Volume 14 Number 76
                       Produced: Mon Aug 15 22:58:59 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Joe Abeles]
The Lie is a Lie
         [Binyomin Segal]
Waiting 5 and a half hours
         [Stephen Phillips]
Yeshivos and Careers
         [Chaim Twerski]


From: Joe Abeles <joe_abeles@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 1994 10:12:25 -0400
Subject: AOJS

Regarding the AOJS (Ass'n of Orth. Jewish Scientists) convention,

While I have found their Homowack weekend to be enjoyable, I find some
aspects of AOJS a little curious.  By the way, these weekends are
ostensibly organized like professional society meetings, with conference
fees separate from the hotel.  (Although they don't have much of an
international representation nor separate activities for spouses, at
least not yet.)

For one thing, a large majority of attendees seem not to be scientists
at all (nor trained as scientists), but rather health professionals.
One typical class of AOJS presentation is that which serves the needs of
the latter community (e.g., when does death halachically occur is an
interesting modern question because engineers have built machines which
can sustain breathing).  While interesting, I (for one) don't find this
to be a subject of science, but primarily one of halacha.

By the way, I surmise AOJS was named in the same tradition by which a
medical school in the Bronx was named for a physicist.  Although it is
true that some of the old guard of AOJS are real scientists (e.g., Cyril

Another part of the AOJS community, as it is represented at the
Homowack, are those who are interested in the relationship between
halacha and science.  In one talk I attended, probably the most
well-attended that year, a prominent Rav argued in depth as to why the
study of science in no way constitutes the mitzvah of limud torah or any
other, with the possible exception of learning how to calculate
astronomical events for obvious purposes (but this need seems rather
obsolete today).  At least it is not assur.

It is difficult to say how such a presentation could not have had a
stultifying effect on the assembled faithful.

It would seem that the real nature of this event, perhaps of interest to
those readers who might be considering attending, is that it brings
together a group of people who are rather talented in fields such as
delivery of health care and computer programming with a small subset of
working scientists and mathematicians who, at the same time, are all
orthodox.  I find them a stimulating group of people, once you get past
the stuffiness with which we are sometimes afflicted.  There have been,
I believe, "round robin" seating arrangements for singles and in fact it
was an excellent venue for meeting and greeting.  Furthermore, perhaps
unlike any other event in this regard, it provides a situation in which
singles and marrieds naturally tend to commingle.
 On the other hand, many at the Homowack are not there for the AOJS
convention, but (a bit secretly) are there to meet those who are.

An interesting aspect of all this is how there is some cachet to the
image of the "scientist" in orthodox jewish circles.  Perhaps there is
some (begrudging?) respect for those who have developed (and on whom
Hashem has bestowed) the ability to invent devices and processes which
have vastly eased everyone's lives, even if they are not in the running
for "gadol hador."  At an AOJS convention, professionals of all types
feel that the intellectual component of what they do is "covered" by the
yet more ideological umbrella of "science."

All this reminds me of my high school, The Bronx H.S. of Science.  The
specialized public school in New York City was (for political reasons
not relevant to this discussion) officially constituted as a magnet
school for those interested in science careers.  Hence, there is a
greater requirement for taking math and science courses there, as well
as certain other courses such as mechanical drawing and a special shop
course.  In reality, the English, foreign language, history, drama, and
other communities there were (in my time) extremely strong (it would be
a digression to elaborate here), and attracted intellectually gifted
(along with some wannabe) students from all over NYC who had absolutely
no intention of pursuing careers either as scientists or as health
professionals (for that matter).  A tiny minority of the graduates
pursued actual science carriers -- of 1000 in my class, only half a
dozen are Ph.D. scientists.

In society at large, the word "science" is increasingly associated with
negatives such as pollution, big industry, the military, expensive
boondoggles such as the SSC, mistakes such as the Hubble Space
Telescope, disasters such as the Challenger, Three Mile Island,
Chernobyl, fear of nuclear proliferation in Iran, Iraq, and North Korea,
global warming, dangerous gene manipulations as featured in the film
Jurassic Park, etc.

