, by implication, is therefore not the "end-all" of
Talmudic discourse, but rather a particular facet calling for a
specified application of a complex logical (and mystical?) structure.
Points to ponder, which illustrate this postulate, are: 1) Actual events
where an adversary would abide by an opposing view when in an area where
that view was accepted (I can't imagine a toxicologist abiding by an
adversary's opinion and eating food which he considers poisonous just
because he is in another's turf); 2) A statement in the Talmud that
although the Hallacha is like Hillel, the Hallacha will revert to Shamai
in the future The implications are clear, I think.

The cases in the Talmud when a Bas Kol announces the validity of a
specific point of view in a debate and the Bas Kol is summarily disre-
garded as irrelevant to Hallachic decision, to my mind, are to be taken
within the above premise.  Namely, there is no question of "truth" to be
ascertained when there is a debate in Talmud, since both views are
merely expressing complemetary aspects of Torah. The question is only
which path to follow in practical life. Such a question falls under the
principle "Torah Lo Bashomaim" (Torah is not in heaven; i.e., it was
bequested to humankind for adjudication).

If the above is plausible, the veracity (or truth) of the Bas Kol is not
impugned.  People like me, with the "gut reaction" that G-d does not
lie, nor does he send false messages deliberately to "mislead us" can
still take the stance that statements in a Bas Kol or in any other true
revelation are legitimate. (No, I am not saying they are legitimate
sources to Pasken (decide Hallacha) from.)

To get to the punchline.  I still do not see a comfortable (for me) way
to conceptualize "false codes" implanted in the Torah. I would have the
same difficulty understanding a false "Bas Kol." While I find Mike's
reasoning in differentiating the Hallachic power of the Prophet vs. the
(non-existent) Hallachic power of the codes quite legitimate, I think it
misses the point.  If a message supporting Christianity (for example)
were to come through on the Codes, it would result in a crisis in Code
devotees not because of Hallachic questions, but rather because they
would see a message from G-d which contradicts their basic belief

While on the Code topic, I would appreciate some elaboration re David
Curwin's (5/31/94) posting which quotes Rabbi Bigman: "To discuss codes
in the Torah is like saying Stephen Hawking is a great chess player. It
may be true, but so what?"  I don't get it.

     Dr. Sam Juni                  FAX (212) 995-3474
     New York University           Tel (212) 998-5548
     400 East
     New York, N.Y.  10003


From: "Yaakov Menken" <ny000548@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 1994 17:09:54 -0400
Subject: New List Announcement: Daily Jewish Law

It is with great pleasure that the World Connection Jewish Learning
Program announces the creation of our newest list, Halacha-Yomi.
Halacha Yomis (or Yomit, depending upon prononciation) refers to "Daily
Jewish Law," or more specifically to a cycle developed for studying the
basics of Jewish Law over a six- to seven- year period, in small daily

For those who know & care: each daily installment represents 3 seifim,
or paragraphs, of the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim with Mishna Brura -
the standard Code of Jewish Law with the commentary of Rabbi Y. Kagan.

The writers contributing to this list will change daily, according to a
weekly rotation.  Additional contributors are sought for particular days
of the week, either weekly or bi-monthly - please inquire to this
address or to <WorldCon@...>

To subscribe, please mail to <listserv@...>, with any
subject you like (or no subject, as the machine will ignore it), and the

subscribe halacha-yomi Your Name

The World Connection Jewish Learning Program - Jewish Education in CyberSpace
 ***********                  A Program of Project Genesis
    ** **              and Shamash, the Jewish Information Network
      *                       <worldcon@...>


From: "Hillel E. Markowitz" <HEM@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 1994 23:10:48 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rabbi Frand on Chukas

The following is a summary of Rabbi Frand's divrei Torah on Parshas 
Chukas tonight (Thursday, June 16).  As always, it is summarized from 
memory and any flaws or errors are my fault.

Immediately after the parsha of parah aduma (the red cow) the death of 
Miriam is discussed.  The gemoro in Maseches Moed Katan says that the 
connection is that just as the Parah Adumah is a "kaporo" so too the 
death of a tzdik is a "kaporo" for the world. [note -kaporo is usually 
translated as atonement].  Note that the gemoro is careful to state that 
it is a kaporo not taharo (cleansing?) which is the main action caused 
by the Parah Aduma.

What is the similarity.  The Para Aduma is a totally non logigical 
halacha.  The details are paradoxical, it opens the Jews up to the 
mockery of the goyim who would say that it appears to be superstition 
and some "magical" rite.  The Jews are saying that we trust Hashem 
anyways and still continue to follow the Torah.  THus, the very fact 
that we continue to follow Hashem after this test of our faith causes 
the atonement that we mentioned.  That is also why the death of the 
tzadik is considered a kaporo.  It doesn't make sense.  Miriam committed 
only one sin and was punished for it immediately. [I can add that she 
devoted her life to Bnei Yisroel, from convincing her parents to 
remarry, to watching over her baby brother, to supporting him in the 
desert].  It was in her merit that the well of water followed them for 
40 years.  The death of a tzadik doesn't make sense, it isn't fair that 
he was taken away.  But if we say Tziduk Hadin, if we are mekabel it 
anyway, it is a kaporo.  That is how the two things are similar.

