Volume 19 Number 100
                       Produced: Fri Jun  9  0:08:59 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Comments on Yom Ha'Atzmaut
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]
Derech eretz kadmah (preceded) la'Torah
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Rav Soloveitchik and Ponivitz
         [Eli Turkel]
Rav Soloveitchik in Yeshiva welt
         [Shalom Carmy]
Saying Hallel with a Bracha
         [Michael Shoshani]
Waiting a Year
         [Aaron Naiman]


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 95 11:56:55 EDT
Subject: Re: Comments on Yom Ha'Atzmaut

> >From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
> I feel that Mr. Hornstein's response to me requires some comments:
> 1. I stated that we recognize the gratitude toward Hashem for giving us 
> this great opportunity.  Mr. Hornstein appears to feel that this is 
> terribly objectionable because I do not recognize the achievements of all 
> the Jews who worked to establish the Medina.  Let me point out that when 
> we celebrate ANY major event in Judaism, the focus ALWAYS appears to be 
> *on Hashem* and NOT on our own achievements.  Look at Al Hanissim (Purim)
> "And You put his evil intent back on his head and they hanged him..." NO 
> mention of the battle of the Jews at all... (Chanuka) "and You gave the 
> strong over to the weak and the many to the few....".  The battle is 
> described solely as a miracle of Hashem...  In fact the notion of 
> "recognizing" the "gamut of Jews" [Should we make a Mi Sheberach for 
> Herzl?] as the poster writes seems to come dangerously close to the 
> Torah's prohibition NOT to state "it is my power and the strength of my 
> hand that has achieved all of this...".

There is an important concept in Judaism of Hakarat Hatov, of
acknowledging the contribution of other people, which I'm sure Zvi is
familiar with.  It's fine for one to say that no significant
contribution was made by oneself; it is not fine to say that no one else
made a significant contribution.  We are sufficiently close to the
events that led to the founding of the state of Israel, imho, to in some
way acknowledge those who dedicated their lives to make it happen.  To
this day we recognize e.g. the efforts of Mordechai and Esther, even
though those of Mordechai engendered some controversey and Esther was
married to a non Jewish king.  This has nothing to do with claiming that
man operates without the support of God.  In fact, acknowledging the
contribution of someone who does not share my (or our) beliefs does not
change my beliefs or advocate his.

> In short, as a believing Jew, I think that we must recognize that the 
> events leading up to the establishment of the State of Israel (imperfect 
> as it is) are due to the wondrous ways of Hashem.  Our thanks must 
> therefore be to Hashem.  As we seek to express our thanks to Hashem, we 
> encounter Halachic difficulties and quesitons.  These must and can and 
> will be resolved (for those who follow the P'sak of the Rabbanut and/or 
> of Rav Goren ZT"L, they already HAVE been resolved).  When that is 
> achieved, we will truly celebrate Yom Ha'Atzmaut with love and gratitude 
> toward Hashem.

I can only add the hope and prayer that we celebrate Yom Ha'Atzmaut with
love and gratitude toward our predecessors and contemporaries.

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 15:59:31 -0400
Subject: Derech eretz kadmah (preceded) la'Torah

On MJ 19#91 the following was posted:

> I must object to a post asserting that "Chachamim do have the right
>to change Biblical rules."  Torah cannot be changed, and the references used
>to defend the contrary assertion were stunning misinterpretations. The quote
>from Pesachim 115a neither reads "atu Rabanan umevatil lih de'Oraita" nor
>translates as "Rabanan came and invalidated {rules of the} Torah." Rather it
>reads "ati _D_Rabanan umavtil lei l'Doraita," and concerns the opinion that
>Maror is only a Rabbinic Mitzva without the Pesach sacrifice.  If a person
>eats Matzah on the Seder night (which is a Torah Mitzva even today) with
>Maror, "the [inclusion of a] Rabbinic [taste] comes and nullifies the [taste
>of the] Torah [obligation]." Thus we first eat them separately, and only
>then eat them together in rememberance of the Temple, according to Hillel.
>Similarly, Sotah 16a does NOT permit Rabbis to change Torah, but specifies
>three cases where Halacha L'Moshe MiSinai (Oral _Torah_) tells us that while
>the Torah mentions a certain item, the truth is that any item would do.  For
>example, the Torah says that a Nazir cannot shave with a razor, while the
>Halacha forbids him to shave with ANYTHING.  The correct reading in both
>cases is obvious, and it's barely possible to justify the post by claiming
>the fellow looked in a Concordance without bothering to open the Talmud.
>Pseudo-scholarship of this nature is hardly going to solve our problems.

