Volume 14 Number 24
                       Produced: Fri Jul 15 12:12:36 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chesed in the Chassidish World
         [Chaya Gurwitz]
Dvar Torah for Tisha B'Av
         [R. Shaya Karlinsky]
Survivors of Zsidokorhaz
         [Irwin Keller]
Yeshivishe Community
         [Arnold Lustiger]


From: <gurwitz@...> (Chaya Gurwitz)
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 94 13:41:15 EDT
Subject: Chesed in the Chassidish World

I read Meir Lehrer's and Immanuel Levy's postings (about improper
behavior on the part of "Haredim") with great "agmas nefesh" (distress
and anguish).

There is nothing that anyone can say to excuse or condone such behavior.
But I do think that these stories should be put in perspective.  Stone
throwing and fraud make headlines.  "Yeshiva student shops for elderly
neighbor" or "Chassidic women distribute meals to homebound" do not
appear in the newspapers.  Nevertheless, this community IS involved in
uncountable, daily acts of gemillas chessed.

Just to point to a few examples:
Bikur Cholim -- the Satmar bikur cholim (others too, but
I believe that the Satmar is the most active) visits New York hospitals
DAILY, bringing kosher food to any Jews that they find.  They
actually go up and down the halls LOOKING for people to help --
this service is not just in response to requests.

Various Bikur Cholim organizations have arranged for renting apartments
in the vicinity of the big hopsitals, so that family can stay with their
sick relatives over Shabbos. These apartments are stocked with basic
necessities (matzah, grape juice, gefilte fish), so that people who get
stuck in the last minute will have some provisions for Shabbos.

Russian Jews-
The community has been extending itself to welcoming and educating
new Russian arrivals.  They are invited for Shabbos meals, Pesach sedarim.
The N'shei of BoroPark (just one example) collects and distributes 
furniture and other basic necessities. (Not to mention Russian siddurim 
and chumashim)

Tzedaka in various forms-
Aside from raising funds, there are organizations that distribute
used clothing and shoes to needy families.

And the list goes on...


From: R. Shaya Karlinsky <msbillk@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 18:23:45 +0300 (WET)
Subject: Dvar Torah for Tisha B'Av

	I have much to add on some of the important topics being 
discussed on Mail.Jewish recently.  Unfortunately, I have more to say 
than time to write it.  But the following Dvar Torah for Tisha B'Av might 
server as a good opening to whatever else I hope to write over the next 
week or two.  I welcome comments.  (Please excuse me if I don't always 
have time to acknowledge and respond to them.)

