Volume 21 Number 35
                       Produced: Tue Aug 29 22:30:47 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Across-the-board [Rabbinic] Endorsement
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
American Jews and Israel
         [Elozor Preil]
Dina Demalchuta and State of Israel
         [Michael J Broyde]
Jewishness of Israeli lands
         [Eli Turkel]
Rackman and returning territories
         [Kenneth Posy]
The Government of the State of Israel
         [Shmuel Himelstein (n)]
The Israeli Army and Shabbat
         [Shmuel Himelstein (n)]


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 1995 12:26:54 -0400
Subject: Across-the-board [Rabbinic] Endorsement

Shmuel Himelstein writes on the Subject: Signatories on First Knesset
Election Poster (MJ21#30):

>It is nevertheless interesting that all these rabbis were willing to
>sign on a joint document of any kind. I recall nothing which can compare
>to this across-the-board endorsement as far back as I can remember.

I know of at least two other issues which united the various camps in
orthodoxy from Rav Kook to RebYosef Haim Zonenfeld of the edah
ha'haredit, namely the suffering of our Jewish brothers under the
Bolshevic dictatorship (1934) (signed by 90 prominent rabbis) and
football games on Shabbat in Israel (1927) (signed by 49 prominent
rabbis). You can see the signed posters in the book titled Min Ha'Makor
by Binyamin Kluger, Jerusalem, 1978 and other years, 4 vol.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil)
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 1995 17:36:40 -0400
Subject: Re: American Jews and Israel

Eli Turkel writes:

> Israel is a sovreign nation
>where Jews are in fact (so far) a majority. I think it is accepted
>world-over that one country does not interfere the affairs of another.
>Italians living in the US do not detrmine whether divorce should be
>legal in Italy etc. Similarly, the Israeli foreign policy will
>ultimately be decided by those living in Israel not Jews living in the

But we are not Italian-Americans (i.e., Americans of Italian descent); we are
American Jews (Jews who happen to live in America).  We are AM  YISRAEL, one
people, one family inextricably bound to one another.  The mitzvah min
hatorah of "lo sa'amod al dam ra'echa" (loosely, do not allow harm to befall
your fellow Jew) applies equally to all Jews, whether they live in America,
Israel, Russia, or anywhere else.  Thus, if we in America honestly and
sincerely believe that actions of the government, even a govewrnment of Jews,
is endangering the lives and welfare of our fellow Jews in Israel, is it not
our OBLIGATION to do whatever we can to save them from harm?


From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 1995 00:36:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Dina Demalchuta and State of Israel

One writer posted:
> If it's the first, I suppose we're
> back to the question of whether the rule of  Dina Demalchuta applies to
> the State of Israel. Of course if you say it doesn't, that has
> > far-reaching ramifications, e.g., having to pay income tax or not.

While the possibility of dena demalchuta not applying to Israel can 
clearly be found in the Ran, I would wager that there is not a single 
published teshuva from an established posek where that approach is 
	  My examination of the teshuvot literature (incomplete that it
is) suggests to me that (and I say this somewhat tongue in check) that
there are more poskim who have published teshuvot asserting that halacha
does not require married women to cover their hair than there are
published teshuvot ruling that dina demalchuta does not apply in the
land of Israel.
	While that might seem to some as outlandish, I have deliberately
chosen such an example as I feel that the sense out there that dena
delamchuta does not apply in Israel is given much more validity by the
popular torah community than can be found amoung the poskim.  
Michael Broyde


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 1995 21:52:10 -0400
Subject: Jewishness of Israeli lands

     I believe that Steve Ganot has a valid point. What determines
whether land is Jewish? 
    The Talmud distinguishes between the first Temple era when the land
of Israel was holy because of conquest. Thus it lost its holiness when
the Babylonians conquered it. In the second Temple era the land was holy
because of "settlement" i.e. the Jews settled with the permission of the
Persian rulers and so the land remains holy even after the destruction
of the second Temple. Is the land that we can not return to nonJews land
that we have gotten by conquest or by settlement? For example, does the
prohibition to return land apply only to Jewish settlements or even to
Arab villages in Yesha?  There is a debate amongst achronim whether the
holiness of the land during second temple days applies only to the land
give to Ezra and Nehemia (i.e. a small piece of land surrounding
Jerusalem) or to all the land conquered by later Hasmonean
kings. According to the opinion that includes land conquered later why
is this called "settlement" land and not "conquest" land?

     IMHO those that do not accept the halachic validity of the
government of Israel can not extend validity to any military conquests
of the Israeli army. Thus, according to this opinion the only question
would involve Israeli settlements. To the best of my knowledge Satmar
has never changed their viewpoint on the prohibition of establishing an
Israeli government.  They feel that all settlements throughout Israel
are illegal. Since all of Israel is illegal I assume there is no problem
in returning Hebron or Tel Aviv.

     I am still a little confused why this debate about returning lands
has only erupted in recent years. Until recently the debate was whether
the "oaths" mentioned in the government still had force. In fact there
is one opinion that the oaths are no longer important because of the
Balfour Declaration ! Thus as Ganot points out without international
sanction Israel may indeed be prohibited from conquering new
lands. During the reign of the Hasmonean kings there was a constant
change in which lands where under Jewish domination. I don't recall any
opinions that if a certain territory was lost than it was required to
immediately fight to get it back. In fact it seems that the rabbinic
community was divided as to the wisdom of all these battles. In Amoraic
times the land of Israel became denuded of its Jewish population because
of the difficult situation, not because of any formal expulsions. Were
the jews of that era guilty of turning over land to the enemy? In the
days of Rav Yosef Karo Safad was a bustling Jewish community. Due to an
earthquake and continuing economic hardships the community basically
disappeared, where there any outcries about letting the Jewish
population disappear?
 To the best of my knowledge the partition of 1947 involved compromises
on both sides and the Jews gave up land that had Jewish populations
e.g. Jerusalem. Were there outcries at that time that one was halachic
forbidden to accept the partition because it involved giving up some
Jewish settlements? (I am interested I personally have no information on
this point) The Brisker Rav implored Ben Gurion not to declare
independence because he felt it would destroy the existing community.
Obviously he did not feel that Jewish sovreignty was very important only
Jewish settlement.


