Volume 14 Number 45
                       Produced: Mon Jul 25  0:06:22 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
How to Hasten the Redemption
         [Gedaliah Friedenberg]
Rote and Meaning in Jewish Prayer
         [Seth Kadish]
Torah From Sinai
         [Michael E Allen]


From: mljewish (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 1994 23:49:27 -0400
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

Things have definitely been going quite lively here on mail-jewish, I
have been enjoying many of the discussions and I hope you all have as
well. As almost anytime that I have a comment, I will again stress that
I ask of you all to read over your postings before you send them out to
me, both to put yourself in the shoes of others reading it to make sure
that you are not attacking others etc, as well as to just make sure that
it reads well. There are a lot of people reading what you write, so take
the extra minutes to proof-read your posting.

Just a quick personal note, I will be on the road during the first week
of August, so we will see how regularly I will be able to get issues
out. If you find a few days pass and you don't get anything then, you'll
know it probably is because I'm taking a bit of a vacation. As part of
that vacation, I and Carolynn will be in the San Francisco area for the
Shabbat of August 6. If any of the mail-jewish readers would like to
extend an invitation for Shabbat to us, we would love to accept. We are
also going to be in Passaic for the next Shabbat, and are looking for a
place to stay and eat Friday night (we have a Bar Mitzvah to attend
Shabbat lunchtime). If we have any mail-jewish readers who would like to
put us up, we would love to accept your hospitality.

As you know, when there are long submissions, I encourage those to go to
the archives with a summary to appear here in the actual mail-jewish
issues. I finally got around to placing a few of those in the archives,
so here is the announcement for them.

The first is a multi-section article on Tefilla, Kavanna or Keva by
Rabbi Seth Kadish. This fascinating essay forms the basis of a
multi-part lecture series he will be giving later this year in New York
and in Highland Park (I'll send more info on that when I know). For
those of you going in via ftp/gopher, you will find it under a new
directory in the archives, entitled 'tefilla'. For those getting it by
email, the files are called:


A description of the essay from Rabbi Kadish follows this administrivia.

The second is a article titled "Torah from Sinai", by Rabbi Yisroel
Chait and submitted by Michael Allen. There are three forms of the file,
a text version, a LaTex version and a Postscript version. The text and
Latex versions are available by email as files:


and are found (for ftp/gopher) in the directory Special_Topics. The
postscript version is available only by ftp/gopher in the directory

The last is an excerpt (I think) from the forward of one of the Chafetz
Chaims books on Lashon Harah discussion the connection between Lashon
Harah and the Redemption. It is also in the Special_Topics directory,
and is email archives under the name:


The following are descriptions or the first few paragraphs of the
archived material.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator

From: <friedenb@...> (Gedaliah Friedenberg)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 1994 23:49:27 -0400
Subject: How to Hasten the Redemption

                        -=-Gedaliah Friedenberg-=-
P. O. Box 334	          Ohr  Somayach  Yeshiva        <friedenb@...>
Monsey, NY  10952   				    <gfrieden@...>

  From the Chofetz Chayim's Foreword to one of his seforim on Lashon Hora

Klal Yisroel [the Jewish people] had the unique fortune of being chosen
by the Creator of the universe to be the recipients of His Torah.  This
was an unequaled privilege as well as a formidable responsibility.
Because Klal Yisroel sinned, the Bais Hamikdosh [Temple in Jerusalem]
was destroyed and they were exiled from Eretz Yisroel [the redeemed land
of Israel].  This exile has lasted until today.  It is pertinent to ask:
which transgressions have been the prime cause of the continuation of
our exile?

For a number of reasons it appears that the main sin has been loshon
hora (evil speech).  Loshon hora is the source of much hatred, disputes,
and even bloodshed.  The Talmud (Yoma 9b; Gittin 57b, Rashi) specifies
loshon hora as the cause of the exile.  Therefore, until we rectify the
evil, we will not be deemed worthy of redemption.


From: <SHERI@...> (Seth Kadish)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 1994 23:49:27 -0400
Subject: Rote and Meaning in Jewish Prayer

[Sheri Kadish at <SHERI@...> will forward all comments people
have on this set of Shi`urim on Tefillah to Seth. Mod]

               Rote and Meaning in Jewish Prayer

                  (Five Shi`urim on Tefillah)

                         by Seth Kadish

     Summary:  This essay questions many common assumptions about
prayer, based a re-examination of halakhic and hashkafic sources.
The   results  of  both  yeshiva  learning  and  academic  Jewish
scholarship  are  discussed  and taken  into  account.   Finally,
suggestions are included to help improve our tefillot.


