Volume 16 Number 52
                       Produced: Sun Nov 13 11:28:41 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Hezekiah's Domain
         [Shalom Carmy]
Leah and Rachel
         [Shaul Wallach]
Martial Arts (2)
         [Frank Silbermann, "J. Bailey"]
R. Shlomo Carlebach
         [Yisrael Medad]
         [Lawrence S. Kalman]
The Rambam on Science and Torah
         [Elliot Wolk]


From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 1994 10:13:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Hezekiah's Domain

Tanakh states explicitly that, after the dissolution of the northern 
kingdom, Hezekiah sent messengers to the inhabitants of these areas, with 
the purpose of getting them to participate in the korban Pesah (see Divre 
haYamim II, 30-32).

According to the Gemara, Jeremiah, who lived almost 100 years later, 
attempted to retrieve those Jews of the northern kingdom who had been 
exiled by the Assyrians.


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Nov 94 16:25:55 IST
Subject: Leah and Rachel

     Again Zvi Weiss has subjected my Derash on Ya`aqov's marriages with
Leah and Rachel to his criticism. As before I will not reply to the
specific points he has brought up, because they are all correct and well
taken. I think, though, that we have here a certain problem on how to
appreciate the Midrashim. Zvi was uncomfortable with my quoting the
Gemara while "neglecting" a Rashi which is itself based on another
Midrash. However, there is a principle "Ein Meshivin `Al Ha-Derash" (we
do not answer the Derash). See, for example, Resp. Ram"a 100:10 and
footnote therein with references to the Tiqqunei Zohar Hadash 166:1,
Pa`neah Raza 1 and Toledot Yizhaq 5; Yabia` Omer Pt. 2 Orah Hayyim 31:8;
ibid. Pt. 5 Yore De`a 22:1 and Yehawwe Da`at 1:2. See also the
discussion by R. Moshe Zuriel Weiss in his Hilkot De`ot (5730) about how
to understand the Midrashim. He says that even when they seem to
contradict each other, they are all true at the same time because they
all look at the truth from a different point of view. Thus here, for
example, our Rabbis gave many different reasons for the exile in Egypt
and each one was given to teach us something special.

     Zvi also appears to suggest that I have disregarded the prohibition
of "Megalleh Panim Ba-Torah". This is a serious charge and deserves
proper attention. However, after looking at the Mishna in Avot 3:11 with
the commentaries of Rashi and the Rambam, and the Gemara in Sanhedrin 99
and Shevu`ot 13a and Rashi thereon, I am fairly sure that Zvi did not
mean literally the same thing that Haza"l did when they spoke about
Megalleh Panim Ba-Torah.

     Nevertheless, Zvi's criticism did lead me to wonder whether perhaps
I did take too much liberty in my exegis, and I therefore decided to
look at some Torah commentaries to see whether my basic idea is brought
by any of them. The first commentary I looked at was that of R. Samsom
Raphael Hirsch ZS"L, and am presenting here what I found on the verse in
Gen. 29:31. My translation follows the original German (3rd. ed., 1899);
other translations by R. Isaac Levi in English (Judaica Press, 1971) and
R. Mordechai Breuer in Hebrew (Yizhaq Breuer Institute, 5727) are well
worth consulting for comparison. The reference to Jeschurun, Vol. 10
should read p. 399 f. (instead of 339 f.). This article of his to which
Rabbi Hirsch refers deals at greater length with Rachel and Leah and
is republished in his Gesammelte Schriften (ed. Dr. Naphtali Hirsch,
Frankfurt am Main, 1908), Vol. 4, pp. 186-190, and also in Hebrew
translation by R. Avraham Yehoshua Ephrati-Ordentlich in "Yeshurun"
(Tefuza, Benei Beraq, 5745), pp. 199-204. It is presumably also in the
English edition of his Collected Writings, although we don't have all
the volumes and I haven't found it in the ones we have. In this article
Rabbi Hirsch notes, for example, the fact that Rachel died young and was
not buried with Jacob, and mourns over her descendants who went into
exile before those of Leah. Besides the article on Rachel and Leah,
there are articles by him on the other Matriarchs and on women in
general. Rabbi Hirsch show a very positive attitude towards the Jewish
woman, and his writings are well worth close study.

