Volume 14 Number 50
                       Produced: Tue Jul 26  7:27:39 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Devorim 10:6
         [David Steinberg]
Mahloket re facts
         [Yitz Kurtz]
         [Tuvia Mozorsky]
Rabbeinu Gershom's Two Wives
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Rashi Print = Ramo
         [Abe Perlman]
Relevance of Data in Talmudic Discourse
         [Sam Juni]
Tax Credits Allowed for Tuition
         [David Sherman]


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 1994 08:17:30 +0100
Subject: Devorim 10:6

Jay Bailey posted an SOS concerning the discrepancies raised by Rashi on 
Devorim 10:6 and the Ramban's shlogging (disproving) him up.

The most complete list of discrepancies in those psukim can be found in 
the Kli Yakar who notes about ten issues.  There are other lists in the 
Alshich and other places.  The questions are better than the answers given.

It must be noted that the Torah is not a history book. That is not 
to say that the Torah does not relate historical events, but that the 
history is subservient to the message.  This is of course the basis for 
those who hold 'Aim Mukdom U'Muchar Ba'Torah' (the Torah is not purely 
orgainised in a chronological fashion).  In fact, meforsim discuss as a 
fundemental question why the Torah incorporates the first part of Maasei. 

Here in Eikev, Moshe Rabbeinu is in the middle of giving instruction to 
the jews who are on the verge of entering Eretz Yisroel.  The primary 
concern of his narrative is not historical - the jews had just lived it.  
And they could go back to Maasei if they needed a chronology.  Moshe 
Rabbeinu highlights certain events for their emotional impact and 
potential for moral tutelage.  It is in this context that Rashi and the 
other meforshim should be understood.  

That being said I couldn't find any single answer that I liked, that 
globally answered all of the discrepancies.  Below are the answers I 
liked best to specific questions.

Why is the death of Aaron HaCohen mislocated?  The Malbim says that the 
real reason Aaron died was for the Cheit Ho'Eigel (Golden Calf).  Hence 
the juxtoposition here of the death of Aaron with the previous psukim 
which speak of the Eigel and its consequences.  (Aaron either received 
temporary clemency for the sin which was lifted due to the chet of Mei 
Meriva or the Torah shielded Aaron from the shame of having his death 
associated with those who actually worshipped the Eigel since he only 
unwillingly participated).

Why are we again told 'VeYechahen Elazar Tachtov' (Elazar was anointed as 
Cohen Godol in his place) ?  The Taz says it teaches us that Hashem 
doesn't take a leader from us without having one ready in his place.  
Nevertheless, the loss of a Godol, even though there is a replacement 
ready is as significant as the Shviras Ha'Luchos (breaking of the 
Tablets).  (How are we to feel, after the deaths of Rav Moshe, Rav 
Yaakov, the Rov etc, when we can't readily identify the Mechahen Tachtom?)

Why does the posuk reverse Bnai Yaakon and Moseira, add the word B'Eiros 
etc?  Much droosh/pilpul is written - most of which I didn't find 
satisfying.  Once you get away from Pshat (the basic level of 
understanding the text) it almost becomes a matter of personal taste.  
For example the Ksav VeHaKabbala says that a large subset of the jews 
departed from the main encampment to graze their sheep; that they were at 
B'Eiras (wells) of Bnai Yaakon when they heard the news; and that rather 
then return to rejoin the Klal, mourn for Aaron HaCohen, and give the new 
Cohen Godol the respect due him they continued about their business.   
Another answer I saw said that the Jews were more concerned about the 
loss of the Ananei Kovod (cloud walls which shielded the jews in the 
desert and which were taken away on Aaron's death) than they were at 
least initially about his actual death (but contrast with the posuk that 
they mourned 30 days for him)

As I said before good question - weak answers.

Nachamu, Nachamu

Dave Steinberg


From: Yitz Kurtz <hmrcelec@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 1994 16:07:07 -0400
Subject: Mahloket re facts

In v14n33 Sam Juni argues that if we assume that Talmudic disputants are
impartial and work with the same data, factual disputes are a logical

Sam Juni's argument holds for disputes that are fundamentally about
facts but what about factual disputes that are not the cause but the
result of disputes about values or philosophical principles?  I think
that even in such cases the proponents of the "just not the facts
(JNTF)" position would try to avoid factual mahloket.

