Volume 14 Number 35
                       Produced: Tue Jul 19 23:26:13 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Academic and Traditional Torah Study
         [Jeffrey Woolf]
Chesed and learning
         [Eli Turkel]
Haredi Yeshivot/Chillul Hashem
         [Harry Weiss]
The Hidden Prophecies of the Verses
         [Howard Reich]
Tisha B'Av in the Catskills
         [Jay Kaplowitz]


From: <F12043@...> (Jeffrey Woolf)
Date: Sun, 17 Jul 1994 14:35:03 -0400
Subject: Academic and Traditional Torah Study

I think I'm finally ready to address the comments of Mr.  Press. First,
on the question of publish or perish. Those of us who seriously see our
work in Jewish Studies as a search for truth, and an integral part of
Talmud Torah, would never sacrifice integrity for getting into print.
Just as scholars who publish in Torah journals would not issue a Hiddush
(much less a responsum) without being convinced of its truth. Both do so
in the clear awareness that absolute, unimpeachable truth lies with God
(See Ramban, Introduction to "Milhamot HaShem; and R. Moshe Feinstein,
Introduction to Iggerot Moshe Orah Hayyim,I).  An added way of ensuring
integrity is indeed "peer review" which is a constructive facet of both
academic and Torah discourse. In fact, it is an essential factor in the
writing of responsa....I have a sneaking suspicion that none of this
will sit well with Mr. Press. If his discomfort is due to a fundamental
rejection of any approach to Torah other than that bequeathed him by his
teachers, then we have nothing to discuss lest this turn into a dialogue
des sourdes. I respect his position, even as I reject its exclusivity.
If, on the other hand, he is threatened by a parallel path in Torah (See
Rashbam, Start of VaYetze) then I must tell him we are not out to
destroy yiddishkeit, but to enhance it. Discovering new connections,
sources, layers of meaning in traditional sources; reconstructing the
sitz im leben of great rabbinic figures expands Torah horizens. The very
fact that the Haredi world felt the need to get into 'scientific'
publication is because they could not deny its validity or
attractiveness. The fact that Hazon Ish is reputed to be against
manuscripts, thereby adopting a position to an explicit Rema (HM 25:2)
shows how attractive this approach is (and how futile is thought
control). Let me remind Mr. Press that the healthy soul is the one which
can engage and debate, not the one which must hold up in a corner and
say Trief.
 Jeffrey Woolf


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 1994 12:07:42 -0400
Subject: Chesed and learning

     Chaya Gurwitz did an admirable job of pointing out the chesed
organizations in the charedi world. I would also add then in Israel
organizations like Ezer Miztion and Yad sarah etc. are staffed to a
large extent by charedi people.
     She further states
>> Most Kollel families are not living in poverty.  They may drive beat-up cars
>> and wear last year's styles, but they are getting by. They attempt to
>> stay in Kollel as long as possible, but when it is no longer feasible,
>> they pursue careers in business or professions.

   Her statement is correct but I wish to qualify it that she is mainly
referring to the American scene. In Israel it is almost unheard of that
a kollel student should pursue a career in business even after many
years of learning in a kollel (and yes she is right that business is as
least as proper as a college career). Some of this is due to the demands
of the Israeli army but it is mainly due to differences between US and
Israeli societies. It is taken for granted that any Israeli yeshiva
student that goes (or intends to go) into business will not get a
"proper" shidduch.  Several years ago the rebbeim in Bnei Brak objected
to Yeshiva boys joining a local Hatzala group. In some chassidish
communities the kollel students do go to the army and then into business
after several years learning. In the "Mizrachi" Merkaz haRav Yeshiva it
is also common to push off army service and work for many years while
sitting and learning. Today many hesder yeshivas have a kollel to sit
and learn for a number of years after completing the hesder program.
While Rav Soloveitchik has always stressed the importance of advanced
learning The modern orthodox in Israel ignored this for many years. The
result was that many of the rebbeim in Bnei Akivah yeshivas and most of
the government rabbis and judges came from "black hat" backgrounds.  It
is only relatively recently that the modern orthodox community in Israel
has realized that if they want future leaders with their own perspective
on life they need people who will sit and learn for many years before
going out into the world.

    As I have stated several times there are large difference between
the American (chutz la-aretz) and Israeli communities and between the
Litvak and Chassidish communities and in fact between the different
chassidish groups.


