Volume 20 Number 76
                       Produced: Sun Jul 30 20:37:43 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Experts on the Present Peace Process, etc.
         [Shmuel Himelstein (n)]
Guarding Mechallie Shabbat
         [Zvi Weiss]
Making Peace
         [David Super]
More on Army Bases
         [Carl Sherer]
Pikuah Nefesh & Pluralism
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Religious Zionism Article in Jerusalem Report
         [Arnold Lustiger]


From: Shmuel Himelstein (n) <himelstein@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Jul 1995 05:11:17 GMT
Subject: Experts on the Present Peace Process, etc.

["Experts" in the Peace Process; Chaim Herzog's comments; Reply to 

Zvi Weiss notes that "for the p'sak of Rav Amital to be fully cogent, it
seems that he has to deal with the 'how' and 'who' do we consult in
order to obtain the 'expert' consultation needed in determining Pikuach

To me, it would seem logical that, as many experts as the rabbis of
Yesha may have relied upon, they could not possibly have received the
total input that the government received - military intelligence, line
officers, etc. I find it almost presumptuous on their part to decide
that they have enough "inside information" to be able to issued a P'sak
of such gravity based on the limited information they received
(certainly "limited" in comparison to that available to the government).

I would also like to note that Chaim Herzog, the former president of
Israel, had an article on the topic in the latest Jerusalem Report
(August 10, 1995). Two points of his are worth noting:

a) Having been involved with many Gedolim in his life, with his father
as the Chief Rabbi, he mentions that when the partition discussions of
the 1930s took place, Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, one of the greatest
Gedolim of the interwar era, ruled that "the Torah does not forbid
agreeing to divide the country." (I realize that there are differences
in the circumstances - then we didn't own the land yet, and, of course,
the question now is whether it is greater Pikuach Nefesh to retain the
land than to return it). According to Chaim Herzog, this view was also
agreed to by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan and Rabbi
Yehudah Maimon (Fishman), all among the greatest proponents of religious
Zionism of that time. (This certainly seems very out-of-synch with Rabbi
Zvi Yehudah Kook's views of "not an inch".)

b) Herzog claims that the P'sak of Rabbanei Yesha (who obviously live in
Yesha or have strong ties to it), that one must refuse orders to
evacuate army bases or civilian settlements, seems to have been colored
by their own personal perspective - of their perception of the effects
of the IDF's withdrawal from land in Judea and Samaria - while possibly
overlooking the overall effect of such a withdrawal on the people of the
State of Israel as a whole. This is obviously not meant to imply that
those living in Judea and Samaria may be abandoned, Chas Ve'shalom. To
quote Herzog, "I cannot avoid the feeling I've had in the past that such
decisions reflect a selective, partisan perspective that does not take
fully into account the needs of the entire public and the good of the

Finally, I would like to comment on Adina and Carl Sherer's statement,
which they very thoughtfully sent to me directly as well, about Rabbi
Lau's not looking comfortable on TV in discussing the P'sak. I watched
him as well, and agree that he was not too comfortable - BUT that was
not the issue at hand. The issue at hand is that he was NOT asked by the
same Mafdal people who have always insisted on the supremacy of the
Chief Rabbinate, and that, indeed, looks suspiciously like

         Shmuel Himelstein
Phone: 972-2-864712; Fax: 972-2-862041
<himelstein@...> (JerOne, not Jer-L)


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 1995 21:10:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Guarding Mechallie Shabbat

Mr. Friedman questioned Carl's Sherer's cormulation of Pikuach Nefesh in 
terms of being Mechalel Shabbat when the Politician is *choosing* to 
*gratuitously* be Mechalel Shabbat.  He raises the objections that the 
Political Leader STILL needs protection even when being Mechalel Shabbat 
and that this sends a terrible message to everyone else if there is a 
refusal to be mechalel Shabbat under such circumstances.
It seems that he has not fully explored the points that he raised.

1. There is a general question about being Mechalel Shabbat for someone
who is mechalel Shabbat and thus "gets him/her self into trouble".  This
is a rather interesting halachic question (that I believe Rabbi Broyde
has commented upon in the past) and should not be raised as such an
obvious "given" -- although it may very well be that there is an
obligation for us to be mechalel Shabbat even when people deliberately
put themselves into Sfek Pikuach Nefesh situations by gratutitous
Chillul Shabbat.

