Volume 20 Number 27
                       Produced: Thu Jun 29 23:35:42 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Etymology of 'parent'
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Israelis using electricity on Shabbat
         [Shmuel Himelstein (n)]
Purim Meshulash and Yom Haatzmaut
         [Adina B. Sherer]
Rambam & Kabbalah
         [Yaacov-Dovid Shulman]
Rambam and kaballah
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Rambam and Kabbalah
         [Jeffrey Woolf]
Separate Seating at a Wedding
         [Jeffrey Woolf]
Torah and Society
         [Moishe Kimelman]
Yom Tov Shaini
         [Adina B. Sherer]


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 1995 20:24:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Etymology of 'parent'

On Sun, 18 Jun 1995, Arnie Kuzmack wrote:
> > > "whoever raises a friends child, the torah considers as if he bore that
> > > child)
> > I would like to remind the readers that the Hebrew for parent, hore, is
> > cousin of teacher, more. Both are derived from yod-resh-heh, to
> > permeate, penetrate, to throw.  The function is both physical and
> > spiritual.
> As much as I agree with these sentiments, I am afraid that hore 'parent' 
> is derived from heh-resh-heh, 'to conceive, become pregnant', which is 
> the root of 'herayon', 'pregnancy'.  If there is a connection between 
> these roots, quite possible for 'weak' verbs, it is probably connected 
> with the meaning 'to penetrate' ;-).

I remember learning that 'hore' parent, 'more' teacher, and 'tora' 
teaching are all related as they are all in the fuction as teachers.


From: Shmuel Himelstein (n) <himelstein@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 1995 01:07:13 GMT
Subject: Israelis using electricity on Shabbat

Hi all,

In v20n4, Mike Grynberg wondered about the use of electricity in Israel on 
Shabbbat. There is no doubt that the system in Israel is run by Jews on 
Shabbat, and, indeed, there are a limited number of haredim who have a 
separate light system installed which operates on car batteries - charged 
during the week and discharged over Shabbat. For some reason which I have 
not been able to understand, most of these people nevertheless leave their 
refrigerators running on electric current. (I suppose batteries cannot be 
used for this for two reasons - a) batteries are DC, and b) the amount of 
electricity needed to run a refrigerator would require a tremendous number 
of batteries - assuming the 12 volt DC current could be converted to 220 
volt AC.)

Most religious Israelis, though, do use the electrical system. The heter 
for this is a basic one - there is no doubt that electricity MUST be 
produced on Shabbat, because it is needed for a whole gamut of Pikuach 
Nefesh functions - especially hospitals, but also police, army, etc., and, 
of course, the many private homes where seriously ill people require the 
use of electrical medical appliances of various types. Thus, the heter is 
based on the fact that those running the system are engaged in Pikuach 

If I may, as a new subscriber I would appreciate Avi reiterating how one is 
to deal with files at the ftp site. I have found that the majority of files 
(with the suffix "z") are inaccessible to me. I may also point out that in 
the last week or two the ftp site has become much more easily accessible, 
for which I am most grateful.


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


From: <adina@...> (Adina B. Sherer)
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 95 7:39:33 IDT
Subject: Purim Meshulash and Yom Haatzmaut

I just wanted to follow up on Zvi Weiss's post of June 15 regarding
the above.  When Purim comes out on Shabbos in Jerusalem we read
the Megilla on Friday as suggested in the Mishna because of the gzeira
of "Shema Yaaverinu" - the same gzeira that causes us not to blow
Shofar or take the Lulav on Shabbos.  We give Matanos Laevyonim on
Friday because of the pasuk in the Megilla which sets forth the Mitzva
and the expectation of the Evyonim that they will receive their gifts
at that time as a result of the Megilla reading.  We eat the Seuda on
Sunday so as not to mix it with Shabbos - however the minhag is to be
"marbeh beseuda" on Shabbos to show that we are not completely forgetting
Purim.  And we do Mishloach Manos on Sunday as well, although many are
machmir to do a small Mishloach Manos both on Friday and on Shabbos
(the latter "bezinia", i.e. in your building) due to safek (doubt) about
when this Mitzva should be performed.