     Here, then, is what Rabbi Hirsch wrote about Rachel and Leah in his
commentary on Genesis 29:31, without further comment:


    It is deeply significant that the real kernel of the Jewish people
does not have as a mother the one whom Jacob - as far as the holy Text
tells - had chosen above all only due to the sensuous impression of
her greater external beauty, and that God let precisely the one feeling
herself disregarded be the mother of the main tribes of His people.
Thus the names which the one loved less gave her sons shows us how she,
while feeling disregarded, became permeated all the more warmly with
the feeling of love for her husband, reached the fullest, mutually
happy appreciation of motherhood for the role of the wife and the
happiness of the marriage, and for both clung to the trust in the
All-seeing and hearing Presence of God. The love of her husband was
her goal, and with each son that she bore him hoped to provide one
more building block for the foundation of this love, and experienced
the realization of this hope. What was denied to the bride and the
wife, the mother of his children succeeded in completely. And thus were
the tribes of the Jewish people conceived and born, nursed and brought
up, under the sunlight of the warmest and purest marital and mother
love and of the most devoted reliance on God, and in their names are
perpetuated to the Jewish people all the bright and serious possessions
and spirits which bring about the happiness of Jewish marriages and
homes - as we have already put down in Jeschurun, Volume 10, p. 339 f.
And it fell precisely to Leah, the grieved one, to experience and
perpetuate the brighter sides of the marriage and the home, while to
Rachel, the fortunate one, fell the serious ones.




From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 1994 08:19:44 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Martial Arts

In Vol.16 #50 Motty Hasofer asks about Jews studying martial arts.
Whether a Jew should train in the use of force depends on whether
Halacha ever recommends the use of force.  I am told that it does.

Next one must ask whether a particular school of martial arts is
acceptable for Jews.  The best oriental schools integrate the
development of character with physical skills, which is a big advantage.
But since most societies relegate this job to religion, one must be
concerned about whether any incompatible religious doctrine is being

> I was struck by the fact that there appeared to be a lot of bowing 
> and chanting of names in Japanese. Personally I felt that it *smelled*
> of Avoda Zarah (idolatry). 

This bears further study.  From my visit to Japan I learned that

1) Japanese cannot greet each other without bowing.  In fact, they do
   this so much that I began to wonder whether it had become a nervous
   tic!  :-) So bowing in class might _not necessarily_ be a religious

2) Japanese religion is a merger of Shinto (native Japanese ancestor
   worship) and Bhuddism.  The martial arts are mostly influenced by
   Bhuddism, and though Bhuddism in Japan is treated more as a kind of
   secular philosophy, I would check the place for statues, as Japanese
   do enjoy making offerings to idols.

Frank Silbermann	<fs@...>

From: "J. Bailey" <jbailey@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 1994 10:59:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Martial Arts

Regarding the halachik permissability of martial arts, many, many 
Orthodox Day Schools and institutions have offered various forms. When I 
asked about it a couple years ago, I was told by someone taking it that 
a) the bowing is a sign of respect, much as you stand for a rabbi or 
sephardim bow when they give out aliyot before torah reading.
b) there are many forms of martial arts that have little or no religious 
c) many of the ones that do simply involve meditation; i.e., focusing and 
concentrating that need not be religiously oriented (no pun intended).

The Tora Dojo at Yeshiva University (and all over the world), run by 
Chaim Sober, demonstrates the compatibility, as well as Krav Maga, 
Israel's version.

While there are certainly forms that include questionable practices, it 
is certainly not a concern in "generic" introductory Karate.

Jay Bailey


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 94 09:39 IST
Subject: R. Shlomo Carlebach

Re posting in 16:38 of Zev Kesselman:-

Just to amplify on the l'vaya of R. Shlomo, the crowd stayed until
9 PM.  Since the k'vurah was a little bit after 11 Am, this must have
been one of the longest Carlebach performances outside of Mevo Modi'in.
I wasn't present at most of it but as the theme was set when during the
hespedim the Psalm Mizmor L'David, Hashem Roi, was sung to Sholom's tune,
it was only natural that this troubador be accompanied by nigunim.

