Volume 22 Number 13
                       Produced: Tue Nov 21 22:07:03 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Forgiving, Removing the Evil Decree
         [Steve White]
Persecution complex?
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Rabin Assassination and Pulsa Denura
         [Cheryl Hall]
Shem Resha'im Yirkav
         [Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer]
         [Zvi Weiss]
Yigal Amir's title
         [Mordechai Perlman]


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 1995 23:48:43 -0500
Subject: Forgiving, Removing the Evil Decree

In MJ21#95 our moderator graciously defended a previous posting of mine by

>So too, there are various levels of forgiveness between man and his
>fellow man. First, where one no longer feels that the other need do
>something to atone for his action against the other. Next would be where
>he no longer feels anger or hurt due to the action. The highest level is
>where it truely is as if the action had never occurred. I think this
>last level is very hard for any human being to achieve without the help
>of a special Chesed from HaShem to help in this.

I'd like to add a point which Avi Feldblum, Aaron Israel, Justin
Hornstein, and other members of Congregation Ahavas Achim's Hashkama
Minyan helped me understand with respect to a text question first
brought up on Yom Kippur by Mr. Stan Siegel of Potomac, MD:

Why do we say in the U'ntane Tokef "U'teshuva u'tefila u'tzeda ma'avirin
et ro'a ha'gezera"?  (That is, "Repentance, prayer and tzedaka [ok,
money, per pshat, but this could be interpreted more broadly] cause the
evil of the decree to pass by.")  After all, there are many ways we
could have said this (and do say it in some other parts of the
davening): tear up the decree (as in Avinu Malkenu: k'ra ro'a g'zar
dinenu), annul the decree (language of bitul), or even cause the decree
of evil to pass by (ma'avirin et g'zera hara'a).

It turns out that the hiph'il (causative) form of (ayin, bet, resh) is
not so common in Tanakh -- in fact, one of its few appearances is in
Megillat Esther, chapter 8, when Esther petitions Ahashveirosh to recall
the letters Haman sent out against the Jews.  The language used at first
is very instructive (v.3):
 "Esther spoke to the king again, falling at his feet and weeping, and
beseeching him (vatit'hanen lo) L'HA'AVIR (to avert?) the evil of Haman
the Aggagi against the Jews."  Why does she use this language?  Because
that's all she really expects to accomplish.  It's true that once the
king extends the sceptre to her, she asks in v. 5 for the king to
countermand (l'hashiv) Haman's letters.  There's no harm in asking, and
perhaps the king will show that special hesed Avi mentioned.  But one
suspects that given that neither she nor Mordechai are naive about
politics at court, they know what the answer will be (v.8): "...an edict
that has been written (nichtav) in the king's name and sealed (nahtom)
with the king's ring may not be revoked."

And in a sense, even though that seemed extreme to us hearing the story
as children, it makes sense.  Once the evil is loosed on the world, a
mere pronouncement is not enough to stop it.  (This is recognized far
beyond Judiasm: the Greek version of this is Pandora, the Arabian
version the djin.)  Ahashverosh can give us the wherewithal to defend
ourselves, but he cannot recall the prejudice which started things in
the first place.

So, too, an assumption that "forgiveness" is like assuming it never
happened is only true if all the effects are completely gone.  If
they're not, one cannot reach that final level.

HaShem doesn't even do the special act of Hesed Avi cited above more
often because actions in this world have ripple effects (such as the
"ripple effect of Chilul HaShem" I've mentioned a few times recently)
that aren't so easy to clear out.  It's no coincidence that the language
used in v.8 above (nichtav/nahtom) is the same as we use on the Yamim
Nora'im (High Holidays): Just because HaShem forgives us on Yom Kippur
doesn't mean that the process of teshuva doesn't go on from there, that
there still isn't external or internal rectification that doesn't need
to take place.

And even if HaShem does his special Tahara every Yom Kippur with respect
to "Ben Adam l'Makom" (mitzvot between man and G-d), as soon as they
have the slightest aspect of being "Ben Adam l'havero" (between man and
man) -- even between a person and himself/herself -- one's actions
cannot be cleaned up so easily.  By being "Ma'avir et ro'a hagezera,"
HaShem is causing the worst of the consequences to escape us, but
nevertheless puts us on notice that it's still our responsibility to
clean up the mess after our own sins.  The decree continues to stand,
but if we are truly penitent, HaShem is MA'AVIR the worst of it -- makes
it go past us without great harm, and allows us to continue to continue
the act of repentence.

