Volume 20 Number 49
                       Produced: Tue Jul 18 20:00:22 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aliyot - splitting up
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Balak & Mashicah
         [Joe Goldstein]
G-d's name on a screen
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]
Halachic Wills
         [Jerome Parness]
Judaism and belief in angels
         [Laurie Solomon]
Kaballa and Halacha
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Mah Tovu - Author
         [Mechael Kanovsky]
Name of G-d in pictures versus texts
         [Alan Davidson]
Rambam & Zohar and Zohar Authorship
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Shul and Church in the same building
         [Micha Berger]
         [Jonathan Katz]


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 1995 11:29:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Aliyot - splitting up

Scenario: several Torah readers each know how to read part of one aliyah
(extreme example: rishon [the first aliyah]).  Can they share the
reading? Would a new person need to be called to the Torah each time
they switch? If this is done for any aliyah but the last one, how are
these aliyot called (instead of the usual hamishi, or whatever)? Or
could they just switch readers without any ceremony? Is there any
special problem with the first two aliyot (kohen, levi)?

Practical application: a service where people are just learning how to
read Torah, and want to read very short parts.

Aliza Berger


From: Joe Goldstein <vip0280@...>
Date: Sun, 16 Jul 95 16:03:39 
Subject: Balak & Mashicah

Schild asks for the source of Eliyahu KITOV's statement of the lineage         
of Billam coming from Lavan, Moav etc. The Gemmorah in sanhedrin               
has several different views as to whether Billan is Lavan, or his son.         
(sorry do not remember the Daf.)                                               

Joe Goldstein (EXT 444)                                                        


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 95 11:53:20 EDT
Subject: G-d's name on a screen

> >From: Joseph Steinberg <steinber@...>
> When the name of G-d is not written in order for it to be sanctifies it 
> has NO kedushah. (Or at least so I have been told). So, for example, when 
> the NY Times reprints copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the name Y-H-W-H 
> appears on the front page of the paper -- you can still throw it out. As 
> the NY Times did not print it for any 'holy' purpose...
> Anyone hear differently...

When the Boston Globe printed an illustration from some book with
Hashem's name, Rabbi Gewirtz of the Young Israel of Brookline sent
around a notice requiring people to treat that page with kedusha and to
dispose of it properly.  I would appreciate pointers to an up to date
discussion of the issue, as well as the fundamentals.

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


From: Jerome Parness <parness@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 1995 09:42:01 EDT
Subject: Halachic Wills

	In response to the recent request for information regarding the
preparation of secular wills in accordance with halacha: there is an
English text for the un(?)initiated written by Dayan I. Grunfeld (ZT"L)
called the Jewish Law of Inheritance, Targum Press/Feldheim, 1987, 145
pages (ISBN# 087306-435-6).  It is written in a typically
British/Germanic style and is an excellent text for those interested in
the subject.  It is not difficult reading.


From: Laurie Solomon <0002557272@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 95 16:35 EST
Subject: Judaism and belief in angels

I was having a discussion with some friends in my office and wasn't sure
how to respond.  Does Judaism have the belief that as people die, they
become angels (with or without wings)?

My understanding is that there are intermediary angels that have
specific functions, between Hashem and man or Hashem and nature.  Other
references to angels that I am aware of is when Yaakov fought with the
angel (did he have wings??) who represented Aisav; Moshe Rabeinu is
referred to at some point as an angel; so are the Avos.

The cheruvim in the Beis Hamikdash (may it be re-built soon) are
supposed to be built with wings.

Is the Christian concept of people becoming angels derived from Jewish
concepts or did they miscontrue/misunderstand it, as they have many
other beliefs.

Would appreciate comments, including sources, so I can understand this
better, and so I can discuss it with no-Jewish and non-religious

Laurie Cohen


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Sun, 16 Jul 1995 00:28:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Kaballa and Halacha

On July 7 Eli Turkel quoted me and commented:

> Mordechai Perlman states
> >>  The Gra wrote that there is never any conflict between the Kaballah
> >> and Halacha.  If a contradiction presents itself it is because the
> >> person misunderstands the meaning of one or both of the subjects involved
>     This is hard to believe since in general we do not pasken like Rabbi
> Shimon Bar Yochai against Rabbi Yose or Rabbi Yehuda. So why should the
> Zohar agree with the Shulchan Arukh. Furthermore Magen Avrohom and most
> other commentaries do assume conflicts and discuss what we should do in
> those circumstances. In fact the approach of ashkenazim and sephardim is
> very different with regards to such conflicts.

    The Gra meant LAD"H, that for example,the view of Bais Hillel based
on Kabballah cannot contradict his view based on Nigleh.  We have other
sources of Kabballah other than the Zohar and other Tannaim are
mentioned there.  As such a statement of Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai in the
Gemorah cannot contradict a statement of his in the Zohar.  That is, a
Tanna's view of something in a halachic framework will not differ from
that in a Kabbalistic framework.



From: <KANOVSKY@...> (Mechael Kanovsky)
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 1995 15:40:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Mah Tovu - Author

I was asked by a freind to post this question. Who compiled the verses
said in the "mah tovu" that we say in the begining of shacharit? the only
source that I had the "otzar hatfilot" was unsure. thanks.
mechael kanovsky


From: Alan Davidson <DAVIDSON@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 95 20:20:13 EDT
Subject: Name of G-d in pictures versus texts

It is by no means certain that a photo reproduction of something
originally written with holy inspiration versus text is not geniza.
There was a case in Connecticut in February where the Hartford newspaper
invadvertently published a picture of a page from an Intro. to Hebrew
book in the course of an article on a synagogue's adult Hebrew education
program.  Since this picture contained yud-key vav-key, the Chabad Rabbi
in West Hartford requested all readers to cut it out and send it to him
so he could bury them.


