Volume 14 Number 41
                       Produced: Fri Jul 22 12:50:20 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bnei Brak incident
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Chassidim and Israel
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]
Divine Providence - Yeshivas with Financial Hardship
         [Hayim Hendeles]
Yeshivish, Chasidish, BT, Professional, Monsey, etc.
         [Norman Tuttle]


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 1994 20:33:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Bnei Brak incident

I am paraphrasing other's posts here:
Poster A suggested that someone seen driving a car on Shabbat should be
judged lekaf zchut (leniently).  One should assume they're on the way to the
Poster B responded that one is only required to judge leniently an observant
Jew.  So in this case one could assume the driver is violating Shabbat.

First,I am curious as to the source for Poster B's assertion.  

Second, what would be the criteria for this judgment?  In practice, anyway,
I don't think this was the criterion the Haredim were using when they
stoned the car, since it doesn't sound like they asked these people any
questions about their observance.  Maybe they really were on their way to
the hosptial.  Here is a true story: My friend, pregnant, realized that her
route to the hospital led through Bnei Brak.  She and her husband prepared
signs for their car, saying (I guess): "On way to give Birth, Don't Stone."
They used them, too...

aliza berger


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 1994 18:28:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Chassidim and Israel

> From: Yaakov Menken <ny000548@...>
> First and foremost - as Rabbi Adlerstein carefully pointed out -
> Chareidi Yeshivos and the Chassidic world are two different phenomena.
> As one of my Rabbeim once said, "we need only 'answer' for the conduct
> of B'nei Yeshiva."  Although there are Chassidic b'nei yeshiva (many, in
> fact), the two groups - "Chassidic" and "b'nei yeshiva" - are distinct,
> and the intersection may be smaller than you suspect.  For those part of
> group A but not B, an ignoramus remains an ignoramus, no matter how long
> his beard or wide his shtreimel.

This quote continues to bother me each time I read it.  Don't yeshivot
purport to provide leadership for some larger community?  Is it the case
that Yeshivot (or at least the rabba'im) do not consider the way the non
attenders will react to the explanations and doctrines they propound and
espouse.  I don't mean to say that everything the larger community does
is necessarily due to this leadership.  In actuality, we don't know the
exact reason for anyone's actions.  Rather it seems to me that the
Yeshiva community can contribute a great deal to the larger community by
taking it upon itself that they do need to answer for the larger
community, especially the larger community that draws its principles and
viewpoints from the Yeshiva community.  This is over and above the
general areivut principle.

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Jul 94 10:17:48 -0700
Subject: Divine Providence - Yeshivas with Financial Hardship

In a previous post, I alluded to the fact that it *may* be Divine
Providence (hashgacha) that legitimate Yeshiva's are always struggling
to make ends meet. I say *may* because my comment is predicated on the
following story I once heard, and I cannot remember where, in order to
verify the source. Nor can I go back to the source, and question it.
Nonetheless, the story is still very cute and worth repeating.

As the story goes, Reb Elchonon Wasserman zt"l came to Baltimore in the
mid 1930's, in order to raise sorely needed funds for his Yeshiva in
Europe. While in Baltimore, he stayed in the house of Rabbi Ruderman

Unfortunately, the fund raising was not going as well as he had hoped,
and Rabbi Wasserman was forced to postpone his departure repeatedly.
During this time, a so-called "Rabbi", running an anti-Torah
institution, came to Baltimore to do his own fund raising, and in one
night was able to achieve the funds he needed, and was gone the next

After witnessing this event, Reb Elchonon voiced his frustrations : Here
he comes, representing a legitimate Torah institution and is having a
difficult time getting the money he needs, and as a result is forced to
stay a long time. In the meanwhile, this anti-Rabbi, is able to get the
funds he needs in 1 night, and is able to leave the next day!  Is this

To which Rabbi Ruderman zt"l responded, that if you think about it, it
should be this way. The proof is from the laws of Arei Miklat [cities of
refuge].  The Torah teaches us that we are obligated to institute cities
of refuge, for people who kill accidentally. Furthermore, the Halacha
demands that the highways and roads must all post clear signs and
directions pointing to these cities of refuge.

On the other hand, there is a mitzvah for every Jew to go to Jerusalem 3
times a year. There is no requirement to have the roads to Jerusalem
clearly marked.

This seems strange. The cities of refuge were only required in rare
instances (for accidental murders with 2 witnesses etc. etc. etc.), and
yet the Torah still saw fit to mark the roads [to these cities] quite
clearly. And yet, when it comes to traveling to Jerusalem, which every
Jew was required to travel 3 times a year, the Torah makes no
requirements that the roads to Jerusalem be marked.

