Volume 22 Number 04
                       Produced: Wed Nov 15 22:58:28 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Boundaries of discourse
         [Joshua W. Burton]
Burial Service for Rabin
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Circumstances of an individual's death (2)
         [Alana Suskin, Avi Feldblum]
How rabbis were misinterpreted
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Life and Death
         [Rena Freedenberg]
Torah Jews
         [Edwin Frankel]
Torah Judaism and Yigal Amir
         [Kenneth Posy]


From: Joshua W. Burton <jburton@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 95 00:07:26 -0600
Subject: Boundaries of discourse

Mr. Schild writes, in response to Mr. Steinberg's post expressing horror
at celebrations of Rabin's murder....

> Mr. Steinberg's post and others like it do not belong on this list.

I certainly didn't find them out of line.  I think Avi's doing a fair job
of holding the line where it belongs, in accordance with the recently
reposted list guidelines.  But this nod of support is not the point of
my response.  Mr. Schild goes on to say:

> If people want to discuss whether halacha permits Rabin's murder,
> fine....If they want to know how severe an aveira, Rabin committed
> by giving away land that HaShem gave us and that the AVRAHAM AVINU
> bought a grave in to bury his wife, please go ahead.

I suppose in some abstract sense I agree:  anything that serves to
delimit the parameters of halakha is fair game for this list, and we
have certainly let the discussions range into weird territory in the
past.  BUT...we are only human, and there is a limit to our ability
to be dan l'khaf zahut [giving the benefit of the doubt?] when the
pain of the moment is still throbbing red behind our eyeballs.

If `people' want to discuss, l'shem shamayim [in the name of heaven],
whether halakha permits denying the Holocaust occurred, or murdering
the Prime Minister of Israel, or exposing Jewish babies on a rock to
die, _please_ let them do it with an audience whose stomachs are
stronger than mine.  The Torah is a rock of truth, and sometimes it
is good to turn a rock over and study its underside.  But sometimes
we just need to hold onto it tightly, blindly, firm and right-side up,
as the only thing that keeps us from being swept away on a bitter tide.

Now is not the time for this.  Thank you for being patient.

                  _._ _  _ ___ _ ___    _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _    _  _ _ _ _._ ___ _ 
Joshua W. Burton   | |( ' )   |.| . |   ( ' ) | | | | | |    \  )( (  ) |   | |
(708)677-3902      | | )_/    | |___|_   )_/   /|_|   | |   __)/  \_)/  ||  |  
<jburton@...>    |                           ..      .      -    `.         :


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 1995 14:56:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Burial Service for Rabin

	I have seen many comments regarding the absence of observance of
customs at the funeral and others' explanations.  One explanation was
that most things done at funerals are only custom.  This may be a
satisfactory explanation for a funeral conducted in a place like the
city I live in, Toronto, where there are many diverse custom systems and
each one practises his own.  However, in Yerusholayim, there appears to
be a consensus of certain customs which are followed by everybody and
for everybody.  For instance, none of our g'dolim were ever buried more
than 24 hours after their death if they died in Yerusholayim.  Now, Rav
Moshe Feinstein was buried more than 24 hours after his p'tira (death)
but his body was not kept in Yerusholayim for more than 24 hours or even
overnight.  So, the importance of the person to the people, and their
duty of honour towards him, should not have dictated the veering from
the custom.
	I have another observation also, therefore.  There is a well
known custom in Yerusholayim that the children of the deceased do not
accompany the coffin or mita to the gravesite.  I do not want to go into
the reason behind this city-wide Jerusalem custom, other than to say
that it is for the benefit of the deceased that it is followed.  Why was
this custom not observed?

			Mordechai Perlman


From: Alana Suskin <alanacat@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 10:10:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Circumstances of an individual's death

I wanted to respond to the suggestion that we can learn something about  
a person's life from the way they died.