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Sat, 15 Jul 1995 23:42:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Rambam & Zohar and Zohar Authorship

On Thu, 13 Jul 1995, Yisroel Rotman wrote:
> A quick scientific note on the Rambam's knowing the Zohar and using it
> in the first three chapters of "sefer Mada":
> It is not adequate to show that there are phrases common to the two
> sources to prove that the author of one knew the second.  One must show
> (in this case) that the phrases used by the Rambam were not common ones
> from Aristolian philosophy and thus could "only" have come from the
> Zohar.
> Does anyone have any examples of this?

     I can't locate it at the moment but the Rambam brings a halacha
concerning Chalitza and the Vilna Gaon says that there is no source for
this halacha except in the Zohar.  This may be a bad source for the
Rambam's knowledge of Zohar because the Vilna Gaon says that the Rambam
had no knowledge of the study of PARDES.

    On Jul 8 Shalom Carmy wrote:
> In one of his commonplace books Agnon records an encounter between the
> famous Lithuanian-German historian Isaac Halevy and R. Hayyim
> Soloveichik of Brisk.
> Halevy was willing to take an oath on a "Yom Kippur that falls on
> Shabbes" that R. Shimon bar Yohai did not write the Zohar.
> R. Hayyim replied: "It is not necessary for you to swear."

     This answer of Rav Chayim is inconclusive as to waht his opinion is
and besides I don't think that Agnon's stories have any historical truth
to them especially in an important matter such as this one.



From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 1995 14:02:56 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shul and Church in the same building

A local shul is located in a room in a secular preperatory school.  I
found out that the school took in a second tenant, a Mormon
congregation.  The lease began yesterday.

In Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim I) R. Moshe allows remaining in a shul that
had a church move in to a building with an attached wall. But I could
not figure out from the teshuvah (responsum) what he would have held
when the two share the same building.

Does the fact that these are Mormons, who are clearly polytheistic (in a
halachic sense), as opposed to a church with trinitarian doctrine make a
difference in this regard? Avodah Zarah is metamei ba'ohel. (Idolatry
will make anything else under the same roof tamei.)


From: Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...>
Date: Sun, 16 Jul 95 15:13:02 +0300
Subject: Zohar 

In response to the question "what would be so terrible about
acknowledging that the Zohar was written later?" Yaacov-Dovid Shulman

>(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

Hold on here! Are you sure about this? Torah thought is _inconceivable_
without the Zohar?! I beg to differ. First of all, I think there is a
large orthodox Jewish population which (perhaps) accepts that the Zohar
was given to Moses on Har Sinai, but does not use the Zohar at all in
their day-to-day approach of Torah. Furthermore, I think there are also
many orthodox Jews who do _not_ accept divine authorship of the Zohar
and they seem to have no problem with Torah thought. As one poster
pointed out [to paraphrase] "belief in the Zohar is not one of the 13
ikarei emunah (principles of faith)"

A quasi-proof to the fact that the Zohar is not necessary for Torah
thought is the fact that, to the best of my knowledge, no Yeshiva
elementary or high schools (in America) teach Kaballah/Zohar to their
students. If Zohar is essential to a proper understanding of the Torah,
one would think that these schools would at least touch the subject (I
am aware that some believe that Kaballah is not to be learned until old
enough/mature enough, but that does not change the fact that all these
students are progressing in Torah without the use of the Zohar!)

>(2) The gedolim who have accepted the authenticity of the Zohar have
>impeccable intellectual credentials.

I think this line of thought has some serious flaws. For starters, it is
one thing for a gadol to decide halacha, because then we know that
"right" or "wrong" we are supposed to follow what they say. It is an
entirely different matter for a gadol to decide history! If a gadol says
"The US Civil War never took place" are we obliged to listen?!
 Secondly, in my humble opinion, a lot of "later" gedolim have accepted
the authorship of the Zohar a priori, relying on previous gedolim,
instead of looking into the issue themselves. This presents an obvious
 Third, as far as I am aware (correct me if I am wrong) there are
mainstream orthodox rabbis who do not accept divine authorship of the
 Fourth, isn't it at all possible that we today are misreading the words
of the gedolim? Perhaps they felt/feel that the Zohar is valid and
perhaps they felt/feel that it is useful as a tool in helping people
approach Torah/Judaism.  Yet, if asked directly, might they admit that
the Zohar is not divinely written?
 (of course this is all speculation, but on the other hand Mr. Shulman's
argument is that we should accept divine authorship of the Zohar a
priori, even in the face of evidence to the contrary and I am merely
trying to convince him to look at the issue in a more unbiased manner).

>(4) There is the question of providence: would G-d allow the entire
>Jewish people to be misled by a forgery?

Who says that we are all fooled by the Zohar? Some of us are not. :) On
a more serious note, I don't think that this statement is useful in
proving anything. God doesn't fool people, but if they want to fool
themselves, God won't stop them.

My main point is as follows: everyone agrees that the Zohar does not
have the status of the Tanach or Talmud (at least in terms of whether or
not belief in it is a principle of faith or not). Therefore, it is valid
within orthodox Judaism to question the authorship of the Zohar. We
should be open minded toward all evidence which sheds light on its date
of authorship, and not merely accept its divine authorship until proven
(conclusively) otherwise.
 -Jonathan Katz


End of Volume 20 Issue 49