Volume 19 Number 85
                       Produced: Thu Jun  1 23:20:40 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Airline Meals in the Nine Days
         [Aaron H. Greenberg]
Breaking a Tenaim
         [Merril Weiner]
Breaking Tenaim
         [Chaim Wasserman]
Eulogy for Rabbi Dr. Norman E. Frimer Zatsa"l
         [Aryeh Frimer]
Ranking gedolim
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Rav Soloveitchik
         [Eli Turkel]
Rewriting History
         [Jerome Parness]
Shape of the Earth
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Unusual Anti-Semites
         [Hayim Hendeles]


From: Aaron H. Greenberg <greenbah@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 1995 01:08:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Airline Meals in the Nine Days

> From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
> I will (alas) be travelling to Park City, UT during the Nine Days, for a
> professional conference.  (Kosher food will be a neat trick.  I think
> I'll be packing some matzah and sardines.)
> Kosher airline meals are invariably fleishig.  What do most people do in
> this situation?  (I seem to recall this being discussed previously on
> mail-jewish.)

It is my impression that airlines are willing to go through
extraordinary effort to meet any dietary need.  You can try asking for
Kosher Vegetarian.  I'm sure that if you give then sufficient time, they
will come through for you.  In fact, you probably will not be the first
to have requested this, since I know many kosher vegetarians.  However,
I did not have the opportunity to ask them what they do before posting.

(Be sure to check in with them, to see if they have you down in the computer,
  for Kosher *Vegetarian*,  The airline will make the effort, but attendents
  that put this info in the computer often mess up.)

Aaron Greenberg


From: <mweiner@...> (Merril Weiner)
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 1995 11:59:04 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Breaking a Tenaim

Breaking the T'naiim can be easy or difficult.  It all depends on the
wording of the contract.  Most of these contracts are signed on the day
of the wedding to avoid the problem of breaking the contract.  Those
that are signed earlier often have clauses saying that the Chatan has to
pay the Kalah $x if he doesn't show up to the Chatanah and marry her.

My wife and I signed a T'naiim 2+ months before the wedding without this
clause.  That left only one option, marry her and then give a get if I
had changed my mind about marriage.  Not a pleasant thought.  But then
again, we had no doubts and this was a way to prove it to everyone. :>

-Merril Weiner


From: <Chaimwass@...> (Chaim Wasserman)
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 1995 00:53:29 -0400
Subject: Breaking Tenaim

In response to Jonathan Baker's query (Vol 19 Number 79) concerning the
breaking of tenaim. The Vilna Gaon maintained that breaking the
obligations of tenaim is a reprehensible act far worse than divorce. For
the Torah accomodates for marital bonds to be broken when staying
together is untenable.

Breaking of tenaim is backing down on one's word, which carries an awful
stigma, a sign of degradation for the moral standards of the family

Chaim Wasserman, Rabbi
Young Israel of Passaic-Clifton


From: Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...>
Date: Mon, 22 May 95 13:28 O
Subject: Re: Eulogy for Rabbi Dr. Norman E. Frimer Zatsa"l

      I have been notified that Rabbi Pollak of Boston University Hillel
gave a 5 minute eulogy for my father zatsal at the BU graduation. I
would be grateful to anyone who was there or heard the Eulogy to write
me what he said. I would also appreciate if someone from BU would
contact Rabbi Pollak to send me a copy of what he said.
            Thanks in advance
                    Aryeh Frimer
      Fax: 972-3-5351250


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Sun, 28 May 1995 05:35:50 GMT
Subject: Ranking gedolim

Binyomin Segal writes: "I bet that 10 years ago Rav Soloveitchik z"l
would not have made the list of the 'top 5' in most yeshivahs."

A comment that like - in my opinion, has no place in a MODERATED
Torah-oriented forum. What are we to expect next? The "Gadol of the
month"? The "top 10 gedolim hit parade"?

Any time we sink to make comments of ranking gedolim, we are dealing
with no less an issue than "mevazeh Talmid Chacham."

Such statements should not have been written, and they CERTAINLY should
not have been disseminated.

   Shmuel Himelstein
972-2-864712   Fax:972-2-862041
    Jerusalem, Israel
<himelstein@...> (that's JerONE, not Jer-L)


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 31 May 1995 18:18:19 +0300
Subject: Rav Soloveitchik

Melech Press writes 

>> Despite the lack of respect shown him in various circles he himself
>> recognized the greatness of many of the leading figures in that world
>> and this respect was reciprocated by many.