The post suggests that we can note that if a person dies painlessly, for 
example, we should wonder what they did in life to deserve this honor. 
The suggestion that a person's death might be based on his or her deeds 
comes dangerously close (if it doesn't actually cross the line) to 
something called "blaming the victim". It is _extremely_ important  _not_ 
to confuse a person's death with their life, or to look for the 
motivation of the means of their death in their life. WHile there may be 
some situations that merit such as approach ("He who lives by the sword 
shall die by the sword" sort of thing) I wish to point out that generally 
applying this notion has horrific consequences in societal thought 
about the deaths of victims of criminal acts. Particularly what disturbs 
me is the possibility that a woman who was raped and murdered could then 
have her life examined, and it would be asked, what did she do in life to 
deserve such a horrific and painful end? This has gone on in the past, 
and it would be quite horrible that this be suggested as a legitimate 
response to a person's death. No one deserves to be raped and murdered, 
no matter what they do. Those who are vicitms of crimes are just that. 
Victims. They did not bring on their own fate. I hope you'll excuse the 
garbeldness of this post, but I find this idea extremely agitating.

Alana Suskin,
Mitnaggedet Mama

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 1995 22:54:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Circumstances of an individual's death

Alana Suskin writes:
> I wanted to respond to the suggestion that we can learn something about  
> a person's life from the way they died.
> ...
> No one deserves to be raped and murdered, 
> no matter what they do. Those who are vicitms of crimes are just that. 
> Victims. They did not bring on their own fate. I hope you'll excuse the 
> garbeldness of this post, but I find this idea extremely agitating.

While I agree that it is inappropriate for one to try and make any
statement about the life of a person based on the way they died, at the
same time, I have difficulty with the concept of saying that there is no
connection between what happens to a person and the person's prior life
and actions. This is not an issue of "blaming the victom" but rather an
issue of Divine Providence. The problem is how to simultaneously accept
Divine Providence and free will. I believe this is a philosophic issue
of long standing, and not likely to be easily resolved. Thus I remain in
a state where I believe there is some corrolation between what happens
and what HaShem wills, but I cannot ascertain what that corrolation is,
and as such free will appears to rule.



From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 1995 05:34:14 GMT
Subject: How rabbis were misinterpreted

First, I would like to thank Steven White for his submission on the
Rabin Assassination (V21N98), which I think is an excellent elaboration
on how Halachah was perverted to enable an Amir to think what he was
doing was a Mitzvah.

As some of you may know, Rav Bin Nun has been very much in the news the
past few days, after he alleged that a number of Rabbanim of Yesha had -
possibly unwittingly - prepared the Halachic groundwork for the

The one person singled out by him was Rav Nachum Rabinowich of Ma'aleh
Adumim, and the national TV news program played an old interview with
the latter in which he stated that anyone who gives away Jewish property
"mitchayev benafsho" (i.e., is guilty of a capital offense).  During the
news program, Rav Rabinovich called in and elaborated as follows: He had
said that IF one believes that what he is doing in handing over Jewish
property is for the good of the Jewish people (i.e., Rabin), then what
he does is a Mitzvah for him; however if the one who does so does not
think it is good for the Jewish people, then it is an Aveirah for him -
one for which he is Mitchayev benafsho. It is thus clear (to me at
least) how a statement like that can be twisted into having the second
part operative and totally ignoring the first.

It's a sad time for us in Israel, where one almost feels that wearing a
kippah is something to be embarrassed about or to apologize for when
meeting Chilonim. (Of course, some Chilonim have already stereotyped all
of us, such as a case reported where a bus driver refused to permit a
Frum person to enter his bus!)

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


From: Rena Freedenberg <free@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 15:55:59 +0200 (EET)
Subject: Life and Death

I want to respond to Stan's post about death reflecting life.  There
were several different issues that you mention, the first of which is
the circumstances of death.  He mentioned the deaths of both Moshe
Rabbeinu and Rabbi Akiva and contrasted them with the death of Yitzchak
Rabin.  I just wanted to offer a word of clarification.  When Hashem
wishes to fully reward a Tzaddik, we are taught that he causes that
person to experience pain or trouble to expiate any possible sin in this
world so as to be able to fully reward them in the World to Come.  Thus,
the torture and death of Rabbi Akiva (as well as numerous other Gedolim
throughout our history) can be seen as Hashem's chesed to those that
love him.  On the other hand, Hashem rewards the wicked in this world so
as not to leave them any merits for which to be rewarded in the World to
Come; thus they may receive the full measure of their punishment in the
World to Come.

