Volume 20 Number 45
                       Produced: Thu Jul 13 23:49:04 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Avot & Marriage
         [Stephen Phillips]
         [Binyomin Segal]
         [Adina Gerver]
Return to Life
         [Moishe Kimelman]
         [Yaacov-Dovid Shulman]


From: <stephenp@...> (Stephen Phillips)
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 95 12:46 BST-1
Subject: Avot & Marriage

>From: <janiceg@...> (Janice Gelb)
>This seems odd to me. First of all, if he did marry her, why wouldn't he
>have taken her with him when he left? Why would he have left a pledged
>wife to continue being a prostitute? And when Judah wants to redeem >his
>pledges and sends a kid, doesn't his messenger ask the locals where the
harlot is? And when he returns without having found her, isn't Judah
>afraid that he will be shamed if the story gets out?

>I'd very much like to hear more details on this Rashi to answer the
>questions I've posed above. Especially since I've always appreciated the
>fact that the Torah doesn't gloss over the fact that the avot were human and 
didn't always act well.

My apologies. It wasn't Rashi, but the Da'as Zekeinim MiBa'alei Tosefos
who go on to ask how there could have been a proper Kiddushin with
pledged articles. They give an answer which is based on some
technicalities in the laws of Kiddushin.

The various commentators treat this episode in various ways, ranging
from the one I've quoted through the fact that Yehudah did intend to
consort with a prostitute, something which before Matan Torah [the
giving of the Torah] was not forbidden [see ArtScroll on Bereishis for a
fully treatment of this].

One commentator [based, I believe, on a Medrash] puts it this way. Tamar
prayed that she be given a child from Yehudah. Yehudah was about to pass
by Tamar's tent when a Angel "redirected" him as it were into her
path. Thus, by Hashem's guiding hand did the beginnings of the Moshiach
come about [Boaz was a descendant of Peretz].

The K'li Yakar wonders why Yehudah gave Tamar specifically the 3 objects
mentioned, viz. a signet ring, a staff and a cord. These 3, says the
K.Y., represent the 3 things that might have saved Yehudah from
sinning. The ring ["Chosomecho" - your "seal"] represents the Bris
Kodesh which is "sealed" in a man's flesh and with which he sinned with
Tamar; the staff represents the staff to be used to guide and shepherd
the people by Yehudah as king, about whom the Torah later states "Lo
Yarbeh Lo Noshim" [He should not have many women]; the cord
["Pesilecha"] is the Tzitzis [Pesil Techeles] which guards a person from
sinning. Yehudah dispensed with all 3 and was therefore left
defenceless, as it were, from sinning.

Stephen Phillips.


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 1995 21:51:54 -0500
Subject: Chinuch

In the discussion of mezuzah we have an opening to a classic discussion
of what chinuch (education) referes to in Jewish literature.

 * >>From: Constance Stillinger <cas@...>
 * > Is it permissible to put up a second one on his bedroom door down at
 * > about 3', low enough for him to kiss?  Or to move the one that's there
 * > down to that height?  What about doing this on one of the other doors,
 * > not his bedroom?

 * From: Shalom Krischer <PGMSRK@...>
 * Chana, my personal feeling is that it should be OK becuase of CHINUCH
 * (teaching <children>).
 * ...
 * However, since certainly a (real) Mezuza is supposed to be hung 1/3 of
 * the way from the ceiling (not the floor), why not just hang a Mezuza
 * case without the Klaph (parchement) for your little one?

 * From: <stephenp@...> (Stephen Phillips)
 * The Rav of our Shul, Rav Moshe Hool, once said in a Shiur that when a
 * child performs a Mitzvah for Chinuch purposes it must be performed in
 * the Halachically correct manner, otherwise it is worthless. Therefore,
 * any Mezuzah must be a kosher one, not merely the appearance of a kosher
 * one.