Yisrael Medad


From: Lawrence S. Kalman <VSLAWR@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 94 15:37:03 +0200
Subject: Re: Shaving

I have heard that there is a psak which limits the prohibition of
shaving with a blade to five specific areas of the face.  Presumably,
the "corners of the beard" prohibited by the Torah would be within these
areas according to the psak.  Can anyone elaborate?

- Lawrence

[I'm pretty sure that this is not "a psak" but the basic halacha. The
big question is: What are those 5 places? Mod.]


From: <WOLK@...> (Elliot Wolk)
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 94 18:06:28 EST
Subject: The Rambam on Science and Torah

     Recently there has been considerable discussion on mj on the subject
of Science versus "Creationism", and several correspondents have stressed
the crucial need for progress toward a reconciliation of Science and
     Probably no one has thought more deeply about this question than the
Rambam (to whom several mj-ers have already referred).  It is of course
well-known that the Rambam was a famous physician, but possibly it is
not so well-known that he was also the leading astronomer of his time.
Otto Neugebauer, who has written the definitive texts on the history of
ancient mathematics and astronomy, has devoted an entire chapter to the
Rambam in his book "Astronomy and History" (Springer-Verlag, 1983).  In
this book (p. 384) Neugebauer, writing about the Rambam's astronomical
work, says that "the presentation of the material shows everywhere the
great personality of the author and supreme mastery of a subject, worthy
of our greatest admiration".
     Much of the Rambam's thought on Science and Torah is found in the
"Guide of the Perplexed".  It might be of interest to quote at length
some excerpts from the introduction to this book.  I shall use the trans-
lation by Shlomo Pines.
     First: on the purpose of the "Guide" (pp. 5-6):
     ". . . its purpose is to give indications to a religious man for
whom the validity of the Torah has become established in his soul and has
become actual in his belief -- such a man being perfect in his religion
and character, and having studied the sciences of the philosophers and
come to know what they signify.  The human intellect having drawn him on
and led him to dwell within its province, he must have felt distressed by
the externals of the Torah and by the meanings of the above-mentioned
equivocal, derivative, or amphibolous terms, as he continued to understand
them by himself or was made to understand them by others.  Hence he would
remain in a state of perplexity and confusion as to whether he should
follow his intellect, renounce what he knew concerning the terms in question,
and consequently consider that he has renounced the foundations of the
Torah.  Or should he hold fast to his understanding of these terms and not
let himself be drawn on together with his intellect, rather turning his
back on it and moving away from it, while at the same time perceiving that
he had brought loss to himself and harm to his religion.  He would be left
with those imaginary beliefs to which he owes his fear and difficulty and
would not cease to suffer from heartache and great perplexity."
     And here are some of the Rambam's comments on Beraishith (p. 9.  He
uses the term "divine science" to denote what we call "metaphysics").
     "God, may His mention be exalted, wished us to be perfected and the
state of our societies to be improved by His laws regarding actions.  Now
this can come about only after the adoption of intellectual beliefs, the
first of which being His apprehension, may He be exalted, according to
our capacity.  This, in its turn, cannot come about except through divine
science, and this divine science cannot become actual except after a study
of natural science.  This is so since natural science borders on divine
science, and its study precedes that of divine science in time as has been
made clear to whoever has engaged in speculation on these matters.  Hence
God, may He be exalted, caused His book to open with the 'Account of the
Beginning', which, as we have made clear, is natural science.  And because
of the greatness and importance of the subject and because our capacity
falls short of apprehending the greatest of subjects as it really is, we
are told about these profound matters -- which divine wisdom has deemed
necessary to convey to us -- in parables and riddles and very obscure
words.  As the Sages, may their memory be blessed, have said: 'It is
impossible to tell mortals of the power of the Account of the Beginning.
For this reason Scripture tells you obscurely... '.  That which is said
about all this is in equivocal terms so that the multitude might compre-
hend them in accord with the capacity of their understanding and the
weakness of their representation, whereas the perfect man, who is already
informed, will comprehend them otherwise."

Elliot Wolk
University of Connecticut


End of Volume 16 Issue 52