> This person died relatively quickly and thus, likely, relatively
> painlessly.  What trait of this person's character, what action in his
> lifetime, merited that?  To me it seems a special honor.  It was not
> accorded to R. Akiva, for example.

As I have stated above, this does not seem to be an honor, necessarily.
However, no one is able to know the thoughts of Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu, so
no one can say exactly whether someone repented the second before his
death or how this person is regarded by Hashem.

> A further comment: When I have in the past attempted to discuss what I
> describe as the glassy eyed look of many young yeshiva students (that I
> have seen on the streets of Jerusalem and N.Y.), I have been strongly

On this issue, I have no idea what on earth you are talking about; to be
a (successful) Yeshiva student, one must be the opposite of
"glassy-eyed."  Yeshiva encourages critical thinking and learned

> a student?  (...In grade school? In high school? In college?)  Isn't it
> obvious that a hurt mind can interpret high teachings in a hurtful way?
> Why do we, why does any school, why does any rabbi permit this?  Why
> does it appear to be so common and so unnoticed?

I don't think that ANY Rabbi "permits" his shiur to be misinterpreted,
but we all know that when a person wishes to do an aveirah (sin), his
yaitzer hara can give him many justifications for his actions.

Rena Freedenberg


From: <frankele@...> (Edwin Frankel)
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 20:06:41 -0100
Subject: Torah Jews

>From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
>        Are there any Torah Jews who are in favour of the land giving?
>My question is addressed to them.

With all due respect, I have trouble with the question.  What precisely
is a Torah Jew?  Am I not one, I believe in halacha, and have been
raised to be frum from birth, and yet I don't count myself as Orthodox,
even if my level of observance is on par with that of most Orthodox whom
I have met.

Or is a Torah Jew a fundamentalist?  I'm not sure that Orthodoxy and
fundamentalism are synonymous.

Or is a Torah Jew one who believes in Revelation at Sinai, and sees the
Torah as the basic written record ofthe covenant with the Almighty, and
that the Torah cannot be understood without the Oral Torah that
accompanied it?

I am not trying to be picky.  I am fully bound to the concepts of
shmirat mitzvot.  I am also committed to doing my most to upgrade the
concern that all Jews have for klal yisrael.

I believe, especailly in the aftermath of recent tragic events, that
using Torah as an adjective is divisive and in many ways sanctimonious.

I thought more of this list.

Ed Frankel


From: Kenneth Posy <kenneth.posy@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 1995 10:10:45 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Torah Judaism and Yigal Amir

Mr. Kimelman writes:
>Lesson 2: Shulamit Aloni, Yossi Sarid et al have for years been calling
>for an end to Torah-Judaism, and I had never taken them seriously.  I
>suppose that now I should.

This is a non-sequitor. I assume it does not mean what it says. I thought 
that the premise of this list was "Torah-Judaism" was a good thing. 
Amir's action had nothing to do with "Torah-Judaism". Rather than an end 
to Torah judaism, we require its reaffirmation.

Mr. Ceder writes:
>While I have absolutely no intention of entering the fray about whether
>the status of a rodef applied to Mr. Rabin, it is quite clear that Yigal
>Amir, once he had been apprehended, no longer had the status of rodef in
>anybody's book. Does that mean that it is halachically forbidden to
>denounce Amir in the gentile press?

I respectfully submit, aside from the issue of mitigating chillul
Hashem, that Amir definitely still constitutes a significant danger to
the Jewish community. If we meet his action with silence, "I can't say
bad things about a fellow Jew", we contribute to an impression that we
condone or sympathize with his actions. This would lead directly to
serious negative spiritual, material, and probably physical
consequences. Agreeing, that I would not get into the question of
whether Rabin was a rodef (I have better things to do than deal with a
silly argument like that), this gives Amir at minimum the status of
mazik, or because of dina d'garmi, and we have the requirement to limit
his damage by repudiating him.

May G-d have mercy on his soul: But we can't afford to.

Betzalel Posy  


End of Volume 22 Issue 4