2. A more important point is in terms of the impression that this makes 
upon the rest of the Non-Frum community.  A Political Leader is supposed 
to represent the entire population even those who do not vote for 
him/her.  To gratuitously force someone else to violate his/her religious 
strictures represents a major degree of insensitivity.  Why does Mr. 
Friedman not look at THAT aspect.  After all, soldiers are not sent out 
to guard every single Israeli who is driving somewhere on Shabbat -- they 
are sent out to guard this person BECAUSE he is a LEADER who represents 
the COUNTRY.  As a private person, there is no call to be mechallel 
Shabbat and as a Public Person, I do not understand why it is not a 
legitimate request to state that one does not wish to compromise one's 
religious beliefs simply because the Leader wants to go for a swim.
All too often, we are told (quite correctly, I think) that we must pay 
attention to the impression that we make so that we do not come off as 
being selfish and uncaring about anyone except ourselves.  However, there 
is an equal matter that the non-observant population can and should be 
sensitized to the fact that frum people DO have deeply held beliefs and 
these deserve to be respected, as well.  In short, the issue is NOT that 
I want the Non-Frum Leader to keep halacha (although I think that would 
be great), the issue is that I expect the non-Frum Leader to put his 
sensitivity to the constituents BEFORE his own personal pleasure.



From: David Super <dsup@...>
Date: Sat, 29 Jul 95 23:31:50 +1000
Subject: Making Peace

In mj 20#74:  Arnie Kuzmack <kuzmack@...> writes:
>>Yechezkal-Shimon Gutfreund writes:
>> Shulchan Orech states that a border town, when under attack, threat of
>> attack, or even stam minor harrasment (not even physical harrasment) -
>> and the enemy says that it will stop this harrasment, and all the enemy
>> asks for is a verbal peace agreement, not even any physical concessions
>> - even in such a case it is ossur to make an agreement with that enemy.

>I don't understand this.  There must be something assumed or unstated.
>This would seem to imply that one is forbidden to ever make peace with
>an enemy.  That can't be right.

and in the same issue  Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...> writes:

>....  I am asking again for sources which state under what circumstances it
>is "forbidden" to make a verbal peace agreement. If in fact no source 
>exists, please let us know.  

It seems to me that there is a misunderstanding here.  I believe that
Yechezkal-Shimon Gutfreund is referring to Shulchan Oruch O. CH. 329:6
There the Shulchan Oruch refers to gentiles that are laying siege
(nochrim she'tsoru) to a Jewish Town (not necessarily in Eretz Yisroel,
see Eruvin 45a).  If the town is close to the border, then even if their
intention is only to cause financial damage, one is obligated to fight
them even on Shabbos lest they conquer the city, after which it will be
easier for them to conquer the rest of the country.

IMHO this does not mean we are forbidden to make a peace agreement with
them.  It does mean however, that we are forbidden to yield to them,
giving them control of the city.  In other words, if they would agree to
cease threatening the city, we would have no problem with a peace
agreement.  However a peace agreement in which the city was given to
them would be prohibited. The reason being because from that position
"...the land would be easier for them to conquer"

Those who understand this halocha to apply to the present situation in
Eretz Yisroel deduce that a peace agreement based on a withdrawal from
cities critical to security is considered by halocha as giving rise to a
life-threatening situation and is therefore forbidden.

Dovid Super


From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 95 0:06:40 IDT
Subject: More on Army Bases

Betzalel Posy asks for two further elucidations regarding my posts on
abandonning bases.  The first relates to the technical details of the
psak itself.  He asks where the Rambam (Maimonides) made the statement
attributed to him in the Psak.  Well, I'm not sure he did, but I think
that the typographical error occurred on ml-jewish and not in the psak
itself.  I believe that the Psak quoted the Ramban (Nachmonides) and you
will find the statement in his Hasagot (objections) to the Rambam's
Sefer Hamitzvot in the fourth positive commandment "left out" by the
Rambam.  There is also similar langauge in the Ramban's commentary on
this past week's Parsha at Bamidbar 33:53.