   In addition to what Melech Press said I wish to stress that those who
refer to Rav Soloveitchik as "JB" violate several Torah prohibitions
including calling someone by a uncomplimentary name and speaking against
a rabbi. However, I am more distessed by the book of Rabbi Berel Wein on
jewish history. In his discussion of Yeshiva University he mentions as
heads of the yeshiva Rav Lifschutz and Rav Gorelick. His only reference
to Rav Soloveitchik is in connection with the dispute of joining with
conservative and reform rabbis in rabbinic groups for issues that do not
contradict Halakhah. He also has a picture of Rav Soloveitchik with Rav
Kotler and Rav Feinstein. Someone whose sole knowledge came from this
book would be left wondering who Rav Soloveitchik was that he disagreed
with the Agudah but has a picture with the Agudah gedolim and is not
asscociated with anyplace.

Eli Turkel        <turkel@...>


From: Jerome Parness <parness@...>
Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 10:07:33 EDT
Subject: Rewriting History

On May 19, 1995, Binyomin Segal wrote:

> In Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf's zeal to undo the re-written history he saw
> online here - I think he has - perhaps inadvertently rewritten history
> again. He says:
>  * I realize that the Rav's positions on many things trouble the Haredi
>  * world, since he was universally acknowledged as the Gadol HaDor of
>           ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>  * learning. But that discomfort on the part of Haredim should not be
>    ^^^^^^^^
>  * allowed to disguise or moderate truth.
> Don't know what universe Rabbi Woolf lives in - but in mine, he was
> acknowledgest as a lamdin, perhaps even a Gadol. But _the_ Gadol? In
> learning? Not in any yeshiva I went to. - If I had to guess who people
> would have chosen as a "Gadol HaDor of learning" (though Im not sure that
> the title even exists) from Rav Soloveitchik z"ls generation, I would
> assume that most guys in American yeshivahs would have picked Rav Moshe z"l
> (ever read his Dibros Moshe?) or perhaps Rav Kutler z"l. Israeli's would
> probably have chosen the Kehillas Yaakov z"l.
> Frankly (though this is not my opinion of reality - just an opinion of
> opinions) I bet that 10 years ago Rav Soloveitchik z"l would not have made
> a list of the "top 5" in most yeshivahs.

Not that Dr. Woolf can not defend himself, but I would like to take
issue with Binyomin's logic regarding who in American Yeshivahs decides
who is a gadol hador.  It has been my experience that yeshivah bochurim
tend to consider their particular roshei yeshivah as one of the gedolei
hador.  That goes for Lakewood, Telshe Yeshivah, Mir, Ponevitz, and
Yeshivah University.  Second, and this is (my reading) a statement of
politics on the part of the yeshivah student: any of the other gedolim
of the yeshivah world that their roshei yeshivah seem to agree with on a
level of hashkafa and pay public homage to would also be considered a
gadol hador.  I would be happlily surprised to find out that the yeshiva
student actually asked his rosh yeshivah who he really thinks is a gadol
hador.  I would actually be quite surprised if most yeshiva students
actually read the works of those rabbeim not actually sanctioned by
their particular rosh yeshiva.  I wonder if Kol Dodi Dofek has ever been
read or taught at Ponovitz, or anything by Rav Yoel Teitelbaum at YU
(though I would believe the latter more than the former simply because
their is more of an academic atmosphere at YU, less constrained by
issues of hashkafah)?  I truly doubt most roshei yeshiva would answer
the question regarding who is a gadol hador: first because anyone he
would leave off such a list, whether intentionally or not, would then be
subject to downgrading in the yeshivah student's eyes - and that would
be the equivalent of "motzi shem ra" (see the Hafetz Haim on Lashon
Hara).  Second, it is my impression that most roshei yeshivah would
never publicly admit that someone is a gadol hador (even if they thought
he was, and especially if they thought he was) if that person expressed
hashkafot that were very different from that rosh yeshivah.  It would be
political suicide.  I have had roshei kollel tell me that they were
afraid to speak out on behalf of issues that were politically sensitive
(read religiously sensitive) because they were worried about kannaim in
the Haredi world, and their own ability to stay in the business of
transmitting Torah as they see it.  The question that begs is what
roshei yeshivah of the haredi world really thought of Rabbi
Soloveithchik's (z"tl) greatness in Torah learning.  In terms of written
sources for what gedolei yeshivah thought of Rav Soloveitchik, there
exists correspondence regarding his capabilities already from the time
he applied for the position as Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv (I don't have it
in front of me, I have seen it, and it is published).  Rabbi Dr. Woolf
is a talmid muvhak of the Rov, as is Rav Shechter, and each has his
seeming historical sources as to what the Rav thought or didn't think.
It will be up to history to decide, on balance, whose historical sources
are more believable, i.e., regarding coeducation and halacha.
Similarly, with regards to the status of Rav Soloveithchik as the gadol
hador or one of the gedolei hador, history will decide.  But for
historical accuracy, I personally would appreciate whatever written
evidence that Dr. Woolf or any other person out there in cyberworld has
on what rashei yeshivah in the haredi world really thought of Rav
Soloveitchik would be put out for all to peruse.  The term " the gadol
hador" is not a popularity contest amongst yeshivah bochurim.  It is the
acknowledgement by the other gedolei hador, who can truly appreciate the
wide ranging bekiut and powers of hidush in each other, that have the
right to decide.  And it is my humble opinion that we will never really
know the answer to the question of what the Haredi world really thinks
of the Rav, because no one will really say what they think for fear of
the consequences on both sides of the question.  The atmosphere of
kannaut is very damaging.