     Jewish "Conventional Wisdom" over the last couple of generations
explains the opposite of Sinat Chinam (hating for no reason) as Ahavat
Chinam, loving Jews "for no reason."  This idea traces its source to some
very great people, and I in no way wish to question it.
     However, there is another perspective to examine.
     In many other areas of Halachic discussions, the opposite of
something which is "chinam" for naught, is "schar" which means "for
something."  The opposite of a shomer chinam, a person who watches for
free, is a shomer sachar, one who watches for payment.  The opposite of a
Jewish slave being released without payment, "yatza chinam" is to be
released for money, through tangible compensation.
     Since the implication of the Gemara in Yoma (9b) is that the negative
connotation that the Rabbis attached to the phrase "sinat chinam" has the
emphasis on the "chinam" aspect of it, the opposite of "sinat chinam",
hatered for no reason, would legitimately be "sinat sachar", doing it for
a good reason.  While it is not very "nice" to talk about hating someone -
when we examine the concept in the Torah and in the Rambam, the problem is
not the existence of the "sina" but how and/or when it is done.
     The Torah (Shemot 23:5) talks about seeing "chamor sona'acha", the
donkey of one you hate. (The Gemara (Pesachim 113b) asks how the situation
can arise.  The answer is instructive.)  The Torah prohibits "Lo tisnah et
achicha bilvavecha", Don't hate your "brother" in your heart.  The Rambam
(Ch. 6 Hilchot Dai'ot Hal. 5 & 6) deduces from the language that the
prohibition is to keep it bottled up.  If someone wronged you, you are
supposed to inform him of it, rebuke him for it, and give him a chance to
apologize and/or right the wrong.  But the natural reaction doesn't seem
to be prohbibted in and of itself.  In Halacha 3, the commandment of
loving your fellow Jew translates into very definable actions (as opposed
to the Western/Christian concept, which can remain very abstract and
undefined).  It is very possible to be required to behave in the way
described in Halacha 3, while having a feeling of hatred because of
justifiable reasons.
     The Gemara (Kiddushin 30b) teaches us that even a father and a son,
or a Rebbi and his student can become ENEMIES in their arugments over
Torah (says Rashi: because neither is willing to accept the opinion of the
other).  Yes, the conclusion is that are supposed to end up friends
(ohavim), but that doesn't change the fact that during the argument they
are enemies.  And we need to understand - realistically - how can enemies
who were fighting, arguing, refusing to accept the other one's position,
end up as "ohavim", loving each other?  Sounds a little too romantic!
     The Mishna in Pirkei Avot (Ch. 5) of "machloket l'shaim shamayim"
contrasts the arguments of Hillel and Shammai, vs. the one of Korach.  Reb
Yerucham, the Mashgiach of Mir, is astounded that the ONLY problem with
the terrible things Korach did was that they lacked "lesheim shamayim"!?
That is a concept we apply in trying to guage the quality of Mitzvot!  It
seems, says Reb Yerucham, that Korach's arguments were legitimate, and had
they been done with the same motivation and intention as Hillel and
Shammai's, they would have been considered very positive things.  We don't
shy away from Machloket and arguments.  BUT...
     The intention has to be to reach truth, clarity, closeness to G-d,
all through legitimate means.  And if I enter into an argument purely with
that intention, either I will end up accepting my opponents arguments, or
I will become even clearer that mine are correct.  It is my opponent who
helped me reach one of those two conclusions, clarifying my position,
leading me to a more defined understanding and bringing me closer to the
truth.  This is a cause for me to love him and appreciate him, even when I
don't end up agreeing with him.  THAT is the conclusion of the Gemara,
that the "oyvim" end up "ohavim."
     I think that a prerequisite to reach this level is the recognition,
in advance, that there are a number of different valid approaches in
Torah.  For if there can only be ONE way, then if I become MORE convinced
I am right, my opponent must be even MORE wrong, and this delegitimizes
him.  But if I respect his position, and my conflict with him is motivated
by my trying to clarify my own position, then I can greatly appreciate the
help he gives me in in doing that.  The better an opponent, the stronger
the conflict, the more I will love him.
     A perfect example of this is the Gemara in Bava Metzia (84a) where
Rebbi Yochanan (RY) was in depression over the death of Reish Lakish (RL).
Rebbi Elazar ben Pdath (REbP) tried to take RL's place as Rebbi Yochanan's
cheveruta.  Every time RY said something, REbP said "I can validate what
you have said."  RY complained bitterly over this, bemoaning the loss of
RL who was able to bring 24 attacks on each thing RY said, which required
24 responses, leading him to greater clarity of the issues.  THIS was
irreplaceable, and without it RY went insane.  How many of us WELCOME
attacks on our positions and opinions?
     We shouldn't shy away from true confrontation and disagreements in
pursuit of truth and growth.  This can be termed "sinat sachar."  It
degenerates into "sinat chinam" when we begin to hate the PERSON we
disagree with, rather than the ideas or behaviour.  The proof the Gemara
has that the machlokes of Hillel and Shammai was "lashaim shamayim" was
the close personal relationship they were able to maintain, despite the
vehement Halachic and ideological disagreements they had.
     Eradicating disagreements is not necessary (or desirable) in bringing
the redemption.  The Geulah will be brought when we are able to eradicate
the "chinam" aspect, the personal aspect, of what can be legitimate
ideolgical differences.  May it happen quickly.

Shabbat Shalom and an easy fast.


From: Irwin Keller <keller@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 23:23:25 -0400
Subject: Re: Survivors of Zsidokorhaz

I am placing this ad for a friend doing research on survivors of the

"I am looking for relatives of workers from the Radiology Department of the
Zsidokorhaz (Jewish Hospital) who were taken to Auschwitz in May 1944 from
the hospital. Their names as I know them are : Leopold Margit, Back Erno,
Galdi Jeno, Holits Rezso jr. , Lichtenstein Bela, Weiss Miklos, and Winkler
I would like to memorialize these martyrs. I need their pictures and facts
about their lives.
On the day they were taken from the hospital my mother was late to work.