And so we have the classic question - do we give a youngster a lemon on
sukkos as a "chinuch" esrog? Or perhaps even stronger - when there is an
obligation for chinuch, can that obligation be fulfilled by fooling the

The mishna brura 658:28 discusses a problem that stems from the
requirement to own a lulav on the first & second day of succos (outside
of Israel).  Though a child can aquire the lulav on day 1 to fulfill the
mitzvah there is no method for an adult to re-aquire the lulav to
perform the mitzvah on day 2. The shulchan orach mentions the option of
allowing the child to make the bracha even though he does not own the
lulav (and is therefore not fulfilling the "real" mitzvah.) The mishnah
brurah lists off many sources that require the act of chinuch to be not
only physically - but theoretically identicle as the "real/adult"
mitvah. That is the child must own it. However the mishna brura brings 2
sources to the contrary and seems to conclude that one may rely on these
sources - that is even though the child is not performing the mitzvah we
may still say the bracha with them and we fulfill our obligation to
educate the child.

More recently, Rav Moshe discussed the same issue. (Orach Chaim 3:95)
His conclusion is that the Mishna Brura allowed people to rely on this
leniency becausr in the poverty of Europe where many adults could not
get an esrog, this was the only option open. He concludes that today
where a person could afford to buy a seperate kosher lulav & esrog for
every child of chinuch age, the parent is required to do so to fulfill
the complete requirement of chinuch - that is to insure that the child
actually perform the mitzvah not merely perform an action that is like a

This is far from a complete list of sources - and certainly far from a
complete discussion of the issues - but perhaps it's a start.



From: <adina.gerver@...> (Adina Gerver)
Date: Sun,  9 Jul 1995 04:03:53 GMT
Subject: Co-ed

   I think that Ari Shapiros's comment in V. 19, #81 is totally off the
mark. Firstly, why were you watching Oprah Winfrey at all? Surely you
know that nothing discussed on that show would be of any educational or
entertainment value to an Orthodox Jew! I, a high-school student who has
been educated at *co-educational* institutions since pre-K, would
stay as far away from that junk as possible.
   You suggest that the way to prevent Orthodox teenagers from engaging
in the immoral acts (which seem to be so prevalent among American
teenagers) would be to send them to single-sex schools and isolate them,
as much as possible, from people of the opposite sex. That is
ridiculous. The movies and T.V. that American teenagers watch, together
with a total lack of moral education, are what cause their improper
behavior, not the fact that they are interacting with people of the
opposite sex. The problem is not that American teenagers go to co-ed
schools, and it is preposterous to suggest that.
      I am in eleventh grade at Maimonides School, which has been
mentioned quite frequently here. It is always interesting, and sometimes
amusing, to find out things about my school that I have never noticed,
from people who have never been here. It is also interesting to hear
things that the Rav supposedly said which directly contradict the
opinions that I have absorbed over the years. I would also like to note
that Maimonides seems to have become more frum than it was when Adina
Sherer and others went there.
There are very few non-shomer Shabbat students at Maimonides now, at
least at the high school level.
    As far as the merits of co-education vs. single-sex education go,
I think that a lot of this arguing is silly. It seems to me that there
are as many chances to behave improperly in a single-sex school as there
are in a co-ed school. If a student's goal is to disregard Torah and
mitzvot, then s/he will find a way to do it in any school. If a
student's goal is to follow Torah and mitzvot, then s/he can also do
that, too, at any school. I don't think that its necessarily harder to
follow Torah and mitzvot at a co-ed school. To say that there shouldn't
be co-ed schools because the result might be improper behavior is like
saying that there shouldn't be umbrellas because you might open them on
Shabbat, or that we should ban the Internet because there's pornography
out there. The pros of using umbrellas and having access to the Internet
outweigh the cons, and we can only hope that people have the good sense
and strength not to do things that are wrong.
      Every situation has its pros and cons, and that is true of
co-education also. In my opinion, the pro of females learning and
appreciating Talmud at a level equal to that of males outweighs the cons
of distraction and possibilities of transgression. Another pro of
co-education is that things come up in discussions about halacha that
might not come up in single-sex schools. Also, I think that (some)
students develop respect for students of the opposite sex and realize
that they, too, are real people with valuable contributions to make
(unfortunately, there are exceptions to every rule,and dealing with
those exceptions is also part of my education!).
      I think that for many students, a co-ed school is the
right choice, and to dismiss all co-ed schools as halachically invalid
is wrong. If a student can attend a co-ed school and manage to reap its
benefits without its disadvantages, I don't understand how anyone can
say that co-education is wrong. Ultimately, it's up to the individual
students to decide how they want to lead their lives, whether they
attend a co-ed school or a single-sex school.

