Volume 21 Number 84
                       Produced: Mon Nov  6 23:11:05 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

CNN and Rabin
         [Kenneth Posy]
Rabin's Assasination - rachamana litzlan
         [Matthew Levitt]
The "Jewish" nature of the Rabin Assassination
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Virtual condolence book for Yitzhak Rabin z'l
         [Art Werschulz]


From: Kenneth Posy <kenneth.posy@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 08:59:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: CNN and Rabin

As I have limited access to news information, I used my web browser to
view CNN's Interactive News Page (http://www.cnn.com), which is updated
hourly, to see news about the current events. At the end of each
article, they have links to sites that they feel are related to that

This mornings lead story was about Prime Minister Rabin's (o"h)
murderer.  This person was quoted as saying "Halacha requires us to kill
him; I studied halacha my whole life". But what really struck me about
this article was the link at the end: It was called "hypertext halacha"
and it was to Project Genesis's page about hilchos tzitzis. (About which
the pasuk says: "V'heyisem KEDOSHIM L'Lokeichem" An you will be holy to
your G-d. (translation approximate) IMO, there could be few more
innappropriate links that they could think of.)

I think this clearly illustrates the fact that Mr. Alon has made one of
the biggest chilullei hashem in history. He does not represent halacha
any more than Attila the Hun. And if he could spend five years in
Yeshiva and not pick up the basic fundimentals of "kedoshim t'hiyu";
then in addition to being crazy, he is also dumb.


From: Matthew Levitt <mlevitt@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 12:28:16 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Rabin's Assasination - rachamana litzlan

As both a frum Jew and a Ph.D. student in international relations I'd 
like to offer a few personal comments/answers to Chaim's questions:

On Nov 4, Chaim Wasserman wrote:
> It's just moments after Shabbat Parshat Lech Lecha, moments after the
> unspeakable news about Rabin was announced in shul.
> This incredulous "parasha" brings to mind several questions which
> rightly must be ponders by all, but most of all by those who abide by a
> Torah way of life.
> [1] Are the "yadayim y'day Esav" ever to be used against a Jew no matter
> how misguided he may be?

The implication, as I see it, of "vehayadayim y'day Esav" is that those
"yadayim," that form of behavior, belongs solely to Esav -- NOT to
Yaakov.  We have very strict rules of engagement, if you will.  And to
quote a Rav in my community, "the idiocy of claiming that Rabin was a
Rodef does not even rank as high as apikorsut."  (Someone had said that
to me, in shull, right after we heard on Motzei Shabbat Kodesh.)  Even
worse than the fact that Rabin was killed, is the fact that he was
killed by a Jew -- and apparently a "frum" Jew.  The unanimous belief in
a single "we group," an umbrella identity that came before all our other
disagreements (sephardi v. ashkenaz; dati v. chiloni....), has been
challenged for the first time in a VERY long time.  It is this, and not
the myth of the "yidishe kop" being greater than others that has been
the key to our success as a people, a nation, and a country.

> [2] The repurcussions from secularist and anti-religious segments of all
> Jewish society will be seen for the next half a century if not
> more. What responsibility does that place upon those who are true to
> Torah observance so to act to demonstrate and reinforce the message that
> "deracheha darchay noam" and not unspeakable self-defeating terrorism
> turned against our own selves.

We have a trememdous responsibility!  We, the Frum community, the
shomrei shabbos community, the lomdei torah, we are this madman's
parents!  He's one of us and he's justifying his act in the name of what
we hold so dear!  And there are even those who refuse to condemn his
actions, even if they fall short of making him a hero (as they did
Baruch Goldstein).  My Rabbeim in Yeshiva used to say that if bad things
happened in the world, and certainly if they happened to the Jewish
people, we were to be held partly responsible -- maybe if we had been
learning a little harder, davening with a little more Kavana, we would
have brought the world just enough tikkun to avoid whatever tragedy it
was.  But here we face something even more than just this kind of
philosophical, kabalistic idea.  Here we have to question the teaching
and learning that goes on in our institutions if ANYBODY can claim to be
acting within halacha when they do something like this!  I teach
non-religious 6th graders, and I'm always telling them that if they
forget everything we learn in class the second they leave the school and
take off the kippa, if they fail to incorporate the torah values and
laws into their daily, hourly lives, they have missed the boat.  Alot of
passengers on our cruise-line seem to be missing the boat.  We have
taught to push aside the a unanimously accepted klal ("lo tirtzach,"
Achdut...) in favor of a Prat the is the basis for a tremendous
machloket (political sovereignty)

> [3] We finally learned how to protect ourselves from a world who has
> been killing and plundering Jews for millenia? What will it take to
> protect the Jew from his own self now that he/she is expert in firing
> deadly weapons?