Answered Rabbi Ruderman: That when a traveler to Jerusalem needs
directions, he is going to have to stop and ask the local farmer or
resident the road to Jerusalem. In the course of conversation, the local
resident might ask the purpose of the trip to Jerusalem, and the
traveler will explain to him there is a mitzvoh to go visit G-d in the
Temple in Jerusalem.  Eventually, after hearing about this several
times, the local resident may decide to come along also so that he too
can gain a share in this great Mitzvoh.

On the other hand, when one is running to the city of refuge - the last
thing you want is for the murderer to have to ask for directions.  For
if he must stop to talk to someone, he will ultimately (even if
indirectly) have to reveal that he killed someone. When people begin
hearing about murders often enough, it no longer has the same shock and
disturbs us the way it used to. This eventually leads to a cheapening
status of human life, which in turn leads to more killings.

So in order to avoid any such discussions, the Torah required the roads
to the city of refuge be clearly marked.

So, Rabbi Ruderman concluded, it's the same thing here. When this
anti-Rabbi comes to town, G-d wants to get him out as soon as possible.
The longer he stays, the more opportunity to poison others. So G-d says
give this guy whatever he wants, and get him out of here immediately!

However, with you [Rabbi Wasserman] the situation is the exact opposite.
The longer you stay, the more opportunity you have to meet others and to
influence them. So G-d wants you to stay as long as possible in order to
maximize your exposure.
Thus, perhaps, based on this story, one might argue that hashgacha
[divine Providence] wants the legitimate Yeshivas to struggle to
make ends meet (legally, of course).

Hayim Hendeles

P.S.  As an aside, I once asked Rabbi Simcha Wasserman zt"l a similiar
question: Why is it that we find numerous cases where people donate
fortunes for nonsense causes; and yet for legitimate charities there
are relatively few donors?

Rabbi Wasserman's answer was quite profound: He said that it is a
zchus [privilege] to be able to donate money to Tzedaka. G-d does
not allow everyone this zchus.


From: <ntuttle@...> (Norman Tuttle)
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 94 14:06:48 -0400
Subject: Yeshivish, Chasidish, BT, Professional, Monsey, etc.

I was slightly hesitant to jump into the fray in the Modern/Chareidi
debate inspired by a particularly incisive article here by Arnold
Lustiger.  I would rather take more time to contribute my
Gemara-knowledge to the more halachic- style issues, or my
scientific-theoretical knowledge to more creative contributions, but for
the unity of Klal Yisrael I will attempt to enter the fray as a
professional counterpart of my Yeshivish and Chasidish associates,
fellow shul members, etc.  While it may have been better to leave myself
with an anonymous persona (other than the name), I will now provide you
with certain autobiographical information so that you may better
identify my experiences.  Since 1.5 years I lived with my parents (not
religious) in the Monsey, NY area.  At about the age of 14, I became
FRUM and Sabbath observant under the tutelage of some friends who were
Belz Chasidim.  Since 15, I was attending both public high school and
Yeshiva Kol Yaakov (a Bal Teshuva Yeshiva in Monsey; I attended in the
late afternoons).  I spent Sabbath meals with Orthodox (mostly Yeshivish
and Chasidish) families in Monsey, and often spent Saturday afternoons
learning in the Yeshiva.  I graduated at 18 (4th in class at the public
high school), and the next year left for U. of Chicago in Chicago, IL,
as a prospective physics major.  At the University, I participated in
the Shiurim that were given in the Hillel but also learned a Tractate of
Talmud each year on my own (for the Siyum Bechorim).  Most Sabbaths I
spent in north Chicago (away from the campus, which is in south Chicago)
where most of the Orthodox community is situated.  I graduated in 1991
with a B.S. in Mathematics and CompSci, and found a job in 4 months as a
Software Engineer with a small firm in the space industry (attitude
control systems).  Now currently age 25, single, working almost 3 years,
and regularly attending Daf HaYomi Shiur in the evenings (in Monsey),
and also learning independently (finished 2 Tractates on my own this
year).  In addition, I began a Singles Shabbaton program which attracts
people mostly older than myself, and I am possibly interested in writing
about Yidishkeit.  I also attend graduate classes towards a Master's
program in Computer Science