1. Introduction: Prayer as Kavvana or Keva`
     The problem of meaningless, rote prayer in the time of Hazal
and in our own day.
       The  Problem  of  "Keva`";  "Tahanun"  Versus  "Keva`"  --
Definitions; Preliminary Questions.

*2. Prayer as an Idea *(Outline)
      A  survey of three major hashkafic explanations of tefilla:
the   "real"  approach,  the  "educational"  approach,  and   the
"mystical"  approach.   Why  is  "kavvana"  so  hard  to  define?
Endeavors  to show that no matter what the hashkafa, our  tefilla
does  not meet its goals.  Some hashkafot alienate a person  from
the very words he says.  What is the value of Tefilla be-Tzibbur?

3. Prayer as an Obligation
       The  prohibition  to  pray  without  kavvana  increasingly
limited,   until   entirely  eliminated.   (Aside:   Rav   Hayyim
Soloveitchik's hiddush.)  This has a negative effect  on  tefilla
in  general  - it trains a person to pray without kavvana!   Some
modern situations relating to these halakhot.
      Sections:  Rabbi Eliezer's Rule on Kavvana; Limitations  on
the  Rule;  A  Reinterpretation of Kavvana; Rabbi Eliezer's  Rule
Neutralized  in  Practice;  Some Contemporary  Applications;  The
Formal Preservation of Tefilla.

4. Prayer as a Literary Text
      Was  the wording of our tefillot meant to be fixed rigidly?
Was  there ever an "original text" of the tefillot?  The academic
debate.   Representative views of rishonim and acharonim on  this
issue.  Free (informal/non-obligatory) prayer in Judaism.
      Sections: The "Original Text" of the Prayers: The  Academic
Debate;  Basis  of the Rabbinic Debate; Rabbinic  Deniers  of  an
"Official Text" for Berakhot; Rabbinic Believers in the "Original
Text": Mystics and a Text-Critic; An Halakhic Compromise; Summary
of  Approaches to an "Official Text" for Prayer; Informal  Prayer
in Judaism.
     Appendix: Why Has Hiddush Disappeared?

5. Suggestion: Prayer as Conversation
      This  means more personal innovation, tefilla in  your  own
words.   Don't make it a value to "say everything".  How  to  get
rid  of  speed  reading  and monotones; failures  of  piyyut  and
classical hazzanut; new liturgy; implications for women's tefilla
groups; implications for a "unified" Israeli nusah; Conclusion.


From: <allenme@...> (Michael E Allen)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 1994 23:49:27 -0400
Subject: Torah From Sinai

                    Torah From Sinai

                  by Rabbi Yisroel Chait


    Judaism, as seen through the eyes of the scholars of the Talmud,
has its own unique religious orientation. While basing itself on a
cataclysmic event -- revelation, it does not look to miracles as the
source of its intimate relationship with G-d. G-d's revelation at
Sinai was a one-time occurrence never to be repeated. This is
expressed in Deuteronomy 5:19, "a great voice which was not heard
again."(*1) In the mind of the Talmudic scholar G-d continuously
reveals himself not through miracles but through the wisdom of his
laws.(*2) These laws manifest themselves in Torah -- the written and
the oral law -- and in nature.
    The Psalmist expresses this view most clearly. He speaks freely of
the wonders of nature and the awe-inspiring universe as in Psalm 8:4,
"When I look at the heavens, the work of Your fingers; the moon and
stars which you have established". Psalm 104, dedicated to the wonders
of nature, climaxes with the exclamation, "How many are Your works, O
Lord! You have made them all with wisdom." Regarding the sheer
intellectual joy one derives from studying Torah, he states, "The
Torah of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul, the testimony of
the Lord is trustworthy, making wise the simple person.  The precepts
of the Lord are upright, rejoicing the heart, the commandment of the
Lord is lucid, enlightening the eyes...The statutes of the Torah are
true; they are all in total harmony.  They are more to be desired than
gold, even fine gold, and they are sweeter than honey and the


End of Volume 14 Issue 45