In Judaism, the word "science" reminds one of the haskalah/enlightenment
from which modern science, ca. 250 years ago, sprang forth and provided
first Western European, and subsequently Eastern European, Jews with the
opportunity to choose for themselves.  As is well-known, most of their
descendents chose to opt out, so this too is nothing to celebrate about

But for the AOJS, the Bronx H.S. of Science, and the Albert Einstein
College of Medicine, the word science and that which pertains to it
still sways some hearts.

See you at the Homowack!


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 1994 03:40:18 -0400
Subject: re: The Lie is a Lie

David Levy's point that:

>It is also the case that the truth may be hidden - after all, this is a
>world of sheker (deceit) where usually very little is as it seems on
>the surface.

Is certainly correct however in his statements:

>In each of the cases cited, there is a strong element of subjective
>judgement.  Is a bride beautiful? Beauty is in the eye of (in this
>case) the groom!  Is a product a good buy? If the purchaser thinks it
>is, then it is.  Did you see a person do something wrong? Judge him
>L'chaf z'chut (give him credit) (maybe things weren't quite as they
>To regard one's own subjective judgement as superior, thereby thinking
>that one may say derogatory things, is arrogant.  One must have the
>humility to realise that one's opinions may not accord with others, and
>to voice them hurtfully is improper. For the sake of peace, one must
>find good things to say, or avoid speaking at all

I think he misses the point inherent in the gemaras discussion. It is clear
that the gemara accepts that there are cases where the lie will be
OBJECTIVE and still permitted and reasonable. That is there are cases where
the purchase was clearly a bad deal or the bride is clearly ugly. Granted
that is not all cases - perhaps even few cases as David Levy (and indeed
the commentaries on the gemara and codes) point out.



From: <stephenp@...> (Stephen Phillips)
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 1994 13:13:40 -0400
Subject: Re: Waiting 5 and a half hours

> From: Arthur J Einhorn <0017801@...>
> I think I once heard in the name of the Lakewood RY Horav Aron Kotler ZT"L
> that the minhag in Europe was to wait five and 1/2 hours. Can anyone verify
> this?

I heard from Harav Munk z'tzl (founder of the Golders Green Beis
Hamedrash, "Munks" Shul) that the waiting time of 6 hours was in fact
INTO the 6th hour (ie. 5 and a bit hours). He did not explain the
reason for this interpretation.

Stephen Phillips


From: <ChaimTw@...> (Chaim Twerski)
Date: Mon, 01 Aug 94 13:41:29 EDT
Subject: Yeshivos and Careers

Although the essense of what I am to write has already been stated by
Ester Posen and others.  I wish only to continue along those lines and
expand a bit.

The Yeshiva world is opposed to college education not so much for the
reason that doing so is to dropout from the world of Yissachar, but out
of concern that the atmosphere of colleges will corrupt the Torah
outlook and personality of those who attend.  Were colleges to be free
of attitudes that are antagnistic of Torah, it would be well accepted
that the average Yeshiva student should attend college.  Agudah promotes
trade and quasi professional schools (such as COPE) for this reason.
These are tailored for Yeshiva graduates.

However, I would oppose on practical grounds the promotion of
professions for Yeshiva graduates, for the very opposite reason that
Arnie Lustig has suggested.  He would like Yeshiva students to enter
college to enable the Yeshiva world to become a self sufficient
community.  It is my opinion that this would insure the very reverse.
If all Yeshiva student who were not in Chinuch and Rabbonus to enter the
professions, the poverty of this community or at least its lack of self
suffinciency would be virtually assured.