For example, the dispute between Shammai and Hillel about whether the
heaven or the earth was created first (Midrash Rabbah, Bereishit).  The
fundamental argument is philosophical: can we conceive of a physical
existence without the existence of a corresponding spiritual world?  The
result is, on the surface, a dispute about facts ie, which came first.
Of course, the JNTF school could easily get out of this one by arguing
that the factual dispute is only a metaphor for the real philosophical
dispute. That is beside the point. The point is that, in principle, it
is possible to have a factual dispute that is not based on mistrust,
dishonesty or inconsistent data but on philosophical differences.

One might object that the above example is aggadic and not halakhic in
nature. So here are two more examples. There is a dispute in Yoma (85)
about whether a fetus is formed from the head down or whether it is
formed from the middle outward. The gemara entertains the possibility
that this is the basis for the dispute about whether the lack of a
heartbeat is sufficient to establish that a person is dead or whether it
is necessary to establish that the person has stopped breathing. Now, is
the factual dispute, ie. how a fetus is formed, based on conflicting
empirical evidence or dishonesty on the part of the disputants? I think
not. More likely, the dispute is based on their differing philosophical
viewpoints about the nature and essence of Man.

There is a mahloket in Shabbat (Perek Kirah) whether the hot springs of
Teveriah are considered Toldot Eish (heated by fire) or Toldot Hamah
(heated by the sun). The gemara says that the R. Yose's opinion that
they are toldot eish is predicated on the assumption that the fire of
Gehinom heats these springs. The Rabbanan hold that the springs are not
heated in this way. This dispute has direct halakhic implications, so
one cannot dismiss this as allegory. Even though the dispute apparently
is a factual one the idea that G-d uses the very fires of Gehinom to
provide earthly pleasures is perhaps at the center of this controversy.
(See Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer who cites the hot springs as an example of
"taarokh lefanai shulhan neged tsorerai").

The point is that factual disputes can have theological or philosophical
roots. Nevertheless, the JNTF school of thought would try to avoid these
disputes as well. Why? Because the principle of "eilu ve'eilu divrei
elokim hayyim (both are the words of the living G-d)" only applies to
disputes about principle and not disputes about facts. As the oft-quoted
(by me) Rashi in Ketubot says when amoraim argue about facts one is
necessarily lying but when they argue about svara they are both right.

Sam Juni writes:

> I realize I am getting carried away with the computer analogy, so let me

Allow me to get carried away with a Quantum Physics analogy. "Eilu
veeilu" says that the halakha is a wave function based on a
superposition of both opinions. When a halakhic dispute has implications
that can be observed empirically then that wave function collapses. No
more superposition of opinions, one of the opinions is determined to be
right and one is determined to be wrong. This is the halakhic equivalent
of the death of Shrodinger's cat. It is this rather messy scenario that
the JNTF school wishes to avoid.

Yitz Kurtz


From: Tuvia Mozorsky <mozorsky@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 1994 19:43:34 -0400
Subject: oldies

I'm looking for some (relatively) old Jewish music.

In particular: Mark 3, Rabbi's Sons, Diaspora Yeshiva Band, and pre-1986
Shlomo Carlebach. If anyone has info on any of these, I'de appreciate
hearing from you. Please E-Mail me directly. Thanks,



From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 1994 20:37:15 -0400
Subject: Rabbeinu Gershom's Two Wives

My childhood memory leads me to the recollection that this "fact" is to
be found in one of Marcus (Meir) Lehman's novels for Jewish youth.
Another inaccuracy which stayed in my mind for many years as a result of
these engaging, yet embelleshing novelletes is that the Rosh was the son
in law of the Maharam Miruteburg. In fact, he was a talmid.


From: Abe Perlman <abeperl@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 94 2:49:35 EDT
Subject: Rashi Print = Ramo

Yael Penkower writes:

>1) If there is "Rashi print" in the Shulkhan Aruch does that necessarily
>mean that it is the Ramo? What if it is in parenthesis? What if it does not
>say "hago?" I have heard that it is not. Are there manuscripts that show this?
>Are there articles written on this?

