Volume 14 Number 40
                       Produced: Fri Jul 22 12:45:15 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Irwin H. Haut]
Cheating in Grade-Curved Courses
         [Sam Juni]
Cheating: Hallacha vs. Morality
         [Sam Juni]
Cost of Yeshiva Education
         [Jeefrey Woolf]
G'neivas Da'as (deception)
         [Mark Steiner]
Inheriting sin
         [Ari Kurtz]
Professions of Manhegei Yisroel
         [David Steinberg]


From: Irwin H. Haut <0005446733@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 94 19:50 EST
Subject: Cheating

        Lest silence be construed, G-D forbid, as acquiescence, I must
join Mark Steiner and too few others who have emphasized that all forms
of cheating and theft are prohibited according to our just law, whether
from Gentiles or Jews. I am not the greatest posek, but I can
conclusively state, on the basis of respectable authority, that all
forms of such activities are presently prohibited, depite the comments
of some.
        Any view to the contrary is false and a perversion of Halakhah,
irrespective of how that noble term is properly spelled. This would, of
course, apply to items taken from supermarkets, cheating on exams. etc.
To any residual doubters I need only remind you of the rule that a
convert, although in legal theory a new born-child, is obligated to
honor his non-Jewish parents, lest it be concluded that our law was lest
just and respectful that that of non-Jews. See Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh
Deah, 241:9, where the Mehaber, on the basis of B.T. Yevamot 22a, rules:
        "It is prohibited for a convert to curse his pagan father, or to
strike him; and he should not shame him, so that it may not be said that
he exited (or left) from an exalted state of holiness, and enetered a
lesser state of holiness,..."
        It follows therefrom, as inexorably as day follows night, that
matters of this type which are prohibited by secular law, are a fortiori
prohibited under Jewish law, and any assertion to the contrary will not
withstand reasoned analysis. Enough said on this topic?  

Rabbi Irwin H. Haut


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 07:35:14 -0400
Subject: Cheating in Grade-Curved Courses

There have been several postings re cheating on exams which appeal to a
concept which goes something like this:

      In classes where there is a quote by the professor to give
      only a limited number of A's, puuting oneself into the A
      cluster deceitfully deprives another of the A s/he would
      rightfully deserve. This is thus subsumable under the con-
      truct of theft.

I would like to argue against this conceptualization.  Theft referes to
"taking" from another in the literal sense, not the figurative. Picture
the scenario where one manages to get a hold of a class grade roster and
changes another student's grade from A to B. Would that be theft? No!
 You might wish to consider it harming another, which falls into another
category than theft.

Before one concludes that when one cheats to get an A in a grade-quota
class, one is also guilty of harming another, we need to consider one
major qualification.  The decision to deprive the other student of his A
just because I received (his) A, is the professor's decision. Indeed,
the decision is based on my grade, but I did not take the grade from
anyone, per se.

To carry it to the extreme, why not argue that it is unethical to excell
in such a class, for with my excelling I am causing another's grade to
drop from an A to a B? If you find this absurd, please realize that the
concept of "harming another" should hold regardless whether the action
is done via deceiving (a third party, the professor) or by hard work. I
can fathom many a scenario where harming another requires hard work and
is (nontheless) quite unethical.

I think that the logical results, when one adds the implications of these
two arguments together, put the ethical categorization of cheating in
grade-curved classes into an unclear category.

I am writing this under minimal concentration conditions.  I suspect I
may be missing a beat, but I have no idea where.

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


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 21:56:04 -0400
Subject: Cheating: Hallacha vs. Morality

Several of our folks have gotten upset about the recent direction of the
discussion of lying and cheating in Hallacha. I see two trends in the
upset reactions.  Here they are, plus (of course) my commentary:

   1. The very discussion of such topics as the possible permissibility
      of lying is harmful to Jews, and it provides fodder for anti-semites.

        My comment: Honest discussion is not something to be frightened
                    of. I prefer its hazards to those of censorship.