There might be a legitimate discussion whether these two examples are or
are not good examples to make the case for the right of the Rabbis to
change Torah law. One can take each of these and other examples and say
that each is a specific example which does not validate a general
rule. But delegitimizing the author of such an assertion should NEVER be
used in an halachic discussion. Derech eretz kadamah la'Torah. I was
surprised that Avi [Mod.]  let it slip through. [Mea Culpa - Mod.]

As to the question itself: Do the Rabbis have the right to changes Torah law?

An article: The Halachic Thought of R. Isaac Herzog (Jewish Law
Association Studies V) Atlanta, 1991 p. 122 was called today to my
attention. (By Prof.  Eliav Schochetman who quotes R. Herzog in v.1 pp
18-19 of A Torah Constitution for Israel, Hebrew title is Tehukah
leyisrael al pi hatorah (1989). In it R.  Herzog is quoted in his
discussion of whether to permit Christian worship in the state of Israel
he says (I only have an English translation):"Moreover, there are
circumstances in which even a Biblical prohibition may be overriden for
the sake of preventing enmity and surely, the present situation is a
classical one for the application of this overriding principle". Also,
in MJ19 # 96 Mottel Gutnick, shows another case where Rabbinical rule
took precedent over Torah law in the very same area of hilchot gittin
and the use of a Takanah.

This is not a call for Reform Judaism, but a restatement of the ability
of true Judaism to adapt itself to new realities. I invite an open
discussion on this important topic.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 1995 11:31:17 +0300
Subject: Rav Soloveitchik and Ponivitz

    Jerome Parness writes
>> I wonder if Kol Dodi Dofek has ever been read or taught at Ponovitz, 

    Since Rav Schach has forbiden the reading of the "five derashot"
because it gives credit to some acts of secular Jewry I doubt that one
is permitted to read Kol Dodi Dofek in Ponovitz.



From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 1995 18:16:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rav Soloveitchik in Yeshiva welt

I have followed the recent discussion on where my teacher R. Yosef Dov
Soloveitchik zT"l was "ranked" among Roshei Yeshiva. In one sense, the
whole idea of comparing individuals is somewhat ridiculous and
offensive, even outside the realm of Torah. But if engaging is such
ranking is narrishkeit (=foolishness), the sociology of narrishkeit is
not without historical value.

FACT: Whenever the Rav spoke in public (Yahrzeit shiurim, Teshuva
derashot, attended by thousands; the weekly Moriah shiur, faithfully
attended by several hundred), the audience was packed with members of
the Litvish and Hasidic world. Why congregate Tuesday after Tuesday,
from all over the city, to hear a Gemara shiur, unless you think it's
something special? Why brave cold and ice to enter YU's auditorium on
Gimel Shevat?  Why take the trouble, in the week before Yom Kippur, to
spend 4 hours (+transportation, waiting etc.) listening to a man whom
they didn't think highly of? [When I infiltrated R. Hutner's Maamarim
the number of outsiders seemed much smaller, and at the Lubovitcher
Rebbe's Farbrengen the outsiders seemed to be there for reasons other
than intellectual.]

FACT: Several individuals, originally hailing from major Litvish
yeshivot (and not without yihus in that world), who made no secret of
their disdain for YU and barely concealed their lack of regard for the
Rav's hashkafat olam, built their lives around his shiurim, both in New
York and in Boston. I'm speaking of some very bright people, dedicated
to Torah learning, who devoted 10-15 years of their earthly existence to
the lectures of a man to whose outlook they were "insensitive" (the
Rav's characteristic term). Why?

