Volume 18 Number 18
                       Produced: Sun Jan 29 10:17:01 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Sinai" stones
         [Dr. Herbert Taragin]
Do we need a "real" Torah Scroll?
         [Ari Belenky]
Female Sexual Miscreants
         [Richard Schiffmiller]
Midrash about David's birth
         [Adina B. Sherer]
Moshe,Torah & inspiration and codes
         [Eli Turkel]
Patriarchal Names
         [Sam Gamoran]
Time of Avraham
         [Yechezkel Schatz]
Yishuv Ha'Aretz:  D'ortah or D'Rabban
         [Andrew Sacks]
YU and Homosexual Clubs
         [Michael J Broyde]


From: Dr. Herbert Taragin <taragin@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 1995 00:18:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: "Sinai" stones

Dear Posters   Yes, I have a "Sinai" stone that I got in Israel in 1968. 
It was broken twice, once on purpose and once by accident. There really 
are outlines of a bush at each interface. I never pursued it with a 
geologist but obviously found it quite interesting.
Dr. Herbert Taragin


From: <belenkiy@...> (Ari Belenky)
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 95 00:31:00 PST
Subject: Do we need a "real" Torah Scroll?

Probably, for Chazon Ish and Moshe Feinstein a discovery of the 
real Torah was Halakhicly inapplicable.
But no so for next (our) generation! Such dictum might well 
be reversed now - we need only our own Yiphtach!

Ari Belenky


From: Richard Schiffmiller <moe@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 16:13:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Female Sexual Miscreants

	I am writing this to clarify some confusion that I have noticed 
in recent postings.  One should have clearly in mind the distinction in 
definition among four categories of female sexual miscreants: M'futah 
(seduced woman), Kedesha, Pilegesh and Zonah.

	According to all Rishonim I have seen (including Rambam, Raavad, 
Ramban), a woman is a M'futah if there was an act of seduction and it is 
not a regular occurrence (hergeli).  She receives no Bibilical 
punishment.  The seducer may marry her (if she is willing) and avoid 
paying a fine (K'nas) or not marry her and pay the fine.

	The definition of K'desha is tricky.  Within the Rambam alone, there 
are differing interpretations, most notably of the Magid Mishna and the 
Kesef Mishna.  Essentially, she must be "mufkeret lakol", roughly 
translated as willing to cohabitate with anyone.  The difference in the 
commentaries is whether it must be lakol - to anyone - or not.  According 
to Kesef Mishna, even if she is with one man regularly, she is a 
K'desha.  Thus he equates Pilegesh and K'desha (see Pilegesh below).  She 
then loses her ability to collect K'nas if she is later raped or 
seduced.  According to Magid Mishna, if her relations are with "lakol", 
both she and the man get malkot (lashes), whereas if not, then only the 
man receives malkot.  Raavad requires the woman to be part of a "kubah 
shel zonot", a covey of harlots, to be defined as K'desha.  Ramban 
defines a K'desha as any woman having a sexual relationship with someone 
with whom K'dushin (betrothal) cannot take hold - e.g., a brother, 
father, etc., but not with a mamzer or a divorcee with a kohen.

	Pilegesh according to Kesef Mishna in the Rambam is a woman who 
cohabitates with a man without K'dushin or K'tubah.  According to Magid 
Mishna in the Rambam, even if there is K'dushin but not K'tubah, she is a 
Pilegesh.  According to both, a hedyot (non-king) may not take a 
Pilegesh.  According to Raavad and Ramban, a hedyot may take a Pilegesh, 
but we do not teach it (halacha v'en morin ken).

	Ramban defines a Zonah exactly the same way as he defines 
K'desha.  Rambam says a woman becomes a Zonah by having relations with 
one of five categories of people: 1. Anyone forbidden to her by a 
prohibition common to all (e.g., mamzer, but not her brother, since her 
brother is permitted to other Jewish women); 2. A Gentile; 3. Arayot 
(loosely, the forbidden relations in P. Acharei Mot); 4. A slave; 5. A 
Kohen who is a challal (I don't have space to define this now).  Raavad 
disagrees with the last category, which is certainly a permitted marriage.

	I hope this clarifies the matter to some degree and suggests the 
approximate level of precision that should be striven for.