May we continue to focus on doing teshuva gemura.
Steve White

PS -- my thanks to Mordechai Perlman for reminding us all very eloquently
what these "codes" mean -- and don't mean.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 1995 10:58:07 GMT
Subject: Persecution complex?

In V22N02, Mordechai Perlman writes: "There have been systematic efforts
to tear out Yiddishkeit by its very roots in Israel and sometimes there
is a straw that breaks the camel's back."

I wonder what Mr. Perlman's source for this allegation is. To me, it
sounds like nothing less than a total denial of reality. Let me list but
a few facts (of very many) that would tend to refute this allegation:

a) Possibly never in Jewish history have so many men been learning in
Yeshivot and Kollelim, a very large percentage of which receive money
from the government. Kollel Yunge Leit receive monthly stipends which
are funded to a large extent by the government.

b) The lion's share of the cost of building most Shuls and Mikva'ot is
from funding supplied by the Ministry of Religions (this isn't always
good. In America, when people need a Shul they make plans to fund
building. In Israel, if funds are not available from the ministry,
people tend to think that they can't do it on their own - so that
nothing is done.)

c) Elementary and high school education in religious schools is funded
by the government the same way it funds non-religious schools. Would
anyone like to contrast this with costs of a Jewish education in the
United States? Incidentally, the law that requires only religious
teachers in the State Religious schools means that thousands and
thousands of religious people are employed - a goodly number of the
women in these schools coming from the Haredi ("ultra-Orthodox") ranks.

d) The salaries of rabbis of towns, as well as costs of the religious
councils of every town in Israel, are government-funded.

e) Dayanim in the Batei Din are paid the same salaries that judges
(among the highest-paid employees in the State) are paid. Judges of the
Supreme Beit Din are paid the same salaries and have the same perks as
Supreme Court justices.

f) Even with all the violations that are present, the fact is that
Shabbat is still the official day of rest. It is illegal to import
non-kosher meat into the country. Soldiers' religious needs must be met,
etc., etc.

I don't know where Mr. Perlman lives, but I really find it hard to
fathom his comments about the state of religious Jews in Israel. On the
contrary, I think religious Jews in Israel have the best conditions in
the world for living a full Jewish life today.

Further, Mr. Perlman writes: "Yes, it's G-d's business how to pay him
(i.e., Mr. Rabin - SH) back, but it's our business also to pay attention
to how we feel about such a person.  It's not only that incident, it's
the entire person.  His anti-Torah attitude (the government he led and
the cabinet members he chose, formed the most anti-Torah government that
we've seen in decades)..."  <End quote>

Methinks Mr. Perlman has a short memory. In 1992, when Rabin was forming
his coalition, the National Religious Party was invited to join it (and,
as some may recall, the religious Shas party did indeed join it). The
NRP, though, declined to do so, thus leaving the left-wing Meretz, with
12 seats, in a position to carry a tremendous deal of weight in the
government. Had the NRP (6 seats), Shas(6 seats) and the United Torah
Party (4 seats) entered the government and served as a counterpoint to
Meretz, we might have been in a much better position in this
regard. Indeed, had any other religious party joined the government,
Shas probably would not have bolted, overcome by a sense of isolation.

Furthermore, had the NRP been in the government, it might have even
served to restrain the government in terms of the settlements, etc. By
staying out of the government for a full term for the first time in
Israel's history , it effectively cut off any sources of influence it
might have had.

Unfortunately, as a fact of political life, "them as is closest to the
trough gets first pick of the feed."

I would respectfully suggest that Mr. Perlman rethink his allegations
about this particular government.

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


From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 1995 01:15:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rabin Assassination and Pulsa Denura

> From: Max Shenker <shenker@...>
> The author mockingly states that Rabin should be dead sometime 
> in the begining of November.  The article made its rounds through the 
> yeshivas the day after the murder and gave everyone a good chill, but the 
> consensus among the rebeim at my yeshiva (some of whom know what they are 
> talking about in this area) was that there was definitely, positively no 
> relation between this kabbalistic curse and Rabin's death.  One of their

Can we "positively" know there is no relationship? I am not refering to
a supernatural event, as much as a psychological one.  Can we know that
Yigal Amir was not influenced by reports of this ritual, and was moved
to fulfill its decree? And the Rabbis who participated in this event,
did they fear the publicity or not? Did they consider someone may take
it into his own hands to execute the judgment?

