Volume 17 Number 53
                       Produced: Tue Dec 27 23:24:05 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Army, etc.
         [Zvi Weiss]
College for Yeshiva Bochur
         [Leah Zakh]
Generational Decline
         [Ari Shapiro]
Generational Decline:Logic
         [Avi Rabinowitz]
Hebrew Pronunciation
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Hebrew pronunciation
         [Allen Elias]
Rabbi of later era can't dispute
         [Micha Berger]
Rules of Psak
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Separate Even unto Death
         [dov shapiro]
The Difference between Me and Moshe Rabbeinu
         [Hayim Hendeles]


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 1994 14:52:46 -0500
Subject: Army, etc.

Now that Shaul Wallach is starting to touch upon some of the more
"theoretical" aspects of army exemption, I would like to point out that
if we take the gemara literally, that scholars provide defense by their
learning, then we can develop the idea that there should be special
groups of people learning -- esp. in wartime -- to support the efforts
of the IDF.  This is not a new idea.  The Midrash says that when Moshe
went to war against Midyan, in addition to the 12,000 who went to war,
an equal number were chosen to devote themselves to learning.  C.f. the
Netziv at the beginning of Ekev who also alludes to this sort of idea.

[Now, can you just imagine a special yeshiva where learning is to go on
around-the-clock with the "intent" that the Torah learned should be for
the merit of and to protect the soldiers?]



From: Leah Zakh <zakh@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 1994 17:14:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: College for Yeshiva Bochur

Wouldn't YU be a good choice. It has everything you want AND it has a 
yeshiva on the premise. BTW there are plenty of "yeshivish" boys learning 
there. Also penn does not have an all-boys dorm as far as I am aware. The 
dorm where most of the frum chevre live is called North Highrise East and 
it is co-ed with frum people having living together in suits. (obviously 
suits are all-boys or all-girls)
Leah Zakh

You can reach me at <zakh@...> or


From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 94 23:39:21 -0500
Subject: Generational Decline

<The dictum used to support this system is that no court
<can overturn another court unless it is greater in choman and

This is incorrect.  The above statement only applies to gezeros
(rabbinic prohibitions).  To pasken about a torah law we apply the
principle Yiftach b'doro k'shmuel bdoro (Yiftach in his generation
is like Shmuel in his generetion). Meaning that in each generation 
the gedolim have the right to pasken.  The Kesef Mishnah in Hilchos
Mamrim points out that the Amoraim really could argue on Tannaim 
they just agreed not to.  However, there is one absolute.  Now we
cannot argue on the gemara based on the gemara in Bava Metzia (86a)
tha Ravina v'Rav Ashi sof horaah (Ravina and RAv Ashi were the
end of  deciding?).  The Rav explained this in the following way.
Until Ravina and Rav Ashi even though Torah she ba'al peh (Oral
torah) had been written down it was taught in an oral fashion therefore
the participants were baalei hora'ah however once it was transmitted
through writing it became like torah she bictav (written torah) and on
written torah there is no such thing as horaah therefore we can't argue
on the gemara because they were on a different level they were Baalei
horaah while we are not.  For a lengthy treatment of this subject see
Nefesh Harav by R. Shacter in the article Binyanei Masorah.

Ari Shapiro


From: Avi Rabinowitz <avirab@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 1994 17:49:46 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: Generational Decline:Logic

Achronim say we can't argue with rishonim. But we can dispute
acharonim. So can dispute the demarkation between rishonim and achronim,
and can dispute the statement that can't dispute rishonim. Same for
disputing geonim, since if can now dispute with rishonim, can negate
their bar against disputing with geonim, etc etc until beginning of

In the end, have to begin somewhere, but even accepting a beginnig, say 
Moshe Rabbenu, involves trusting tradition about him and about events, 
and that the book we have now is the one given to Moshe etc, and this,
to most people, means trusting the whole tradition including generational 


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 1994 18:43:14 -0500
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

This letter addresses some of the isues raised by Akiva Miller (MJ17#49)
about the preference of Sephardic vs. Ashkenazic Hebrew pronounciation.
I will not address the halachic issues, which we were informed yesterday
(MJ17#47) are discussed in the 1989 (pp.5-34) issue of the Journal of
Halacha and Contemporary Society by Eli Turkel.  I will neither address
the correctness of one over the other; as I believe that both Ashkenazic
and Sephardic Hebrew are correct.

The State of Israel was established nearly fifty years ago. It's
existance is a fact. The zionist movement overcame the objections of the
world at large and of the strong haredi anti-zionist movements. There is
a modern Jewish State of Israel in the land of Israel, and it adopted as
its official language Sephardic Hebrew. Sephardic Hebrew and English
have taken the place of Yiddish and Ladino as the practical Jewish
venacular. It is therefore important that we instill in our children the
language skills to be able to be part of the Jewish people of the
future. The Hebrew language and the State of Israel are the glue that
make us one people around the world. For better or for worse, the Hebrew
language and the State of Israel are replacing religious practice in
binding together World Jewry.

We should not confuse our children by teaching them limudei kodesh in
Ashkenazic Hebrew, and safa in Sephardic Hebrew. This is a total waste
of resources. They learn Hebrew in a schizophrenic way, and because of
this their skills in written Hebrew and conversational Hebrew are sadly
lacking.  We still need to train qualified teachers who can teach
limudei kodesh in Sepharadic Hebrew. Today the haredi yeshivot produce
wonderful teachers, but they are lacking in Hebrew language skills.