From: <adina@...> (Adina B. Sherer)
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 95 23:31:08 IST
Subject: Midrash about David's birth

In reference to the midrash about David's birth, one source is in
something called ( I think) 'Yalkut HaMechiri', an explanation based on
Medrash for Tehillim.  It's on Psalm 118, which is said as part of
Hallel, on the line 'Even Mo'asu Habonim' - roughly, the stone despised
by the builders became the capstone of the structure.  ( I'm taking a
class on Shmuel/Shaul/David. )  I think that you have the story roughly
correct, ( double check the legal reasoning that Yishai used to
understand the need for this whole thing) except possibly for the last
part - the maid , as far as I remember, did not pretend to be pregnant,
and David's mother was known to be pregnant and gave birth to him.  But
since Yeshai THOUGHT that he had actually only been with the maid, the
assumption was that David was a mamzer and his mother an adulteress.
Due to the element of doubt, ( she denied it but did not clear up the
truth ) David and his mother were isolated from the rest of the family,
until Shmuel came and annointed David, telling the family on the best of
authority that the mother was 100% fine and David was legitimately from
Yeshai, and that furthermore coming from Ruth was NOT a problem.

-- adina


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 1995 13:57:16 -0500
Subject: Moshe,Torah & inspiration and codes

     Rabbi Adlerstein writes

>> Surely Mr. Reichel cannot mean that G-d did NOT dictate every
>> single letter of the Torah!
    Adina Shirer similarly writes
>> Because his spirit was SO CLOSE to G-d, he managed to take the 'ME' 
>> completely out of his nature and think ONLY in terms of G-d's will, 
>> and so HIS prophesy was an EXACT reflection of G-d's message,

    As an introduction to my (possibly controversial) statement let me
say that Rambam (hil. Teshuva 3:8) states that anyone who does not
believe that every letter in the Torah is from G-d is a "kofer". Rabbi
Adlerstein already quoted Rambam on Moshe being a "writing instrument".
Similarly Rav Moshe Feinstein (Iggerot Moshe Yoreh Deah #3, 114&115) has
a discussion of a purported commentary on Chumash from Rav Yehuda hachasid.
Rav Moshe says that it is forbidden to publish it and it is an obvious
forgery because parts of the commentary claim that King David made changes
in the Torah and other such statements.
    Nevertheless I am bothered by several problems. First the minor one:
The Gemara Baba Batra 15 has a debate whether the last 8 verses in the 
Torah were written by Moshe or Joshua (Rav Feinstein answers that then
Joshua was the writing instrument). See also the article of Shapiro
in Torah uMada that has previously been referenced.
     More serious are "quotes: in the Torah. In Bereshit we have many 
statements of people, e.g. the blessings of Isaac and Jacob and Lavan's 
phrase "yegar sahadusa". Were these sayings dictated by G-d or
else is the Torah not giving us the original words but G-d's paraphase of
these words? Most of Devarim is the speeches of Moshe to the Jewish people
at the end of his life. We again have the same problem. Are these Moshe's
own words of his own choosing or did G-d dictate these speeches. The question
is harder for Bilaam's blessing of the Jews. Obviously Moshe knew these
blessings only because G-d told him but who decided on the words that appear
in the Torah in parshat Bilaam.
     The Gemara in Baba Batra 88b (recent daf Yomi) and in Megillah 31b
differentiates between the curses in Bechukotai which were by Moshe from
G-d and those in Ki Tavo which are Moshe's "own" words. Tosaphot in Megilla
adds the phrase "be-ruach hakodesh" (=? divine inspiration). To me, Tosaphot
makes the problem harder not easier. Of course these are not the private
words of Moshe but Tosaphot based on the Gemara implies that the exact words 
were chosen by Moshe (with divine inspiration) similar to the words of other
prophets that chose their own words. Also Rashi in Megilla discusses the 
Gemara in a straightforward manner.

    Maharal (Tiferet Israel #43) has a discussion of the difference between
the Torah's description of the ten commandments between parshat Yitro
and Ve-etchanan. I don't completely understand his language but he
basically says that the difference is not how they were given but on the
receiving end. He implies that the version in Devarim was not the "real"
words of the ten commandments but contains additions to make them more
understandable to the Jews. He also uses this explanation to explain the
Gemara on the difference between the two sets of curses.
    A different option is to assume that indeed some of the portions in the 
Torah use language that originated in the private speeches of the forefathers, 
Moshe rabbenu, Bilaam etc. All of these were with ruach hakodesh 
(divine inspiration) but not dictated by G-d. However, at some stage G-d 
dictated these words to Moshe (either at the end of the 40 years or after 
each event). This dictation of Bilaam's speech turns Bilaam's inspired words 
into "Torah" to be used for determining halachah on a de-oraita (Torah) level.
IMHO this means there is no contradiction between these words being "merely"
inspired and Rambam's opinion that they were dictated, in the end they were
both. G-d's final dictation of these inspired words makes the difference
between Torah and "Nach". However, if some of the words in the Torah were 
at some stage "chosen" by Isaac, Jacob, Lavan, Bilaam, Pharoh etc. it makes 
the use of codes a little more difficult although G-d decided to include 
these private words into the Torah. I assume that Bilaam did not speak
Hebrew and so the words in the Torah is G-d's translation of his words.
However, as the avot did speak hebrew I assume that their words in the
Torah are the original wordings of these blessings etc.