FACT: How much of the Rav's Torah, over the past 60 years, has been
plagiarized by respectable authors. Is this not a remarkable expression
of admiration? How much oral and written material circulates with a
vague attribution to members of the Brisker dynasty (see previous

The obvious implication of these facts is that the Rav was indeed
regarded, in broad circles, as the preeminent marbitz Torah of his time.
Other explanations are, of course, possible. All these bnei Torah may
have wasted all their time out of idle curiosity. They may have
considered the Rav an outstanding showman rather than a serious Lamdan.
They may have valued the shiurim only for the "family heirlooms," the
occasions when the Rav referred to his grandfather. Perhaps, with the
impulse to exaggeration and paradox common in our circles, the Rav's
fascination consisted in his being "outside the pale," so to speak.

Let the reader judge.

Let me add an observation that should be obvious to anyone in the know.
Almost always--the higher you go, the more you will find attitudes of
mutual respect. The narrishkeit flourishes at lower levels.


From: <shoshani@...> (Michael Shoshani)
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 1995 18:14:13 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Saying Hallel with a Bracha

> >From: <dovle@...> (Dov Ettner)
>   When the Sefardim recite the entire Hallel as we will do on Shavout,
> they make the bracha "ligmor et hahallel". On Rosh Hodesh and Hol Hamoed
> Pesach the bracha made is "likroh et hahallel" on half Hallel.

Not quite. We make the beracha "ligmor et hehallel" when saying the
entire Hallel; however, when we say half-Hallel no beracha is made at
all.  We do not have the beracha "likro' et hehallel", only "ligmor",
which means "to complete" or "to finish".  Since we do not complete
Hallel when we only recite selected portions of it, we do not recite the

The *Yemenites*, however, DO make a distinction between "ligmor" and
"likro'", and they DO follow the practice Dov has outlined above.

<shoshani@...>    /  i once heard the survivors of a colony of ants
  Michael SB Shoshani   /  that had been partially obliterated by a cow s foot
    Chicago IL, USA    /  seriously debating the intention of the gods
                      /  towards their civilization           --archy


From: <naiman@...> (Aaron Naiman)
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 09:32:50 +0300
Subject: Re: Waiting a Year

In issue 19:90, M E Lando <landom1@...> writes:

> Rav Bulman explained that the S"fas Emes emphasizes that before the
> Gedolei Yisroel of those periods could establish a chag, they had to see
> how the public reacted to the nissim.  If the reaction was one of ko'chi
> v'atz'mi (my strength and ability) then a yom tov would be
> inappropriate.  It was only when they saw that the public recognized the
> yad hashem; that these periods could be commemorated l'ho'dos
> u'l'hallel.  Rav Bulman emphasized that anyone witnessing the military
> parades and the way the average Israeli celebrates yom ha'atz'ma'ut
> could only conclude that they were celebrating kochi v'atzmi.  That is
> why the gedolim of our generation could not declare these days to be yom
> tovim.

With all due respect, I must disagree on a number of points:

1) I have witnessed many Israelis, both in Israel and abroad, both
dati (Orthodox) and less so, speak of the War of Independence and the
Six Day War, and I seldom (if at all) have _not_ heard them speak of
the nissim (miracles) which occurred in the battles.  Therefore, I
seriously question whether the "average Israeli" indeed does not
recognize the Yad HaShem element of the wars.

2) Even with the parades, which _might_ infer some element of kochi
vi'otzem yadi (although I do not know that the Chashmona'im did not
have a parade of some sort after the war), what happened to being dan
likav zichut (giving the benefit of the doubt), that nonetheless there
is recognition of HaShem's hand in the battles?

3) Even if the "average Israeli" did not see the Yad HaShem (which I
do not think is the case), why do we necessarily look to the "average
Israeli", and not to the "average dati Israeli"?  To quote
(ironically) Rabbi Berel Wein: Let us not confuse Jews with Judaism.
Similarly, let us not confuse the proper response which the
(unfortunately only most of the) Orthodox community had, with that
which the non-Orthodox community _may_ have had.

4) I think we should stay away from cart blanche statements such as:
"... the gedolim of our generation could not declare these days to be
yom tovim."  Indeed there _are_ gedolim who could not, but there are
also gedolim who could and did and do.

Bichavod rav,

Aaron Naiman | Jerusalem College of Technology | University of Maryland, IPST
(Aharon)     | <naiman@...>           | naiman@glue.umd.edu


End of Volume 19 Issue 100