The second dvar Torah dealt with Moshe hitting the rock at Mai Merivah.  
There are many explanations as to why Moshe was punished.  THe Rambam 
says that he showed anger by saying "Shim'u Na Hamorim" [Hear now, 
rebellious ones].  But wasn't Moshe justified?  Forty years before, the 
Bnei Yisrael complained in almost the same words about the same lack of 
water.  Since that time, they had had the well, and the manna, and all 
the miracles.  The answer Rabbi Frand gave was that the difference is in 
one word of the two complaints.  In the first incident the Bnei Yisroel 
used the word "L'Hamis" - to murder us.  In the second incident they 
used the word "Lamus" - to let us die.  THIS was progress.  Glacial, 
subtle, miniscule, but it was progress.  THey had learned something in 
forty years.  As a result, Moshe should have recognized it and not 
called them "morim".

|  Hillel Eli Markowitz    |     Im ain ani li, mi li?      |
|  <H.E.Markowitz@...>   |   V'ahavta L'raiecha kamocha   |


From: "Hillel E. Markowitz" <HEM@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Jun 1994 22:56:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rabbi Frand on Korach

Rabbi Frand gave two interesting divrei Torah in his weekly shiur
tonight on Parshas Korach.  The following is a brief summary of
what he said.  Any mistakes are my responsibility and any flaws
are do to a mistake in my summary.

The first was from a medrash in which On Ben Peles is described
as having been in mourning (onen) for the remainder of his life.
Why was this so?  Thanks to the cleverness of his wife, he was
saved from being killed with the rest of Korach's adherents.
The medrash states that he decided to withdraw from the
rebellion when his wife pointed out that no matter who won, he
would still be a subordinate.  The only difference would be
whether he would serve Moshe or Korach.  She then saved him by
sitting in front of their tent with her hair uncovered.  When
Korach came for him, he had to leave without stopping.

Shouldn't On have been joyful over his narrow escape?  The
answer Rabbi Frand gave (I don't remember in whose name he said
it) was that the mourning was for the destruction of his own
dreams of becoming a leader.  Just as each of the 250 men who
tried to bring incense believed that *he* would be the one
chosen, On also had the illusion that he could become a leader.
It was this disillusion that caused him to mourn.  It is like
the feeling one gets when one realizes that he will never
become president of the United States or CEO of his company.

The second dvar Torah was said in the name of the Belzer Rebbe
Z"TZL and dealt with why Korach had to die in such an unusual
way.  WHy di Moshe say that if Korach and his group died a
"natural" death, it would show that Moshe was wrong.  If they
all simultaneously dropped dead of heart attacks, wouldn't that
also show that they were being punished by Hashem?

The answer is that from the moment they began the campaign of
slander against Moshe, they merited the death penalty for the
crime of "mevaze" [causing shame to?] a talmid chacham.  THus
*even if they were right* they still would have merited the
death penalty.  That is why the punishment had to be so unusual.

I remember seeing a discussion about why afterwards, the Bnei
Yisrael began murmuring against Moshe.  I don't remember where I
saw it, but the murmurs were that perhaps Moshe could have
interceded for them and that they were killed for his honor and
not Hashem's.  In any case, we see that even when [and perhaps
especially when] one is correct, one must be careful how one
conducts the argument.  THe Belzer Rav said that one sees what a
person's midos [characteristics] are based on how he conducts
himself when he is definitely in the right.  Too many go all out
when we are right and forget how we should behave in our
eagerness to finally win out.

Shabbat Shalom,


From: Phil Chernofsky <philch@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 1994 09:06:49 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: TORAH TIDBITS list

The OU/NCSY Israel Center in Jerusalem publishes TORAH TIDBITS, a weekly 
Torah publication on Parshat HaShavua, Pirkei Avot, and Inyana d'Yoma. In 
Jerusalem, it is printed with graphics and distributed in more than 2000 
copies in shuls with English speakers and hotels around town. It is also 
produced in Los Angeles (we send it via email to them camera-ready) in 
1500 copies and distributed in shuls around LA. It is also faxed to 
several communities on the West Coast. The Orthodox community in Cape 
Town S.A. also gets a special edition via email.

The Israel Center has a list which receives the text files of the divrei 
Torah and sera summary contained in Torah Tidbits. You can subscribe to 
this list by sending an email message to

<listserv@...>  with the message

Any inquiries about ISRACEN, Torah Tidbits, the Israel Center, NITZOTZ, 
or NESTO, should be sent to me at <philch@...>

It is also possible, if you have the right printer, etc. to receive a 
customized version of a full-graphics Torah Tidbits. This might be 
suitable for shul, school, your own list, etc.

Be in touch.

Shalom from Yerushalayim

   Phil Chernofsky, associate director, OU/NCSY Israel Center, Jerusalem
   Email address (Internet): <philch@...>
   Tel: +972 2 384 206   Fax: +972 2 385 186   Home phone: +972 2 819169
   Voice mail (to record a message): (02) 277 677, extension 5757
   Mailing address: Israel Center, P.O.B. 37015, Jerusalem 91370, ISRAEL


End of Volume 13 Issue 64