Adina Gerver


From: <kimel@...> (Moishe Kimelman)
Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 13:01:50 +1000
Subject: Return to Life

In #60 Akiva Miller wrote:

>A return to health does *not* prove that the patient had not been dead.
>Rather, certain criteria to be defined elsewhere give a person the status of
>dead, and IF SOMEONE MEETS THOSE CRITERIA, THEN even if the technology exists
>to revive that person, such treatment MIGHT ACTUALLY be in violation of

Tosfot in Bava Metzia 114b (d"h Amar) asks how Eliyahu Hanavi - who was a 
kohein (see Rashi d"h Lav) - was allowed to revive the dead son of the widow 
(see Melachim I chapter 17)?  Tosfot's answer is that since Eliyahu knew 
that he would be able to revive the child it was deemed pikuach nefesh (life 
and death) in which case nearly all prohibitions are permitted.  Why would 
Shabbos be any different?


From: <YacovDovid@...> (Yaacov-Dovid Shulman)
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 1995 19:19:39 -0400
Subject: Re: Zohar

Josh Cappel writes,

<What would be so terrible about acknowledging that the Zohar was
written later?>

 (1) Torah thought as we know it today is inconceivable without
reference to the Zohar.  All schools, from that of the Gra to the
Hasidim to the Sephardim, venerate the Zohar.
 (2) The gedolim who have accepted the authenticity of the Zohar have
impeccable intellectual credentials.  Around the turn of the century,
someone forged material purported to belong to the Talmud Yerushalmi.
After some initial acceptance, he was quickly found out.  It is hard to
believe that such extraordinary scholars such as the Ari, the Gra, Rav
Kook and so on were credulous.  The Ramchal was a master of the Hebrew
language-- certainly he would be sensitive to the use of medieval
philosophical language in a Tannaitic text--he accepts the Zohar as
authentic.  (Incidentally, he composed--under angelic inspiration--his
own pseudo-Zoharic text.)
 (3) These gedolim have impeccable spiritual credentials.  From this
aspect as well, it is hard to belief that they--all of them- -would be
 (4) There is the question of providence: would G-d allow the entire
Jewish people to be misled by a forgery?

<I'm also not sure why sources must be limited to only Orthodox

Since acceptance of the medieval authorship of the Zohar seems to be a
sine que non of non-Orthodox scholarship, I thought that an Orthodox
viewpoint might be more nuanced, open-minded or at least less hostile to
the traditional viewpoint.

I see that Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan demonstrates in his Meditation and
Kabbalah that the authenticity of the Zohar was accepted after
investigation by Isaac of Acco, a contemporary of Rabbi Moshe de Leon,
the purported "author."  However, Rabbi Kaplan does not deal with the
question of apparent anachronisms found in the text.

Joseph Steinberg refers to "statements in the Zohar which contradict
statements of [Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai] in the Midrash....such as
statements that certain principles are basic to Jewish faith (in the
Midrash) and then the opposite being said in the Zohar (see the Zohar
and Midrash Tanaim on the pasuk in Breishit about the 'N'filim', for
example.)"  He mentions that some early rishonim "make strong
allegations against concepts found within the Zohar (see Ramban on the
concept of reincarnation vs. the Zohar on reincarnation)."

I would be interested in more precise citations.  

Thank you.


End of Volume 20 Issue 45