If this trend does in fact continue (that is, if we experience a Purim
style "venahafochu" of the concept of "Kol yisrael arevim ze laze")
we're going to find ourselves at the lowest point in our history.
Fractionalization of the "Am" along religious lines and the concurrent
inability to continue "to protect ourselves from a world who has been
killing and plundering Jews for millenia" -- and don't think they won't
grab the opportunity.  There are still plenty of Sonei Yisrael out there
and without the unity that has always defined the Jewish people we are
sitting ducks.  The assyrians found it all too easy to play Yehuda and
Yisrael against each other....

> [4] Can Jews be trusted with political action? Can "frum" Jews be
> trusted with political activities? Are "frum" Jews suited for political
> action or are they sitting-ducks for extremism by dint of their very
> "frumkeit"?
> If politics would be defined for argument's sake as the "art of the the
> possible" and not stiving for the ideal at all costs, can "frum" Jews,
> at least according to this definition, ever be trusted with any kind of
> political action?

Politics should be defined as the struggle for power.  There are MANY
other definitions, but this is the most commonly used and the easiest to
apply.  Personally, I think we need to strive to create a value of
theocentrism among all Jews and Israelis (go back a read Migdal Bavel
and the immediately juxtaposed Bechira of Avraham Avinu), but not a
theocratic State.  We have a problem in that democracy and tolerance are
all nice a wonderful until they ram right into the traditional belief
that all Jews really should be Yirei Hashem.  We don't believe that
doing anything you want is OK.  But the answer to this contradiction in
terms is social and communal, not political and national (as I see it).
Jews, "even" Frum Jews, certainly have a rightfull place in politics.
Frumkeit does not necesarily breed extremism if we stick to halacha in
the most honest way (no scandals of bribes, no...killing) and we deal
just as honestly in our politics by totally refraining from self-serving
rhetoric (no comparing fellow Jews to Hitler -yemach smo, no interfering
in the smooth operation of national security....)

> [5] There have been other notorious political assassinations in the last
> century. Rav Kook was around and very much involved when the infamous
> Arlozoroff assassination tragically took place. I wonder what Rav Kook,
> zatzal, would be saying today to the media?  Is there anyone who could
> brave extrapolating what he might have said?
> [6] Can Jewish history withstand another G'dalya ben Achikam scene at
> this very tenuos point in our history? How will we heal from this one?
> Surely, another fast date with Selichos can't do it for 90 percent of
> the Jews throughout the world don't hold from fast days and don't begin
> to know what Seilchos are all about!

I can't answer that, but I think I know who might.  I subscribe to the
Virtual Beit Medrash shiurim put out by Yeshivat Har Etzion, and one of
the shiurim is on Rav Kook.  Contact YHE and see if they might be
willing to put you in touch with the maggid shiur (whose name escapes me
at the moment)

[It was in the last mj-announce, actually. Mod.]

> I ask all of these questions with a sense of deep confusion, a feeling
> of numbness and paralysis with every passing moment. These are questions
> I pose to myself without any ax to grind and surely not a
> political/ideological one.  These thoughts are the sole product of
> mournful introspection. I wonder how others feel at this time?

I feel the same numbness.  I surprised myself Motzei Shabbat Kodesh --
all of a sudden I realized I was crying like a baby, unconsolably.
Rachaman Litzlan -- G-d help us if we don't take this tragic
opportunity, no matter what our politics, to embrace the entire Am and
plunge head-first into a campaign of intra-national reconciliation.