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Mon, 18 Jul 94 18:18:21 
Subject: Haredi Yeshivot/Chillul Hashem

In the considerable amount discussion regarding this subject there are a
number of separate issues that have been raised.

One of the items raised is Lashon Hara (gossip).  Would Lashon Hara even
be applicable or does this only apply against an individual or specific
group of people.  (IMHO even the most anti-charedi does not believe that
any of the problems discussed apply to all cheredim, chasidim, etc.)

Would those who believe that the Cheredi Yeshivah system is a
sociological failure apply that to the whole system of only the second
tier.  The numbers attending the Lakewood or Ponevezh level Yeshivot are
not that large and there is a major selection process prior to someone
being admitted to those Yeshivot.  Would anyone consider these Yeshivot
sociological failures?

Esther Posen mentions that Yeshivot rely on business leaders not
professionals for their support.  It is true that generally the huge
contributions that make headlines come from those people.  The bread and
butter of many Yeshivot are those who make the smaller contributions and
pay full tuition.  These are the professionals and their quantity makes
up for the size of the contributions.

The allegations against members of the frum community regarding fraud
and other financial misdeeds is a tremendous Chilul Hashem.  Whether or
not all of the allegations are true there is still a Chilul Hashem.  It
hurts all Jewish institutions when a leader of the Chasidic community is
convicted of money laundering.  While the problem of financial
impropriety may be more widespread in the Charedi/Chassidic community it
is a problem in all segment of the frum world.  How many people offer to
pay cash to get out of sales tax (and help the business owner evade
income tax).  How many organizations of spectrums act a tour agents
knowing that people used them to pretend that the check written was for
a contribution not a vacation. (This was prior to this year's change in
tax code requiring actual receipts.)

Despite the numerous opinions regarding Dina D'Malchuta (the law of the
land) as was discussed in the past, even if one feels that this would
not be applicable the Chilul Hashem that arises when these are caught
and publicized should stop us from doing these actions.

The length of one's beard or peyot, the type of coat and hat or kippah
(or sheytel/scarf) does not make a person a frum Jew.  The total actions
and behavior are what counts.



From: Howard Reich <0006572811@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Jul 94 19:59 EST
Subject: The Hidden Prophecies of the Verses

     I attended a lecture this past shabbos in Chicago, given by Rabbi 
Shmuel Irons, Rosh Kollel of the Kollel Institute of Detroit.  I thought 
I'd share a portion of that lecture with the list.

     An article published in a Satmar magazine about 5 years ago (which 
R. Irons is no longer able to locate), mentioned that each of the 5,845 
psukim (verses) in the Torah according to the Masoretic text, 
corresponds to its numerical year (e.g, verse one corresponds to year 
one, etc.).  R. Irons tested this theory and found an uncanny 
correlation between events in Jewish history and allusions to those 
events in the corresponding verses in the Torah.  The examples provided 
by R. Irons in both the lecture and in a handout (from which I took the 

     3337-39, which R. Irons described as the years of the destruction 
of the First Temple and the Exile of Jewry, correspond with Leviticus 
20:22-24, "You shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my 
judgments, and do them; that the land, whither I bring you to dwell 
therein, spit you not out...."
     3866-70, which R. Irons described as the years of the destruction 
of the Second Temple (66-70), correspond with Numbers 6:5-9, "All the 
days of the vow of his separation, no razor shall come upon his 
head; ... And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled 
the head of his consecration, ..." which must be read in conjunction 
with Nazir 32b, "When Nazirites arrived [in Jerusalem] from the Diaspora 
and found the Temple in ruins, Nachum the Mede said to them: 'Had you 
known that the Temple would be destroyed would you have become 
Nazirites?'  They answered: 'No.'  Therefore Nachum the Mede absolved 
them [of their vow]...."
     5252, the Expulsion from Spain (1492), corresponds with Deuteronomy 
22:22, "... so shall you put away evil from Israel."
     5700-5705, World War II (1939-45), chillingly corresponds with 
Deuteronomy 29:26-30:3, "And the anger of the L-rd was kindled against 
this land, to bring upon it all the curse that is written in this book.  
And the L-rd rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and 
in great indignation, ..."
     5708, the creation of the State of Israel (1948), corresponds with 
Deuteronomy 30:6, "And the L-rd thy G-d will circumcise thine heart and 
the heart of thy seed, to love the L-rd thy G-d with all your heart and 
with all your soul, that you may live."
     5709, the victory over the Arab League (1949), corresponds with 
Deuteronomy 30:7, "And the L-rd thy G-d will put all these curses upon 
thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee."
     5727, the Six Day War (1967), corresponds with Deuteronomy 31:5, 
"And the L-rd shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto 
them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you."
     If the reader is interested in the coming year, verse 5755 
corresponds with Deuteronomy 32:3 which contains the charge, "When I 
will call the name of the L-rd; ascribe ye greatness unto our G-d."
     This was the end of R. Irons' lecture.