On the other hand, al Hanisim is recited ONLY on Shabbos.  And for Maftir
we take out two sifrei Torah and read Vayavo Amalek in the second sefer
(which we do not read on Friday).  And the Haftora is the same as the 
Haftora of Parshas Zachor again.  So unlike Yom Haatzmaut which falls
on Shabbos there are definite Halachic observances of Purim which take place
on Shabbos.

If I have misstated anything please forgive me - I wrote this from memory
from Purim 5754.  May you all be zocheh to be living here (or at least
somewhere in Israel) for the next Purim Meshulash.

-- Carl Sherer, Jerusalem
	Adina and Carl Sherer
		You can reach us both at:


From: <YacovDovid@...> (Yaacov-Dovid Shulman)
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 1995 19:51:11 -0400
Subject: Rambam & Kabbalah

In 1201 (3 years before he passed away), the Rambam was asked (by. R. Saadia
B. R. Berachot) his opinion of the work, Shiur Komah (a classic of Kabbalah
dealing in heavily anthropomorphic language with G-d's "limbs," so to speak).

The Rambam replied: 
"I have never held the opinion that this is from the [Talmudic] sages.
[editor's note: In his youth, the Rambam held that this sefer was a a holy
work with an allegorical-philosophical commentary, and he mentioned it in his
introduction to Cheilek, Seventh Foundation, p. 142; but he never attributed
it to the sages, apparently having an indication that it was a late work.
 Later he erased this early mention from his manuscripts...]  And heaven
forbid that it should come from them.  Rather, it is a work from one of the
commentators of Edom [i.e., a Christian], and nothing else.  In short, it is
a great mitzvah to wipe out this writing and destroy the memory of its
content--'and do not mention the name of other gods' etc.  For a description
of 'limbs' can only refer to other gods, without any doubt (Igrot Harambam,
vol. II, p. 578)..

Similar anthropomorphical descriptions are present--abound--in the Zohar.

So we see that in his youth the Rambam thought highly of a Kabbalistic text,
and it was in his old age that he had a totally dismissive attitude toward

Incidentally, in regard to the Rambam and mysticism, I recall seeing a quote
from the writing of the Rambam's son R Avraham, in which--as nasi--he tried
(unsuccessfully) to introduce a Sufi-type practice into synagogue prayer.
 And also, the Rambam's great-grandson (or possibly grandson--I forget) wrote
a work that in fact became a classic of of Sufi literature, and has been
translated into English as "The Treatise of the Pool."  (He remained a pious
Jew--see the fascinating introduction to the book.)


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 1995 20:28:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rambam and kaballah

I don't konow what the Lubavitcher Rebbe said but I know that I read in 
the sefer Shem Hagedolim by the Chida that the Rambam learned kaballa 
late in life.  The Gra apparently holds that the Rambam never know what 
Pardes was about as he wriute in Biurei Hagra.


From: Jeffrey Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 95 14:06:50 IDT
Subject: Rambam and Kabbalah

With all due respect to the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt'l, his 'demonstration'
that the Zohar served as a source for Maimonides is more a tribute to
his creative genius than to historical facts. Even according to those
who see the Zohar as literally written by R. Shimon b. Yohai (by no
means a unanimous opinion among Halakhic authorities, not to mention
whether it has any halakhic standing), it was only revealed in Spain
over 80 years after the Rambam died. Moreover, his son and talmid
mivhak, R. Avraham, is clearly an unadulterated Aristotelian (as
evidenced in his Kafayat al-abadin). If Rambam had become a mystic late
in life, why not tell his son? The tradition in Migdal Oz is an attempt
to co-opt the Rambam to the Kabbalist side since it was a bone in their
throats that the greatest codifier was not a mystic.  
				Jeffrey Woolf


From: Jeffrey Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 95 14:03:46 IDT
Subject: Separate Seating at a Wedding