From: Sam Gamoran <gamoran@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 1995 08:13:46 +0000
Subject: Re: Patriarchal Names

This question was posed to me by a friend and I thought it interesting
enough to pose to this honorable forum:

It is common practice today to give children 'Biblical' names such as
the Patriarchs e.g. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, David etc.  Yet
this was not always so!

It has been the practice for the last 1,000 years or so, e.g. Avraham
Ibn Ezra, Rash"i (son of Rav Yitzchak) Ramba"m (Rav Moshe Ben Maimon)
etc.  In Bibilical and Mishnaic times this was not the norm.  There is
no Avraham mentioned in the Bible besides the Patriarch, the Tanaim and
Amoraim (Rabbis of the Talmud) do not include a Rav Moshe...

Questions - why were these names not used in earlier times?  when and
why did the custom change?

Sam Gamoran
Motorola Israel Ltd. Cellular Software Engineering (MILCSE)


From: Yechezkel Schatz <lpschatz@...>
Date: 29 Jan 1995 09:44:07 +0200
Subject: Time of Avraham

In mj 18, #10  Mike Gerver writes:
>According to archeologists, however, Arameans didn't migrate into that
>region (originally just called Naharayim) until several centuries after the
>time of Avraham, in fact even several decades after Matan Torah.
 - Could you please cite the dates (BCE) suggested by archeologists for
these events (the time of Avraham, Matan Torah, migration of Arameans to


From: <RAISRAEL@...> (Andrew Sacks)
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 1995 16:50:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Yishuv Ha'Aretz:  D'ortah or D'Rabban

While some authorities hold yishuv ha'aretz to be Toraitic and others
hold it to be Rabbinic--most all see it as a Mitzvah.  How do mainstream
observant Jews fulfill this Mitzvah?  If one does not make Aliya--and
there are no extenuating circumstances, is this zilzul ha'mitzvah?


From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 1995 20:26:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: YU and Homosexual Clubs

Binyamin Jolkovsky <bljolkov@...>, in a self serving post, 
complimenting his own reporting on a topic states: 

> A SCJ-member asks about any serious coverage of the YU homosexual issue.
> It was not Maariv that first "broke" the story about the controversy, but
> a reporter named Binyamin Jolkovsky, of the Forward. The clubs, yes,
> plural, are not just at YU's law school, Cardozo, they are active on
> several YU affiliates. And, in fact, operate within the same building
> that houses YU's beis medrash.

This is quite astounding, as anyone who is even vaguely familiar with YU 
knowns that the beis midrash is in Tannenbaum hall, the MTA building, and 
except for High School offices and the REITS office there are NO student 
offices in that building at all.  I would ask Jolkovsky to produce a 
room number as verification.  I doubt the truthfulness of this 
allegation.  Indeed, I doubt if there are offices of such a student 
organization in Furst Hall either. Last time I checked, there were no 
offices anywhere on the main campus for the organization in question, 
although there was a mail box in Belfer, as told to me by others.   

> A friend of mine called up the Jewish Press, I obviously couldn't, and
> asked why the JP has, in the past, "borrowed" Jolkovsky's stories. Yet
> this time refuses to comment on the YU controversy. The editor, Julius
> Leib, told the caller quite bluntly that it had to do with money issues.

This type of remark, when coming from the author of the articles that are 
not being published leads to a certain amount of doubt by this 
writer, as the motives could reasonably be questioned as to why a 
reporter's leads are not being followed.  Just as Bill Safire in the 
Whitewater scandle.
I await a room number to substantiate the first allegation.
	The issues raised by these clubs are serious, as is Yeshiva's 
relationship with its graduate divisions, both on and off campus.  I will 
address those issues at some point in the future; first however, let us 
get the data out so we can distinguish what is fact and what is none-sense.
Rabbi Michael Broyde
MTA 82, YC 85, REITS 88,91


End of Volume 18 Issue 18