     I could not resist the temptation and took the time on Tisha B'Av 
to look ahead at the succeeding verses.  While I would not necessarily 
wait for the next fast day to do so, I would caution the reader against 
looking ahead while on a full stomach. :-)

     The reader will note that R. Irons used Chazal's years.  In a 
private communication, R. Irons told me that he devotes an entire 
lecture to the 165-year discrepancy, which he could not summarize 
briefly, and that he has not tested the theory against the historians' 
years.  While I'm curious as to what such an analysis would reveal, I'm 
not as enterprising as I hope other MJ'ers will be. :-)

          Howard Reich (<hreich@...>)


From: Jay Kaplowitz <NOTES.JKAPLOWI@...>
Date: 19 Jul 1994 10:23:10 GMT
Subject: Tisha B'Av in the Catskills

 MONTICELLO, N.Y. (Motzei Shabbos) -- Tisha B'Av in the Catskills.

 On a night that has brought Tzoras to the Jewish people for thousands
of years, there was a scene of utter tranquility at Beaver Lake Estates,
which bills itself as the first modern Orthodox summer community in the

 On a night when the two Batei Hamigdash burned in Jerusalem, a campfire
burns near a manmade lake.  Perhaps a hundred little kids, some with
camp counselors, some with parents, listen to the haunting, awesomely
sad, diregful melody of Aichah, the Megillah of Lamentations, the story
of Tisha B'Av.

 Some sit, others lie on blankets.  Some simply listen, others play with
flashlights, occasionally shining the beams across the huge open field,
across the campfire that sets the scene.

 It is a night when the cumulus clouds stand motionless between the
stars, when the water of the lake seems still, when even the mosquitos
that attacked residents the night before as they ushered in the Shabbat
on a nearby porch have seemingly vanished.

 There is simply the melody of Aichah, the words of the Tisha B'Av
story.  But most of these youngsters are too little to understand these
words, so for them it is a learning experience simply to be bound up
with their peers and to imagine.

 Jeremy Lebowitz, who is the Beaver Lake Day Camp's "rebbe," sets the
stage.  He talks about the campfire and tells the youngsters to think
about the fires that consumed the Temples.  He urges the children to
remember that each ash floating up represented a Jewish soul that
perished as the Temples and Jerusalem were destroyed.  He notes that
just as wood keeps a fire burning, the observance of Mitzvot would have
kept the Bais Hamigdash from being destroyed.

 Think about the symbolism.

 Tranquility on a night that has brought tears, terror and more to the
Jewish people.

 Parents hugging kids on a night when, the Megillah tells us, parents
placed their own interests above those of their children, when parents
actually ate the flesh of their children.

 Embers of a campfire floating peacefully into the air on a night when
towering infernos engulfed the Holy of Holies.

 Kids walking along a path lit by home-made lanterns on a night when the
Jewish people was forced to walk, death march style, out of Jerusalem,
out of Israel.

 It is hard to imagine the terror of Tisha B'Av, to conjure up a mental
picture of what happened in Jerusalem thousands of years ago.  But I got
some help this week when I saw terror of a different period, the terror
of the Jewish experience in World War II as portrayed in Schindler's

 There is a clear connection to Tisha B'Av, too.  World War I, which led
to the Second World War and the Holocaust, began on Tisha B'Av.

 The fast is just underway.  There is hardly any hunger yet.  The kids
sitting on the blankets, the kids who rode to the Tisha B'Av service on
their dirt bikes, have never experienced hunger, never mind the famine
that beset the Jewish people as the Babylonians and then the Romans
surrounder Jerusalem before capturing it.

 Aichah is a Megillah of despair.  Yet it ends with hope: "Bring us back
to you, Hashem, and we shall return.  Renew our days as of old."


End of Volume 14 Issue 35