   2. A reaction of incredulity and horror at the suggestion that lying may
      not be prohibited Hallachically, followed by a moral condemnation of
      those Orthodox Jews who entertain such a notion. (Cf., Ezra Rosen-
      feld's findings on 7/18/94  that something is seriously wrong with
      our circle as a result.

        My comment: We are confusing here the question of whether there
                    is an Hallachic prohibition against an activity with
                    an assumption that matters which are not prohibited
                    by Hallacha are ipso facto ethically valid. I think
                    the very telescoping of all morality into the
                    Hallachic system is frightening.  If I may be
                    allowed to recriminate, I suggest that many
                    instances of unethical behavior by some "orthodox
                    devout" are directly attributable to the complete
                    absence of a moral code for the perpetrators (and
                    its absence in their educational system as well),
                    other than the Hallacha.  Please bear me with these
                    two anecdotes:

     1. A good friend of mine hails from a solid Yeshivishe background.
        His Chumros would knock your socks off.  He is a big Ba'al
        Chesed (generous) and a big Ba'al Tzedokko (charity giver), but
        all is based upon "what written."  He recounted without shame an
        incident where his car ran of Gas in Japan late at night, and
        his luck in finding a farmer who woke up just to open his Gas
        Depot for him.  I mentioned to my friend that he must have given
        the fellow some sizeable tip, and was chagrin- to hear him
        respond: "Why should I; I'll never see him again."

     2. I was diagnosing a psychopathic intelligent Chassidic teenage
        boy who was a professional thief.  He was able to discuss
        rationally his approach to life, and was quite vocal about his
        goal to "become a goy."  Upon elaboration, the dynamics
        crystalized as follows: The boy was bothered by feelings of
        guilt as violating the Torah in his avocation.  He saw salvation
        in his dream of becoming a goy, since "there is no reason for a
        goy not to steal.  Upon questioning, he was quite honest in his
        notion that all goyim steal habitually, and was dumbfounded when
        I presented him with the fact that many goyim do not steal
        because they feel it is "wrong."  Of course, one may argue that
        proving morality hypotheses from a psychopath is oxymoronic.
        But, I must say, that I saw the reasoning as deriving from his
        educational/religious/social weltanschauung (view of the world)
        instead. (And that's my professional opinion, so let's not
        debate it, please.)

So, the crux of the matter is: Are the irate posters willing to consider
Morality as a turf which does not necessarily intersect with (and not
subsumed by) Hallacha?

Even if they are not willing to consider this notion, they do need to be
considerate of other poster's moral alternative standards, who may well
be asserting that lying may be permissible Hallachically.  The latter IS
NOT the linguistic equivalent of stating that Jews are permitted to lie.

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


From: Jeefrey Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 01:18:07 -0400
Subject: Cost of Yeshiva Education

Having expended serious serious sums on Yeshiva education, I feel myself
qualified to note that even though there are supplementary charges,
yeshiva education here in Israel is FREE (unless you choose to be a
total separatist). As a friend who recently moved here said: I've spent
tens of thousands of dollars trying to artificially create a Jewish
atmosphere in america with camps and schools.  It makes morre sense to
come to Israel where the atmosphere is there, genuine and costs (even
percentage-wise) less.

                                      Jeffrey Woolf


From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 13:03:14 -0400
Subject: Re: G'neivas Da'as (deception)

> From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
> Some time ago, Mark Steiner inquired re my assertion that G'neivas Da'as
> hinges on the obtaining a favor from another via deception, rather than
> banning mere misrepresentation.  He mentions Chulin 93b.
> If I may direct Mark to the Rashi commentary on 94a, Rashi explaines the
> problem as due to the fact that the receipient will then be beholden to
> the deceiver.  One can take that lterally as implying that the process
> becomes problematical because of the favor which will then be returned.