Matt Levitt 


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 17:11:16 GMT
Subject: The "Jewish" nature of the Rabin Assassination

Having just shown the funeral service of Yitzchak Rabin, za"l, Israel
television showed an "interview" with the alleged (the word is only used
because of legal requirements!) murderer. The man, who seems to be
neither a psychopath nor in any other way mentally unbalanced, was a
very serious student at the Bar Ilan Kollel (for those unfamiliar with
this, Bar Ilan University has its own Kollel, where students study
Talmud a certain number of hours weekly. They are paid a minimum
stipend, and receive free tuition for the university studies). In any
event, this was a man who was first and foremost concerned with Torah

He was asked why he killed Yitzchak Rabin, and he replied that this is
because anyone who wishes to give back parts of Eretz Israel is worthy
of the death penalty. He was then asked, "How about "Thou shalt not
kill?" and replied that the rule regarding living back the land takes

As we all know, he has shown absolutely no remorse.

Now I have a number of questions:

a) ASSUMING (and this is a major assumption) that one who gives back the
land is worthy of death, where is there any place in Halachah that tells
us that this punishment can be administered by any two-bit punk who can
afford the price of a gun? Whatever happened to the rule that only the
Sanhedrin can administer any such punishment?

b) Who appointed him to be the guardian of Torah morals?

c) More important - throughout my life I have learned that there are
only three areas which take precedence over human life: being pressed to
engage in murder, idolatry, or various sexual crimes. Never have I ever
seen any ruling in any of our Sages that Eretz Israel is another
(fourth?) such category. Indeed, there are two modern-day rabbis who
have propounded this thesis, namely Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook and Rav Shlomo
Goren. Am I missing something when I say that normative Judaism
throughout the millennia has not propounded (and all the more so not
accepted) such a view?

d) If, as I believe I am right, this is a new doctrine, isn't there
something basically, fundamentally wrong with our education, if a new,
radical view such as this can be (i) propounded, and (ii) accepted as
Divine Writ, with enough binding force to permit one to go and kill
another person in cold blood?

e) The "alleged" murderer is a member of Ayal (Irgun Yehudi Lochem - the
Fighting Jewish Organization), an offshoot of Kach. Its ideology is in
many ways the same as Kach. Kach in Israel has been implicated in all
types of illegal and certainly immoral actions. Why is it that Kach
receives money from American Jews? Where are the rabbis? Why shouldn't
members of Kach and supporters of Kach be totally deligitimized? When I
am told by a supporter of Kach in Israel (as I was a few months ago)
that to him Rabin and Hitler are the same thing, and this type of talk
can go on without anyone taking a stand, I ask again - where are the
rabbis? Why aren't these people placed beyond the pale? Are the rabbis
afraid of alienating Shul members? Isn't their job to LEAD??

Are the rabbis waiting for the next (and next, and next ...) victim of

On the other hand - maybe it's too much to expect of the rabbis when at
least one of their own midst (an Orthodox rabbi!) said (as was screened
on Israel TV) that he would be quite happy if Rabin was assassinated!

Who, then, should guide the Torah-true?

I would also like to mention that the unbelievable Chilul Hashem of a
"religious" person killing Rabin has been compounded over and over by
the subsequent behavior of "religious" people. This has included:

(i) An Internet friend from New Zealand (no less!) reported to me that
CNN carried a report of Jews in "ultra-Orthodox" areas of New York
exulting at the news.

(ii) The papers here reported that Moshav Tapuach, a Kach stronghold and
where Kahane's son lives, recited HALLEL (!!!!) today and drank a
L'chaim at news of Rabin's death.

(iii) SOME people in Kiryat Arba were shown on television dancing a jig
in "celebration," while another greeted everyone today with "Chag

Forgive my sharp words, but they come very much from the heart,
especially at this time.

           Shmuel Himelstein
22 Shear Yashuv Street, Jerusalem 97280, Israel
    Phone: 972-2-864712: Fax: 972-2-862041
   EMail address: <himelstein@...>


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 09:39:18 -0500
Subject: Virtual condolence book for Yitzhak Rabin z'l

Hi all.

There is a virtual condolence page for Yitzhak Rabin, which you may
"sign".  The URL is http://www.netking.com.  [The final period only
ended the sentence, not the URL.]

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   
Internet:<agw@...> <a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7061, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


End of Volume 21 Issue 84