My Rosh Hayeshiva from Ottawa, Rav Eliezer Hacohen Ben-Porat told me
that not every print on the top with Rashi print is the Ramo.  If it
says "hago" it is always the Ramo.  However, when it doesn't, if it not
in parentheses then it is also the Ramo (there are not many examples of
this) but if they are in parentheses sometimes it is and sometimes not.
Often the compiler of the Shulchan Aruch of long ago wanted to elucidate
a comment of the Mechaber and therefore wrote this comment.  My Rebbi
says that at times he has figured out that it is not the Ramo because a
statement in those parentheses does not concur with what the Ramo wrote
in Darkei Moshe (the Peirush of the Ramo on the Tur similar to the Beis
Yosef.)  The Ramo crystallized his statements in Darkei Moshe in his
addition to the Shulchan Aruch.  Therefore if it does not concur it
cannot be the Ramo.

Mordechai Perlman


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 1994 13:41:57 -0400
Subject: Relevance of Data in Talmudic Discourse

I have been following the debate between Dr. Woolf and Dr. Press
regarding the role of modern scientific inquiry in Talmudic/Hallachic
discourse. I am struck by the buzz word "irrelevance" used by Dr. Press
to crystallize the utter dismissal of emprical research by the
self-proclaimed flag-bearers of traditional Talmudic scholarship.

I would like to suggest that what we are smashing into here, is a clash
between two approaches to knowledge: Book (or angecedent) source
oriented vs. data or empirical oriented.  We are all aware of the
tendency by empirically-oriented adherents to discovery to distort or
even falsify "written sources" in order to make these "fit into" their
data base.  The next step in this continuum would be to explicitly
renounce written sources as "irrelevant" to the scientist whose
allegiance is to empirical observables.

I believe the irrelevance brandished by Dr. Press represents the exact
converse of the above.  To the "people of the book" who profess absolute
allegiance to source material, the initial approach may indeed involve
attempts to "fit in" scientific findings into the a priori structure of
the source. (N.B., Witness the often-ludicrous plethora of modern
synthetic Torah-Nature-Science glossy "literature" showing the alleged
correspondence between the two systems.) Logically, then, the next
step from this vantage point is to reject the legitimacy of the
non-source based approach as irelevant!

I AM NOT asserting that the above is what Dr. Press meant. I am relating
my own mental association to the choice of language, as I hear it.

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


From: <dave@...> (David Sherman)
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 94 16:18:05 EDT
Subject: Tax Credits Allowed for Tuition

As a Canadian tax lawyer & author of numerous books on tax, let
me clarify how yeshiva tuition works in Canada.  It may be interesting
for the U.S. and Australian readers who are proposing various models.

First, day schools and yeshivas get no direct government support
in Ontario.  (Other provinces differ, but Toronto, which has the
largest number of Orthodox Jews in Canada, is in Ontario.)  This
is in contrast to the Catholic schools, which run a "separate"
school system funded by the provincial governement in parallel to the
public school system.

Second, there is no deduction or tax credit for tuition expenses
as such, below the post-secondary level.  (There is a credit,
worth about 27% of the amount paid, for university and college-level
tuition fees.)

Third, there is a tax credit for donations to registered charities.
The charity must have a Revenue Canada registration number, abide by
numerous requirements imposed by the Income Tax Act, and issue receipts
showing the registration number.  Above $200 per year for each taxpayer,
the credit is worth about 50% of the amount paid (i.e., for each additional
$100 donation you get about $50 off your total tax bill, regardless of
what tax bracket you're in).

All of the day schools and yeshivas are registered charities.

Revenue Canada has an administrative policy, not sanctioned by the
Income Tax Act but set out in a Revenue Canada Information Circular,
that permits a religious school that is a charity to treat donations 
as applying first to its secular studies, and tuition fees as applying
to the costs of offering the religious studies (plus any portion of
the secular studies not funded by the donations).  The tuition fees
that apply to religious studies are then (against by administrative
tolerance) considered as charitable donations.

In effect, this allows close to 100% of the tuition fees paid to
Toronto day schools to be considered as a charitable donation.
Our fees paid to Eitz Chaim last year, for example, were about
$13,000 (two kids), of which only about $200 or so didn't qualify
as a charitable donation.  This effectively cuts the cost of tuition
in half.

Perhaps this is an approach that other jurisdictions could pursue.

David Sherman
Canadian Tax Lawyer & Author
905 889 7658


End of Volume 14 Issue 50