Please contact me with any information:

Judith K. Amorosa
Dept. of Radiology
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
One Robert Wood Johnson Place
New Brunswick, N.J. 08903
(908) 937-8617  "

Or respond by e-mail to <keller@...>


From: <alustig@...> (Arnold Lustiger)
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 12:21:23 -0400
Subject: Yeshivishe Community

Both Mechy Frankel and R. Bechofer have cited R. Dessler as the
essential crux of the philosophy behind the Lithuanian Yeshivos. (Reuven
Cohn of Boston actually faxed me the relevant passages in Michtav
MeEliyahu immediately after my original post).

As a result, for me the situation has suddenly become crystal clear. I
feel that R. Bechofer is correct when he says:

>a) Insight: As to Arnie Lustiger's claim and R. Yitzchok Adlerstein's
>counterclaim concerning Yeshivos, with all due respect, I feel you are
>both missing the boat :-) . In the Michtav Me'Eliyahu vol. 3 p. 353
>Rabbi Dessler zt"l eloquently explains why, although it was completely
>rational and frum to open a B.A. granting Teacher's Seminary in
>Gateshead, he nonetheless forbade it. He says that the Eastern European
>yeshivos, in contradistinction to the Western European ones, WERE NOT
>geared to build Torah true societies in an optimum fashion, but rather a
>la the "1000 enter Mikra and one goes out to be a Moreh Hora'a", to
>produce the ONE Gadol for the next generation, and if 999 got lost, he
>writes, too bad, but THAT IS THE PRICE!

In other words, creating a self sufficient, inclusive Yeshiva society is
not a concern in the Lithuanian Yeshivas. Their only purpose is to
produce Gedolim. If one reads the Teshuvos of Rav Shach on this subject,
it is very clear that this singular goal is behind his thinking as well.
(I am not sure about the Chassidishe Yeshivos).

Given this reality, here then is the question: How can anyone possibly
send their son to such a Yeshiva? Can I send my son to an institution
whose sole purpose is to find, nurture and produce the 0.1% of students
who will become Gedolei Torah knowing in advance that there is an
overwhelming probability that my son will be among the "lost 999"? I
would assert that a large percentage (probably a majority) of those
learning in Kollel in Lakewood or Ponevezh are not and have little hope
of becoming Gedolei Torah, and therefore are already among this group.

Here is Mechy Frankel's indicting, yet apparently accurate description of 
the Lithuanian Yeshiva ideal:  

>Rather than reflecting a warm, mutually supportive and respectful
>infrastructure between the rebbeim and those who learn that avodas
>hashem can continue outside the walls of yeshiva per R.  Alderstein's
>aschalta digeula depiction of a yeshiva society, R. Dessler describes
>the real fate of those who dropped out during the glory days of Litvishe
>yeshivas as follows. Those who sought to turn to a profession (and
>acquire thereby a professional education) to make their way in life were
>dropped like a hot potato (obviously I'm paraphrasing), and cut off from
>further contact with the yeshiva. those who did not (turn to a
>profession) were aided by the yeshiva rabbonim to find an expressly
>menial or unattractive job e.g. working in a store (R. Dessler's
>example, not mine.) and such like, which would enable them to (perhaps)
>eak out a parnosa, but not present an attractive alternative model to
>the still striving yeshiva boys.

I believe that the majority of boys learning in Kollel are there for
this reason: not because they display the talent to be there, but
because the Yeshiva administration has prohibited any alternative. In
light of R.  Dessler's teshuva, the professional alternative is not per
se asur (prohibited). Rather, the Yeshiva administration drums into the
heads of alll the boys that seeking a profession is prohibited because
otherwise a professional career might entice a few potential Gedolei
Torah away from their true calling.

Uri Meth mentioned that (secular) college is really no place for a nice
Yeshiva boy. Having been there myself, he may be right. He himself gave
one answer to his argument: this does not count places like Touro
College where the "tumah" is extremely limited. Another answer that I
would suggest is that even in a secular university the "tumah" would
have limited influence if one stayed in Beis Medrash after high school
for 4-5 years prior to college. In Israel, it is axiomatic that
Religious-Zionist boys generally go to hesder Yeshivos before college.
Why, as Americans, is it necessary for us to send our boys to college
immediately after High School (or, more commonly, after only a year of
learning in Israel)? I would very much want my son to learn in a Beis
Medrash for such a period prior to college, if in fact he is among the
99.9% of non-godol material. Yet, how can I guarantee that after these
years in Beis Medrash my son will not be influenced by his Roshei
Yeshiva to think that college is not a legitimate option?

My son is entering 9th grade, and is extremely influenced by his
rebbeim.  This discussion is not academic for me.

Arnie Lustiger


End of Volume 14 Issue 24