The second clarification he asked for was what I meant by the status
quo.  I did *not* mean a government decision - to my mind the status quo
is changed only by actions and not by government decisions.  What I
meant by the status quo is that the bases and the people who live in
Judea and Sammaria (and the Golan and Gaza) stay where they are *at
least* until there has been a sufficient opportunity to become convinced
of the other side's peaceful intentions and to gain some degree of
confidence that lives will actually be saved by withdrawing from these

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


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Jul 1995 14:43:17 +0000
Subject: Pikuah Nefesh & Pluralism

Richard Friedman, in response to Carl Sherer's proposed standard for
when it is permissable for a soldier to desecrate the Sabbath for
guarding a leader, finds it "perturbing" that Carl suggests that this
should not be permitted when the leader is desecrating the Sabbath when
it is not permitted by halakha, e.g, driving to the beach.

Although I agree with Richard that this "deserves closer scrutiny", I
think Carl may be right on the mark.  It is a known halakha that someone
who desecrates the Sabbath in public (not in a case where it is
permitted by halakha) is considered an "apikores".  For certain issues
(e.g. speaking "lashon harah" [speaking badly about the person]), the
apikores is not considered a Jew (I am not suggesting that it is a good
idea to speak lashon harah about non-Jews or even apikoresim, but it is
not actually prohibited from the point of view of God's becoming angry
about downing one of his Chosen; it may have other implications as far
as causing damages).  Similarly, it may be the case (yes, it "deserves
closer scrutiny") that one may not be permitted to desecrate the Sabbath
for an apikores.

Lon Eisenberg   Motorola Israel, Ltd.  Phone:+972 3 5659578 Fax:+972 3 5658205


From: <alustig@...> (Arnold Lustiger)
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 1995 09:48:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Religious Zionism Article in Jerusalem Report

Once in a while an article or piece of information comes to light that
changes one's perspective. Although most articles dealing with Orthodoxy
in the bi-weekly Jerusalem Report are clearly anti-religious, a recent
cover story was in fact written objectively, and brings to light a
possible new trend among the religious Zionist community.

Titled "Torn between G-d and Country", the article goes beyond
discussing the recent halakhic ruling against evacuating army bases to
the overall climate in the religious Zionist [I'll use RZ for brevity]
community in Israel. The thesis of the author is that with the present
government in Israel, the RZ community feels itself "besieged and
marginalized". The ruling against base evacuation "...reflects not just
a political but theological crisis for RZ ...Unlike Ultra Orthodoxy
 ...RZ has invested spiritual significance in the secular state as
harbinger of the messianic era. But now Religious Zionists must decide
whether to obey a secular authority...seen violating that messianic

The article continues to state that the RZ - Medina alienation is so
great that RZ is now being transformed into a kind of ultra- Orthodoxy
by repudiating the religious value of Jewish sovereignty. Most telling
along these lines is a popular radio program by Adir Zik on Arutz 7, the
unofficial radio station of RZ. In a lengthy quote from the radio
program, Zik states:

" This gov't has decided that people like me...who fought and bled and
died for this country, are enemies of the state. You want to make me an
enemy?  Then to hell with you. The ultra Orthodox were right...anything
not built on Torah won't last. We religious Zionists worshipped idols: a
state, an army.  All lies. I beat by breast in penitence. It's over,
finished. If my youngest son wants to learn in a Yeshiva instead of
entering the army I'll say "great". Today my partners are the ultra
orthodox. My children and their grandchildren will meet in shul. Rabin's
grandchildren won't know what a shul is."

According to the Report, Zik might be Arutz 7's most popular
broadcaster, and describes how was besieged by autograph seekers at a
haredi wedding for verifying what the haredim were saying all along.

The writer of the article then provides proof in the opposite direction:
that Modern Orthodox Jews have never been better integrated in Israeli
life, and that many are no more passionately ideological than other
Israelis. This part of the article is less convincing, since outside of
Meimad, there does not seem to be an organized RZ constituency that is
not profoundly alienated by the peace process.

The reason that I bring up this article is to solicit opinions. I am
sure that the bulk of mail.jewish readers in Israel who identify with
religious Zionism have read the article, and are at least as well
informed as the author.  Is the thesis correct? Is this sea change
actually taking place?  Will the "tefila lishlom hamedina" go the way of
the prayer on behalf of the Czar?

Arnie Lustiger


End of Volume 20 Issue 76