The reason that this process of moving to the Sephardic pronouciation
did not happen naturally is two-fold. First are the legitimate halachic
objections.  Secondly, some rabbis from the haredi movements and
super-haredi movements, most of which are anti-zionist, use the
anti-Sepharadic battle to fight the battle over the state of Israel, a
battle which they have already lost.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: <iis@...> (Allen Elias)
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 1994 19:38:10 +0200
Subject: Hebrew pronunciation

>From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)

>                               Why do I feel social pressure to use the
>Sefard pronunciation in conversation? There is no pressure upon the
>British to adopt an American pronunciation when they are in America, nor
>vice versa. There is no pressure upon a Yankee to adopt a southern
>pronunciation when he is in the southern United States. So why do all
>the Ashkenazim in Israel use the Sefard pronunciation?

There is no pressure on Britishers and Yankees because they can easily
be understood. But talk to a veteran Israeli or Sephardic Jew using
an Ashkenazic pronunciation and they'll ask you to repeat several times
before understanding. Another reason might be the prohibition by some
poskim against speaking Lashon Kodesh for secular purposes. Conversational
Hebrew may perhaps not be considered enough Lashon Kodesh to violate
this prohibition.

Allen Elias


From: Micha Berger <berger@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 94 08:58:03 -0500
Subject: Rabbi of later era can't dispute

I wrote:
> A rabbi of a later era can not dispute one of an earlier era without
                     ^^^                                   ^^^
> having another earlier Rabbi in support.

On which, Gilad J. Gevaryahu comments:
> One of the basic priciples of halacha accepted by the Ashkenazic
> community following the Rama is "hilchata ke'Batrai", which means that
> we must follow the last posek on a specific issue....

This is very interesting, but NOT what I was talking about. I was
referring to the idea that one can not pasken according to the
halachic opinion of an Amorah (authority of Talmudic era) that no
Rishon (mideivil era) has supported. Or, base halachah on the opinion
of a tana (mishnaic era) that the gemara rejects.

I understand that I'm often not as clear as I think I am, so this time
around I'm underlining the word "era".

This misunderstanding is probably the cause of the later comment (same post):
> The Berger rule quoted above could suggests that nothing can be changed,
> which is clearly not the case. The halacha is flexible within limits.

Actually, it suggests that halachah can not change ONLY in cases where
an earlier era has brought a clear decision. I was only talking about
the necessity of finding support when contradicting a rishon.

BTW, I was taught that the Gr"a was considered an exception to this
rule. In terms of halchic authority he is to be considered on par with
the rishonim despite his historical context. Does anyone know a

Micha Berger                    red---6-murder---kindness-Abraham-body---nefesh
<berger@...>  212 224-4937   green-7-incest---Torah----Jacob---mind----ruach
<aishdas@...>  201 916-0287   blue--8-idolatry-worship--Isaac---soul-neshamah
	<a href=http://www.iia.org/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 1994 17:26:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Rules of Psak

the shulcah naruch did not always follow the majority of the 3r's quoted
(rif, rambam, rosh ). he only followed the majority when it suited his
purpose ( that he agreed with them, otherwise he went against the
majority and occasionally against all of them ).

as to not arguing on previous generations and following the last
opinion, there is another point altogether which impacts on this.  if a
person ( rav, posek, average citizen, etc ) decides an halacha against
all other opinions he runs the risk of being deemed a "to'eh bi'dvar
mishna", one who errs on an explicitly elucidated point ( as opposed to
"to'eh b'shikul ha-daat", erring in logic ). [ this is besides the point
raised that if you didn't have anyone to back you up no one would follow
you anyway].  just because i come last doesn't make me right

one final point: gilad writes that if i would need a source to back up
every change there would be no change is not true.  the support that i
find in a previous source does not have to be corroboration of the
specific point in question.  it can be approval of a certain method of
thinking, or a conclusion reached in an analogous situation, or any of a
number of other methods to support the conclusion trying to be reached.

as gilad writes, the process is a slow one, and i agree.  i also feel
that in this way it protects us from rash decisions responding to
emotional causes, rather than decisions based on solid halachik logic.

eliyahu teitz  


From: <dshapiro@...> (dov shapiro)
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 94 22:00:53 CST
Subject: Separate Even unto Death

        Based on the responses that I have received regarding my posting
about the new "frum" section in Chicago's Jewish cemetery, it appears that
many of you missed my point.  This new section has nothing to do with
insuring that only halachic Jews are buried there; Waldheim Cemetery
already has such a requirement.  Rather, this new section serves to
discriminate between completely "kosher" Jews based on their level of
observance.  It is this latter issue that concerns me and I would
appreciate any halachic opinions on the matter.
        Thank you.
        Dov Shapiro


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 94 09:24:38 -0800
Subject: The Difference between Me and Moshe Rabbeinu

I once heard an interesting comment regarding the episode of G-d revealing
himself to Moses at the burning bush. This comment is particularly
interesting in that it is very apropos to myself, and others may
also find similarities to themselves as well.

When Moses was tending his sheep in the desert, he noticed a bush
which was burning. Immediately, he decided to investigate this
unusual phenomenon, which led to his first personal encounter with G-d,
and ultimately led to his role in the Exodus and receiving of the Torah.

Had I been in the same position as Moses, knowing myself, I probably
would have said: "Gee, how fascinating! I really must investigate
this burning bush phenomenon. As soon as I have time, I will come
back and look into it."   

Food for thought.

Hayim Hendeles


End of Volume 17 Issue 53