   Now, what do I get from writing all the above?  Just to point out
that I'm a professional with college background who identifies with the
"Chareidi" Jews, spends the Sabbath with them, shares Divrei Torah with
them, contributes to their institutions, etc.  I respect my brethren who
adhere to the "Torah Hi S'chora" (or "Torah-only") philosophy, and my
Yeshivish and Chasidish friends respect me, both for what I do and for
what I am.  I have found the Frum communities of Monsey and Chicago
always willing to take in guests, especially for the Mitzvot of
Hachnosat Orchim and Kiruv.  My conversation with Yeshivish/Chassidish
hosts, family, and guests, has been on the whole very enlightening,
positive, etc. and our interaction is very beneficial to all parties.
As a matter of fact, I have found that I often got along better with
"Chareidi" families than the "modern" ones (although this is by no means
true of all cases; perhaps my terminology for labelling is different
than Lustiger's).  And this is all true, despite the fact that I have
(and had) a more college-enlightened and even scientific orientation,
but I implement this orientation in a Torah-guided way.

   As far as college education, there is no question that my Chareidi
friends wanted me to pursue a more Torah-centered education.  Especially
with the deficit of Jewish education which I had in my younger years
(let's not bother to count Hebrew school, since this did not teach me
Ikar Yidushkeit, although I certainly got something from it, including
the ability to read Hebrew, know something about some of the holidays,
and translate some Hebrew words), sometimes I myself wonder why I
haven't spend more full-time learning.  There is a rabbi who felt I
would have been a Gadol if I had gone to Yeshiva.  (Oh, well, here I am,
relegated to my status as under-paid engineer).  But, when push came to
shove, nobody hindered my desire to get a quality secular education.
How to implement the education was another story.  One rabbi from the
Yeshiva (Kol Yaakov) felt that his students should NOT go to Yeshiva
University, because he was opposed to the philosophy there.  He felt,
however, that I could go to college and yeshiva.  Others were more
concerned about the environment that college promoted, especially to
mandate staying in the traditional (single sex) dorms.  The Rabbi who
was M'Karev me, a Belz Chasid, wanted me to go Yeshiva University, not
to a regular college.  He was concerned about the intellectual and
emotional atmosphere prevalent at universities, and felt that the daily
learning schedule would also benefit me.  I know a few Chasidim who did
go to YU.  [Ultimately I went where I felt I would get a better physics
education, but I stayed in an all-male dorm (single-occup. room),
learned regularly, and had contacts for Sabbath hospitality, some of
whom I knew from Monsey.]

I'd like to clarify a few more points on the subject:

(Note: BT="Bal Teshuva", or Torah Observant Despite Upbringing: "TODU")
(Note: FFB="Frum From Birth", or Torah Observant From Upbringing: "TOFU")

1) It may be possible that A. Lustiger's comments regarding
professionals as seen in the light of my own may reflect a difference in
the attitude of the Chareidi community towards BT's as opposed to FFB's.
For instance, they might support YU for a BT who is predisposed towards
college anyway (sort of the way the Torah permits a Y'fat To'ar to a
victorious warrior who is caught in the grasp of powerful emotions),
whereas they would not send their children to the same school.  However,
the fact that Kollels and right-wing synagogues often sponsor programs
of learning tailored to professionals (including Daf Yomi classes, which
are often attended by professionals), and honor professionals at dinners
should not be denied.  IMHO, it does not just imply a need for money
(which we all need anyway), but a healthy partnership in which both
professionals and Kollel scholars are given justification for the
choices which they made as Torah-observant citizens, and the ability to
share both wealth and learning with those who are less fortunate in
either area.

2) There may also be a difference between U.S and Eretz Israel in some
of the topics which Lustiger brings up, but I am not knowledgeable in
this area.  In addition, my limited experience in Monsey/Chicago may not
be common to other areas of the U.S.

3) Chareidi and Dati are not monolithic.  I don't think that attitudes
towards professionalism are what characterizes either group.  There are
many other issues at stake.  Most individuals cannot really be
classified as either Chareidi or Dati, modern or Yeshivish, etc.  Many
of us exhibit characteristics of both.  To me, it is the fact that we
are Frum that is important, and it is more important to emphasize the
things which unite us rather than those which divide us.

4) Perhaps the function of Yeshivas is not just to create the Gadol
Hador but to create individuals who are proficient in halacha.  For an
individual to learn Lishma is a very important Mitzva ("Talmud Torah
K'Neged Kulam").  And there are many times when we need to be able to
make important choices without a Rabbi present or readily accessible, so
the individual really does have to be proficient in Torah ("Ki Hem

Nosson Tuttle


End of Volume 14 Issue 41