Volume 14 Number 46
                       Produced: Mon Jul 25 18:05:17 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Academic & Traditional Torah Study
         [Abe Perlman]
Chasidim in Israel etc.
         [Meir Lehrer]
         [Mitchel Berger]
Professional Jews
         [Esther R Posen]


From: Abe Perlman <abeperl@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 94 2:31:31 EDT
Subject: Academic & Traditional Torah Study

Jeffrey Wolf writes:

>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). 

What do we do with the fact that some great scholar disregarded the
search for truth and wasted a good part of his life to produce the
Jerusalem Talmud on Kodashim which was proved to be a forgery.  How do
we protect ourselves against that?

Mordechai Perlman


From: lehrer%<milcse@...> (Meir Lehrer)
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 1994 19:01:14 -0400
Subject: Re: Chasidim in Israel etc.

You know, I'm actually really sorry at this point that I ever published
my story as to what occurred in my estranged community over that
Shabbat. Now that I've read some of the strangest responses on this
mailing list, I'm not sure if I want to keep participating at this point
if this is what I have to expect in the future.

I'd posted a response last week; however, the monitor envoked his right
as moderator and refused to post it. Therefore, we'll see if this makes
it through (it'll be interesting).

What I have to say is this. I, me, Meir Lehrer, was the only individual
there and am the only one capable of "speculating" (and that is exactly
what the overwhelming number of individuals on this group have been
doing for the last week or so) as to the "true motives" of the charedim
who did this. To people who post things of this nature:

Quoting "Yaakov Menken":
>I'm sorry, Meir - it's hard for me to blame the Chassidim for the
>strength of their reaction.  It was _wrong_ - but it's not a situation
>that they created.

All I have to say is that I'm sure that'll truly comfort the young
mother who was seated in the back of the car holding the infant who was
obviously only a few months old. You didn't see the look in their eyes
when they saw her. My first reaction would have been one of regret and
shame that I'd let my anger take me so far as to frighten a young
innocent mother and her COMPLETELY INNOCENT BABY. But no, their look
increased in aggitation due to the fact that she wasn't attired to their
(the charedims') standard of sniyut (modest) dress. Garbage!!!! So
therefore I'm not interested in hearing how "but it's not a situation
that they created". That is a completely unacceptable response, in my
opinion. I'm to be able to understand (somehow) that all of this,
although you say not completely justifiable, is at least understandable
due to the fact it was the driver's fault for entering the streets?

Listen, to this and to the individual (I can't remember who) who'd said
that the driver could have killed an innocent pedestrian walking on the
closed streets, I am the only one who knows what it's like to live in
this neighborhood.  None of you State-side can say that, and there are
no charedi neighborhoods like this in the States (including all
borroughs of NYC). I wasn't even going to send this article, but so many
responses starting coming in with such a tone of self-righteous behavior
that I just couldn't sit quiet anymore.

Too many people have sought to detach these individuals from their
totally unexcusable behavior. I never said that such examples should
serve as a standard expectation for all charedim, just that such example
do indeed exist and are by no means rare in Israel anyway.  Many Jews
chutz l'aretz (outside of Eretz Yisrael) have a glassy-eyed view of
cloistered communities, ready to vigorously defend any behavior since
they flow with "the pure waters of Torah". If you pour pure water into a
dirty kli (container) it's not bound to remain pure, is it?  All I'm
saying is that we must all keep mindfull that human beings are human
beings, all subject to the same frailties of behavior, and Jews
(especially charedim) are no exception no matter how long they sit in
Kollel. Torah is a pure goal/ideal which must be properly applied by
individual human beings. It is not a self-supporting entity which stands
as a treasure for all if it's apart from our actions.

Now I've even seen people who've degenerated the responsibility of the
charedims' actions to the point of saying we can't discuss it because
it's lishon hara (quoting the Chofetz Chaim as their source). Well, this
is a very sad thing to read for me, and I find it an entirely silly
approach to this whole topic. If you're going to enter that whole arena
then you should have also learned that the Chofetz Chaim held that
something already know by 3 people or more as a result of the event in
question having been published is not subject anymore to Lishon Hara, as
it is public knowledge.

I'd like just as well to end this whole "Charedim in Israel" subject
here as I feel no amount of discussion will help to improve the
situation already created. I also feel that those who live in the States
don't have any idea of what it's like to live in a neighborhood like
this day in day out, night and day. So there's no point in commenting on
a subject towards which you can't in the slightest way empathize. I can
blame these individuals for their actions and I do hold to that. They
didn't consider "lo ta'amod al dam re'echa" (Toraidic negative
commandment of: "Don't stand in your brother's blood"), or the terrible
effects of "morit ayin" (wrongful appearance), or "chilul Shabbat"
(desecration of the Sabbath), or "Ahavat Yisrael" (love of Israel and
your fellow Jew), etc, etc, etc.  Even if you wanted to say that these
moronic individuals did it in their hashkafa (viewpoint) as "l'Shem
Shemayim" (for the sake of heaven), they'd still have to abide by
"malachot Shabbat" (forbidden labor/actions on Shabbat). After all those
years in Kollel and Yeshiva you'd have thought that one of these 30 or
more charedim would have know enough to say, "Hey, what a minute guys.
Before we string them up, isn't a car muksah (forbidden by the Rabbis)
on Shabbat? Can I open the car door? Is making a dent a problem? Will
this further the efforts of returning this obviously misguided
individual to the light and beauty of Torah?"...  NODDA!!! Not one!!!