 Professionals (with the possible exception of physicians and lawyers)
cannot earn a living in our society that will enable one to support a
family and community institutions.  They can do this in a non-Jewish
society, where family sizes are 2.1 chidren per family and families do
not have to pay out of pocket for elementary and secondary schooling,
and both parents work full time jobs.  However, in our society, where
5-6 children is the norm and 8-10 children per family is not rare, and
where elementary education and secondary education (not to mention post
high school education) must be borne by the parents of the community,
and where wives can usually take on only part time jobs, a profession is
not the road to finacial independence.

The only way for the Yeshiva community to become economically self
sufficient is for as many members as possible to enter into BUSINESS.

I take this from a lesson in the Torah.  

Yaakov Avinu was about to leave Lavan, after working for 14 years for
his crooked father-in-law for nothing more than room and board.  He
informed Lavan that he was about to leave.  Lavan was devastated, for he
knew that the key to his remarkable success in the sheep business was
Yaakov Avinu's diligent work.  He met Yaakov Avinu's announcement with
the generous offer, "Nakva s'charcha alli v'etana".  (Name your price
and I will grant it).

Now, Lavan just gave Yaakov a blank check.  What could be better offer
than that?  We would expect Yaakov Avinu to set his terms with a smile
and end the negotions.  Instead, however, at this point Yaakov Avinu
goes into a lenghty speech concerning how hard he has worked and how
successful he has made Lavan's business, and ends with "and now when
will I do for my own household?".  What is the meaning of this speech??
Lavan had already granted him his terms in advance!

The answer is (IMHO) as follows.  Lavan had agreed to give Yaakov Avinu
a wage.  He asked him (in modern terms) "name your price!  How much do
you want $40,000, $50,000, $75,000.  I agree to any wage that you think
is fair."  Yaakov Avinu answered in other words "I will not work for you
for any wage whatsoever..  I refuse to be a wage earner.  A wage earner
will make his employer rich and will be allowed to keep a small amount
for his family.  I have eleven children --and that requires a lot of
money, more than you will ever agree to pay me.  I don't want a salary,
however generous.  What I need is a business!  If you give me the
startup capital to start my own business, I will continue to manage your
business as well, otherwise, forget it."

Needless to say, Lavan accepted the offer and Yaakov became wealthy from 
the business he began.  

Maasa avos siman l'banim.

A professional today begins his salary at about $25,000 and, depending
on the profession, can hope to earn $60,000-75,000 per year tops (and
most don't make it that high..  (Physicians and lawyers are sometime
different, basically because they are not salaried but are in the
service business.  Salaried doctors and lawyers earn considerably less
than those who are in private practice.)

For a large family, this is not nearly sufficient to provide for basic

(In my own case, which is not at all unusual, tuition bills themselves,
if I would (could) pay full tuition, would amount to over $42,000 this
year- which is more than the average salary).

We need, as a community, to take this lesson into practice.  Not every
business is successful.  Many fail.  But if one has a job, one is
virtually guaranteed not to have enough to "make it".  In business there
is at least a chance of earning sufficient to raise a family without
accepting grants, loans, or scholarships.

The Yeshiva community does not need its non-kli kodesh to go to college
and enter professions.  In fact, this would be a prescription for
financial disaster.  The Yeshiva community needs more businessmen.  And
those who Hashem has helped to become successful in business should
judiciously and generously support the institutions that teach Torah and
promote its values.

While there is a correlation between education and financial success, I
would doubt highly if there is a direct correlation between secular
education and business success. (Though many of the factors that are
involved in succesful students do come into play in financial success,
it is likely that those same factors would be there without the secular
education).  Very many uneducated Europeans came to these shores
penniless after World War II and developed successful businesses.  To be
successful at business requires hard work, common sense, determination,
and above all siyata d'shmaya.  A degree in business is not only
unnecessary, but is basically practically useless (unless one enters the
corporate world as an employee- again a salary, and not the way to go if
we wish to address our problem in finances)).  This is the opinion of
the MBA's that I have spoken to.

Chaim Twerski


End of Volume 14 Issue 76