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 1995 03:52:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shape of the Earth

    On May 18, Eli Turkel wrote:
>For rishonim, any connection between Maimonides description of the
>heavens in "Yesodei haTorah chapter 3" and modern astronomy is purely
>coincidental. Rambam states explicitly that his description is based on
>Greek science. Ramban also states that his biology comes from the
>"Greek" scholars (which also is wrong in many ways).  Rav Hai Gaon, Rav
>Sherira gaon, Maimonides, his son Abraham and many other gaonim and
>rishonim state the Chazal's knowledge of science was based on their own
>observations and the knowledge of their day and not on any prophecy. In
>the Gemara Pesachim Rav Yehuda HaNasi states that in the debate about
>the path of the sun the opinion of the nonJewish scholars was preferable to
>that of Chazal based on his personal observations (again, none of these
>correspond to modern science).

      Okay, so some Tana'im and Chachomim said that the secular scholars
had a better idea than them about natural science.  However, there are
two points to keep in mind.
     1.  When Chazal talked about natural science they may have just
been employing this medium as a way of couching divrei aggadta in
cryptic language.  If so, they did not have the natural science in mind
at all.  If you see the Shita M'kubetzes (quoted by the Gilyon Hashas in
Pesachim) you will see that when Rebbi Yehuda Hanasi agreed to the
Chachmei Ha'umos, he was saying that regarding natural science they are
correct but in regard to what we're talking about we are correct.  I
asked Rav Shimon Schwab zt"l what that meant and he said that Rebbi
Yehuda Hanasi was talking about a mystic concept similar to the mystic
concept expressed by the prayers on Shabbos morning, "Uvokai'a chalonai
Roki'a" - "and he splits the windows of the heavens" in regard to
     2.  Even if we say that the secular scholars are better informed
regarding natural science, it doesn't mean that they know the truth.  It
just means that the Sages felt that the position of those scholars made
more sense.  That does not establish the truth.  However, in regard to
Torah wisdom what Chazal say is the quintessential truth.

     Regarding the shape of the earth itself, one can bring a proof from
Medrash that the earth as a globe from the Torah.  In Megilas Esther it
says that Achashverosh ruled from Hodu to Kush.  The Medrash asks that
this is a comparatively short distance since they touch each other?  The
Medrash answers that it is similar to what it says about another king (I
don't remember which one) that he ruled from Tifsach to Aza and over
there since Tifsach and Aza touch each other it means from Tifsach all
the way around the globe to Aza.  Here also it means from Hodu all the
way around the globe to Kush.



From: <hayim@...> (Hayim Hendeles)
Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 10:52:33 -0700
Subject: Unusual Anti-Semites

Recently, I had an interesting discussion with someone about individuals
who devoted their hearts and souls to helping one group of humanity or
another (even Jews at times) - and yet happened to be
anti-Semitic. Surprisingly enough, there happen to be quite a few of
those throughout the centuries.

This person claims that he remembers reading somewhere that even the
famous Mother Theresa is also anti-Semitic. However, he could not
remember where he saw this; only that (or so he thinks) it was based on
some incident between her and the PLO when it was still an *illegal*
terrorist organization.

Does anyone know anything about this? Can anyone either prove or
disprove his claim?

(Believe it or not, this is not just an idle question; it arose out
of an attempt to understand a passage in the Talmud.)

Hayim Hendeles


End of Volume 19 Issue 85