From: Kenneth Posy <kpposy@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 1995 14:34:43 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rackman and returning territories

There were two responses for my critisism of the article of Emmanuel
Rackman on returning territories.

     The first (as I recieved it in private mail, and did not ask
permission, I will not attribute it) interprets Rackman as saying that
his objection is not to the halachic determination as binding, but that
those who reached it did so with inadequate information and expertise to
make such a determination, and therefore must be left to the military
and political officials who have such information.
	Mr. Guberman has a slightly different interpretation. He says
Rackman is simply disagreeing with the psak that the issue of conquering
Israel is relevant, since this is not a halachic government with a king,
high priest, and sanhedrin there is no mitzvah to conquer
Israel. Therefore, the only determination that need be made is for
national security concerns, an area for experts, similar to medical
decisions. (Mr. Guberman says that Mamlak cite R. Feinstein, ztl and
R. Soloveitchik, ztl. Were their psaks specific to this issue, or is
Mamalak making the comparison himself to the issue of consulting experts
on a technical question, which they both mandated?)  I would note that
Rackman's position according to Mr. Mamlak is very similar to the
classic anti-zionist rejection of the state. He basicly seems to be
saying that there is no difference between the status of the Israeli
government today and the government of Egypt that the Rambam was
     I appreciate the clarification. As I said, my emotional reaction
was based on a first impression. It seemed to me that Rackman was
agreeing with the psak, but saying that the halacha had nothing to do
with the situation, and thus could be violated.  I made this mistake
because of such phrases in his quoted article as "my love for halacha
*notwithstanding*..."(emphasis mine) and "my collegues have erred in
opposing the peace process based on the halacha's mandate...", which
could imply that such a mandate exists but is not a legitimate reason
for opposition. What is obiously the correct interpretation is that he
means that there is no such mandate.

Betzalel Posy


From: Shmuel Himelstein (n) <himelstein@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 1995 09:03:48 GMT
Subject: The Government of the State of Israel

In response to Carl Sherer's request for information as to what the
basis is for the authority of the government of the State of Israel, my
reading has come up with four basic rationales, which I hope to develop
somewhat more at length at a later time:

A) The State is a secular democratic one, which claims its own inherent
authority the same way that any other State does. While an individual in
any country may decide that he/she does not accept that State's
authority, the individual will have to contend with the coercive power
of the individual State (as, for example, if the individual decides not
to pay taxes or be drafted into the State's army). Should the individual
decide that he/she cannot accept the State's ruling because it counters
the individual's religious beliefs, the secular authorities will be the
ultimate judges of whether such conduct is punishable under the State's
laws. (An example of the latter in the USA would be a conscientious
objector, who refuses for religious reasons to be drafted.) This
approach was alluded to by Rabbi Eli Turkel in a recent posting.

B) The State government has the status of a Melech (king). Some
questions that must be asked in this regard are whether the government
has the same wide-ranging prerogatives of a king, whether the fact that
a government does not have an absolute majority makes a difference,
whether the presence of Arab votes in the formation of such a majority
would make a difference, etc.

C) The rule of Dina D'malchuta Dina (the law of the kingdom - i.e.,
government - is binding) applies to legislation of the Knesset. While
both Rambam and Shulchan Aruch accept this rule unequivocally for any
government in any place, Ran categorically rejects it in regard to a
Jewish government inside Eretz Israel.

D) Takkanat HaKahal (the Regulations of the Community). There is no
doubt that every Jewish community has the right to enact its own
Takkanot, within various guidelines. There are various rabbinic
authorities who extend this proviso to include legislation by the

For those wishing to go into this on their own, I have located the
following sources as being germane: HaTorah vehaMedinah (1949-1963);
Tehumin (1981-); Menachem Elon, The Principles of Jewish Law (Keter,
1974); Rav Yitzchak Aizik Herzog, HaHukah LeYisrael al-pi HaTorah (3
volumes, Mossad Harav Kook, 1989).

         Shmuel Himelstein
22 Shear Yashuv Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Phone: 972-2-864712; Fax: 972-2-862041
<himelstein@...> (JerOne, not Jer-L)


From: Shmuel Himelstein (n) <himelstein@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 1995 08:17:39 GMT
Subject: The Israeli Army and Shabbat

This morning's (Monday, August 28) Israeli radio news carried the 
following item:

After a formal complaint by MK Shaul Yahalom (Mafdal) that religious
soldiers had been deliberately forced by their commanding officer to be
Mechalel Shabbat (including being forced to sign their names on Shabbat
or go to jail - "You're soldiers first and then religious" was the way
their commanding officer put it - and constructing an "essential" road
block which was totally unnecessary), the commanding officer was
punished for his actions. I didn't hear if it was only a "Nezifah"
("rebuke" - an entry into the officer's permanent record) or more than
that. Similarly, the chain of command above that officer was also
brought to task. Prime Minister Rabin, in his capacity as defense
minister, also ordered the entire army to review the rules governing
what may and may not be assigned on Shabbat.

         Shmuel Himelstein
22 Shear Yashuv Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Phone: 972-2-864712; Fax: 972-2-862041
<himelstein@...> (JerOne, not Jer-L)


End of Volume 21 Issue 35