	Rashi's expression "lehachazik tova" does not imply that the sin
is comitted only when a favor is returned by the recipient.  The sin is
comitted as soon as the deceived person believes that he owes the
deceiver a favor.  Rashi uses this expression on a number of occasions
in the Talmud, e.g. in Tractate Avoda Zara in discussing the taking of a
gratuity from the priests of an idolatrous religion (sorry, I'm in Exile
in America now and can't give the exact page reference), without at all
implying that a favor must be returned, contrary to Dr. Juni's

	I am disturbed further at the thought that Dr. Juni is willing
to sanction deception in the name of Torah by such insubstantial
arguments (a reading of Rashi which even Dr. Juni does not think is
inevitable).  I recommend to all an honest study of the sugya--there is
no hint in the Talmud that geneveivath da`ath requires any action at all
on the part of the deceived person.  As for deception which falls short
of geneivath da`ath, a number of readers have sufficiently refuted the
outrageous charge that the Torah condones any form of lying.  I would
just add here that Maimonides codifies the laws of geneivath da`ath in
two places: in Laws of Sale and in Laws of Virtue (hilkhoth de`oth) 2:6.
He embeds the sin of g.d. in the general prohibition of flattery,
hypocrisy and other kinds of falsehood.

> If I remember correctly, the Enyclopedia Talmudit has a treatment on the
> topic which probably substantiates my hypothesis.

	I recommend to writers for mail-jewish that before they write
articles that will be read by thousands of people arguing that Torah
allows immoral behavior that they check their sources in advance.  As it
happens I recently read the article in question and my memory of it is
quite different from Dr. Juni's.

Mark Steiner


From: Ari Kurtz <s1553072@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 1994 02:27:33 -0400
Subject: Inheriting sin

       Shalom Alichem 
  I'd just like to emphisize an idea that was mentioned on the topic.
The point is that everyone is born with their strengths and handicaps and
those who seem to be more handicapped aren't being punished for anything. At the end we are responable of accomplishments in regard to what we
were granted at the begining of life a blind person isn't expected to
accomplish what would be expected from a normal person. Or more obvious
one would expect more from a person of an over average inteligence than 
one with below average inteligence. At the end we will all be judged in
regard to our own abilities (why weren't you yourself and not why weren't 
you Moshe Rabainu ).  So all discussions on why one was born with a Mamzer
or with Gay impulses are unimportant since it's decreed from Hashem and that
all there is say about it. We just have to do the best with what we have.
And in no circumstances does any defect in ourselves justify going against
the Torah even though some people are exempted from some mitzvot due to 
    On the other hand we find that there are those who explain ones defects
at birth are sometimes relevent to a previous gilgul. an approach I believe
the Ramban takes in explaining Job.

                                          Ari Kurtz


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 10:55:17 -0400
Subject: Professions of Manhegei Yisroel

David Levy  in his post ' Re: Frum Doctor, Lawyer ' writes
> Pity the Rambam if one could not be a frum yid and a doctor!  In fact,
> many gedolim had deep knowledge of secular subjects, and some went to
> University e.g. the Lubavitcher Rebbe (OBM) studied physics at the
> Sorbonne, a fact his followers cite with pride. Moshe Rabbeinu himself
> received an advanced secular education at Paro's court.

I once heard a vort (soory I don't remember the source) which explains
why Moshe Rabbeinu was raised as a prince in Paro's court:

Hashem understands the psychology of jews and knew that if Moshe
Rabbeinu was to be accepted, he would have to be seen as authoritative.
In that dor (generation) the ultimate respect was given to malchus

This pattern has repeated itself at other critical junctures in our
history.  Rabbi Yehuda Ha'Nassi combined the role of Nassi with that of
compiler of the Mishnah 'Torah U'Gedullah B'Makom Echod' (Torah
Expertise combimed with Leardership)

The Rambam's role as court physician gave him added stature 'Mi'Moshe ad
Moshe Lo Hoya C'Moshe' (From Moshe Rabbeinu 'til Moshe - Maimonides -
there were none equivalent) that enabled him to issue the revolutionary

In our generation three Gedolim - Rav Soloveitchic, Rav Hutner and the
Lubabvitcher Rebbe - all attended university in contradistinction to
their peers.  It may be that for our Dor the imprimatur of a university
degree lent an aspect of Gadlus to enable them to communicate with the
vast numbers of secular jews.

Dave Steinberg


End of Volume 14 Issue 40