While there is certainly no prohibition against separate seating at a
wedding, there is no absolute need for it either, halakhically. When I
got married, I had a long discussion with Rav Soloveitchik zt'l on the
subject and he told me straight that there is nothing wrong with mixed
seating at the tables at a wedding. Of course mixed dancing is a
different issue. Given the general mayhem at weddings, I can't see why
anyone would feel self-conscious dancing. But then I'm a man...
        Jeffrey Woolf


From: <kimel@...> (Moishe Kimelman)
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 1995 14:55:03 +1000
Subject: Torah and Society

In v20n2 Joseph Steinberg writes:

> The laws as found in the Torah regarding child marriages were
>perfectly normal for the time and place of the Matan Torah. However,
>time and place has changed.  The issues at hand are in the USA in
>1995. (In Israel it is illegal to marry off a girl under 16 -- this law
>was passed four decades ago to prevent Temani fathers from continuing
>such a practice which existed in Yemen.) Is it not possible to conclude
>that the Torah never intended the laws of child-marriages to apply in a
>society in which they make no sense?

It is possible to conclude many things, but where the conslusion is reached 
by "interpreting" the Will of G-d it will usually be wrong.  A very telling 
line in the above quote is "in the USA in 1995".  As one who views the USA 
from a distance - and with a more than minimal distaste for the lifestyle it 
has promoted throughout "civilization" - I must ask whether the writer of 
the quote really believes that the modern societal values of the USA should 
be considered when discussing the validity of a marriage as specified in the 
Torah.  I have this recurring vision of driving past a well-lit billboard 
where, in glitzy writing, I read:

 From the people who brought you Vietnam and Promicuity, Widespread Drug 
Abuse and AIDS... now, for the very first time... "Society defeats the 
Torah".  Showing at an Orthodox home near you.

I know that I will never see the sign, because it won't be "...for the very 
first time".

Does the prohibition against eating non-kosher meat make sense in our 
society?  Does tying funny black boxes to ourselves each weekday make sense 
today (let alone the price we pay for the privelege of owning a set)?  Did 
the prohibition against wearing cloth made from wool and linen EVER make 
sense?  Simply, the Torah never claimed the all-important claim that it made 
sense.  Rather it claims the somewhat minor claim of being the immutable 
Will of G-d.  It seems, however, that we are stuck with the Torah even 
though it would probably not be passed by a joint sitting of Congress.  
(Don't get me wrong.  I am not enamored by the society of the country in 
which I live, either, but I have always felt that an innate feeling of 
respect for the host country's values is  more widespread in the US than 

> Does anyone really believe that the
>Torah, and G-d Himself, wants the marriages of oppression performed by
>the S.O.B.s in question to be valid? Is that what you think G-d wants?

For the record the answer is "yes" three times: Twice for the two questions 
asked, and once as to whether I think the father in question is an S.O.B..

>Is that the morality which we are supposed to use to be a 'light unto
>the nations.'?

Yes!  We are a light unto the nations precisely because we follow the 
dictates of the Torah - written and oral - regardless of whether we 
appreciate them or think they should be changed.  The only concession we 
give to our intellectual and emotional desires is that we pray that Hashem 
make us understand His viewpoint, not vice versa.  "Morality" is transient; 
the Torah isn't.



From: <adina@...> (Adina B. Sherer)
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 95 7:46:41 IDT
Subject: Yom Tov Shaini

The earliest source which requires keeping Yom Tov Sheini after the
fixing of the calendar by Hillel (Third century C.E.) is probably 
the Gemara in Beitza 4b which states "they sent from there [Eretz
Yisrael] be careful with the custom of your forefathers in your hands, 
because sometimes the [non-Jewish] kings will make decrees against
you" as being the reason for keeping Yom Tov Sheini even though
"now we know when the new moon is" (both quoted passages are my loose
translations of the Gemara).

For a thorough treatment of the subject, I suggest the sefer "Yom Tov
Sheini KeHilchaso" by R. Yerachmiel Fried which also reviews many of
the laws of those who travel to or from Israel for the Chagim.  I believe
the book has been translated into English by Artscroll or Feldheim.

-- Carl Sherer
	Adina and Carl Sherer
		You can reach us both at:


End of Volume 20 Issue 27