Therefore, let's just pretend that I never sent in this article, okay?

- Meir Lehrer.


From: Mitchel Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 15:43:33 -0400
Subject: Isolationism

I publish each week a collection of divrei Torah taken of the InterNet.
I put them through FrameMaker (TM), and give enough gloss (GIFs etc...)
to get people to read them. I have a very weak editorial policy, I'll
print almost anyone.

(Although certain groups are under-represented on the net. For example,
the closest thing to a Chareidi who produces such a list are Aish
Hatorah and Ohr Samei'ach. This under-representation probably has a lot
to do with people who complain that mail-jewish is skewed toward modern.
You can't print what isn't getting written.)

The local Aguddah, which is run by R. Yonasan Sacks of MTA, circulates
it, as does the more clearly modern Orthodox institutions in town (e.g.
the Young Israel).  My shuhl, which is somewhat more chareidi, won't.
This is because it contains excerpts from Machon Tzomet, a mizrachi
institution, R. Riskin's column, etc...

I want to point out the difference in attitude. We don't find the YI
Rabbi trying to protect his congregants from Lubavitch's (perceived)
hyper-messianism or R. Chaim Shmulevitz's (apparant) anti-zionism.  It
is a distinctly Aggudist position that it is better to not read Torah
than to risk exposure to (what they perceive as) negative influence.

This ties in very cleanly to their attitude on television.

This play-safe attitude might underly the entire structure of the
Chumrah-of-the-Month Club (TM). It is safer to just stay away from a
question than to deal with it -- even if you stand to gain spiritually
from addressing the issues.

This inherent sense of insecurity may also be why the concept of da'as
Torah, understood in the sense of asking a Rav for advice on
non-halachic issues, is so central to this movements thoughts. When your
own judgement is doubted, when issues should be avoided instead of
confronted, you need someone to bear the burden of decision-making.

The chareidi movement might be properly described by the motto:
	Ki yeitzer kol adam ra mine'urav
	For the will of all man is evil since youth
Man is inherently evil, save me from myself.

BTW, the above pasuk is usually understood to refer to the teitzer hara
(the will to do evil), which is present at birth, as opposed to the
yeitzer hatov, which grows with maturity. Taking it to mean the whole
creative mind may be an accurate literal reading, but not the way chazal
(our Rabbis) have traditionally understood.


From: <eposen@...> (Esther R Posen)
Date: 25 Jul 94 16:20:33 GMT
Subject: Professional Jews

Joe Abeles championed the benefits of a college education quite
eloquently.  First off, it is ridiculous to argue that a college
education is not an asset in pursuing a career.  However, I did want to
make some additional comments.

It is true that partners in law firms and officers of large corporations
make a lot of money.  It is also true that colleges have large endowment
funds and yeshivas generally don't.  But there is alot missing from this
collection of data.

One of the things I have done to amuse myself in the almost 10 years I
have spent in a large corporation is to become a student of the
corporation I work for specifically and corporate life in general.  I
have learnt alot in my pursuit especially vis a vis the frum
professional and the corporation.

1) Seems to me that the purpose of attending Harvard, Yale, Princenton
etc. in pursuit of an MBA type degree is not so much what you learn (you
could always read the book) but who you meet and the contacts you
develop.  Furthermore, there are many activities that make or break a
high-powered corporate career that make it difficult for frum people to
be anything less than peons.  (For the purposes of this discussion
anyone earning less than $250,000 is a drone.)

I am not being facetious when I say that jews (and certainly the frum
jews that I know) do not make great golf players or beer drinkers.  Any
glimpse that I have had into the workings of the upper echelons of
corporations have had much to do with business being transacted over
food (non-kosher) drink (more that four cups of wine) and golf.  Face it
folks, we just don't fit in.  And fitting in is very important.  I have
occasionally had to attend going away parties and the like.  I sit with
my one jewish (non-religous) colleague and we laugh at our "genetic"
inability to drink six beers and then drive home.  I am not espousing an
"all goyim are drunks" theory.  I just think real success in business is
based on who you know and hang out with.

Where I do find frum people enjoying much success is in their own
businesses, the medical profession and in law.  (Although the frum
lawyers that I know consider frumkeit to be a giant barrier to success
even in jewish law firms not only for the practical reasons associated
with work schedules shabos, yom tov, etc. but because of the "societal"
type reasons cited above.)

Frum people do well where skill is of utmost importance, for example in
medicine.  I don't need to play golf with my surgeon - just give me the
BEST.  I certainly don't know any frum high placed marketing or sales
types in my corporation.  Anybody with any examples (remember we are

2) It is true that many frum people make alot of money and then lose it.
However, this is true of businesses run by top MBAs from top business
schools.  Even drone jobs in large corporations are increasingly risky
ventures.  Corporations today are constantly downsizing and
professionals with the best "preparation" for a career are constantly
being laid off.

3) With all due respect to "what they do or do not teach you in Harvard
Business School", I still maintain that there are many businessmen out
there who are businessmen in their bones and many well educated MBAs who
couldn't make a dollar if their life depended on it.

4) As far as endowment funds are concerned, some of these colleges cater
to the fairly wealthy to begin with and charge exorbitant tuitions.  If
we could charge anything like this in any yeshiva we wouldn't need
endowment funds.  I also think that some yeshiva's (like Torah Vodaath)
do have endowment funds.  It just takes focused leaders to insist on
taking donated money and NOT spending it.  Yeshivas are always so
desparate in the present they never have the presence of mind to focus
on the future.

Just more food for thought.



End of Volume 14 Issue 46