These 'Rabbis' passed judgment,issued a death sentence, allowed it to be
publicized and subsequently someone executed that sentence. While Yigal
Amir may not have been influenced directly by this, there are 4 million
Jews in Israel and if we have *just* the average number of crazies and
fanatics here (and we probably don't) there are thousands in the
population that could have been influence, and willing to execute the
decree. The ritual was more than that.... it was an open invitation,
wishful thinking, potentially a self-fufilling prophecy.

Cheryl <CHERYLHALL@...> Long Beach CA USA


From: <sbechhof@...> (Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer)
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 1995 17:04:26 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Shem Resha'im Yirkav

Zvi Weiss raised the issue of applying "Shem Resha'im Yirkav" (May the
Name of Evildoers Rot) to Yigal Amir. It is indeed questionable whether
this term can be applied to a live person, as he may yet do
Teshuva. Similarly, it is difficult to apply it to a person such as
Baruch Goldstein, as in his dying moments he may have done Teshuva.

This much, however, is clear, that the currently unrepentant Yigal Amir
certainly has a status of a "Rasha" - even one who raises his hand
against another, we well know, is called an evildoer in Judaism,
certainly one who has commited one of the "yeharaig ve'al ya'avor"
(better to be killed than to transgress) sins.

IMHO, any equivocation in the appelation of the status of Rasha to Yigal
Amir is in and of itself a Chillul Hashem.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 1995 21:52:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Terminology

While I am indebted to those who explained the use of Z"L in Israel as 
being "generic" rather than "honorific" (i.e., that z"l in Israel does 
NOT connote special "righteousness), I have some questions about Mr. 
Frankel's comments.
On the one hand,  he points out that Mr. Rabin was killed as a PUBLIC 
figure and that this is considered an exceptional situation (as I 
understood his posting (hence, he mentions the matter of "Kiddush 
Hashem").  On the other hand, when I mention matters that Rabin should be 
held accountable for -- AS HEAD OF STATE -- Mr. Frankel reverts and 
applies standards that would be used in dealing with individuals...  
Matters of public rebuke being a matter that causes shame.  Without 
getting into the matter of whether that is a basis for not rebuking 
someone who is publicly defaming OTHERS (esp. when there is defamation of 
Torah), the main point is that as HEAD OF STATE, the P.M. had the 
responsibility to speak out to make clear that an Israeli government 
should not and will not tolerate the sort of anti-religious invective 
being voiced by a member of that government.
I am not calling Rabin to task for not rebuking individual Kneset members 
who spoke in such a shameful way (although as head of the Labour Party, 
he could certainly have done so), but for his failure to assert that an 
Israeli government must not accept such contemptible statements against 
the religious -- and that if the Right Hon. Minister of Education wishes 
to exercise his Right of Free Speech, he should do so as a Private 
Citizen and NOT as a member of the Israeli government.
Mr. Frankel's points about Rabin's possible religiousity do not at all 
address this point.
If one wants to address Rabin as Z"L -- treating that as equivalent to 
O"H -- and being clear that this is NOT in the sense that Rabin is a 
pious person whose memory is to be a blessing for others, then fine.  
But, let us not delude ourselves into thinking that the former P.M. is to 
be considered a "Tzaddik" simply because he was murdered..



From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 1995 02:44:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Yigal Amir's title

On Mon, 20 Nov 1995, Sheldon Meth wrote:

> Certainly Amir committed a gross Chillul Hashem.  But to say yemach
> shemo v'zichro?  I don't think so.

	To add to this, According to my small knowledge of Gemora, the 
only Jew to be called Yimach Sh'mo V'zichro was Yeshu hanotzri.  That is 
what Yeshu is an acronym for.  All other evil Jews have at most been 
awarded the suffix "Shem R'sho'im yirkav".  Now it is interesting that 
the Mishna in Yoma accords this honorific to people who withheld 
knowledge from the Jewish people.  Are there guidelines for the use of 
this term?

     Zai Gezunt un Shtark
			Mordechai Perlman


End of Volume 22 Issue 13