Volume 22 Number 14
                       Produced: Wed Nov 22 23:16:34 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Abarbanel and Christian Scholars
         [Mechy Frankel]
Rashbam and Land (2)
         [Ari Shapiro, Avi Feldblum]
Single Women Walking Down the Aisle
         [Shlmo Grafstein]
Tzelaphachad's Estate
         [Zal Suldan]
Walking Down at Weddings (2)
         [Janice Gelb, Gershon Dubin]
Women, Halakha and the Kitchen
         [Shoshana Sloman]


From: Mechy Frankel <FRANKEL@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 1995 05:18:00 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Abarbanel and Christian Scholars

1. R. Yosef Bechoffer, after citing the Abarbanel to Samuel1 3, inquired
recently about the extent of Abarbanel's relationship to, or seeming
reliance on, Christian scholars. The answer in brief, seems to be that
Abarbanel was positively influenced by his familiarity with scholarly
Christian exegesis.  This exposure influenced, indeed provided the
template for, development of the Abarbanel's signature structural
organization of his commentary - in the form of parsha prefaces with
summary listing of perceived problems followed by his explicatory
commentary dealing, seriatem, with the problem list - and in various
instances also influenced his understanding of peshat.

2. The specific subject was dealt with most recently and at some length
by the late Chacham Solomon Gaon who, for his Ph.D thesis, explored the
influence on Abarbanel of Tostado, an eminent Spanish scholar and
Christian cleric. The thesis was published recently and other approving
citations by the Abarbanel of Christian sources as well as more numerous
perceived but unattributed "borrowings" may be found there. Of course
some of the latter are disputable, and the case for direct influence of
Tostado is ultimately circumstantial since the two apparently never
directly met, but the basic thrust of Chacham Gaon's argument seems

3. I think that R. Bechoffer's self described "kind of shocked" state is
pretty natural given the normal inwardly focussed trajectory of
traditional jewish education (not that I have any problems with that,
time to master the substantive material and traditional texts is short
enough anyway - but it does leave one open for the occasional academic
sucker punch). I do think that the entire subject of Gentile-Jewish
intellectual interaction is highly interesting, a surprisingly
relatively unexplored topic on mj (they're getting rarer), and one with
significant with halachic projections. e.g. the halachic strictures on
teaching a gentile torah vs the actual practice of, to cite just one of
many, the Seforno and Reuchlin.  Any thoughts?

Mechy Frankel                           W:  (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>                     H:  (301) 593-3949


From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 95 18:48:32 EST
Subject: Rashbam and Land

<Actually, as I read the Rashbam, the anger was not at "giving away land"
<but at agreeing to a eternal (? to him and his children and
<grandchildren) peace treaty when Yehoshua will have to battle against
<the Plishtim when the Jews come up from Egypt to Eretz Yisrael.

The Rashbam says "v'charah apo shel hashem ol zos sheharei eretz
plishtim nitan l'Avraham... " Hashem got angry because Eretz Plishtim
was also given to Avraham. It seems that anger was directed at Avraham
because he was giving away land.

<The last "and" that you have above, I'm having some problem
<interpreting the Rashbam. I do not think "hoelah" here means "saves

I was referring to the following statement in the Rashbam "v'atah lech
v'halehu l'olah u'reah mah hoila crisos bris" meaning, now go and
sacrifice your son and see what use the Bris(treaty) is, which I take to
mean see if the treaty will save Yitzchak.

Ari Shapiro

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 1995 20:00:48 -0500
Subject: Rashbam and Land

Ari Shapiro writes:
> The Rashbam says "v'charah apo shel hashem ol zos sheharei eretz
> plishtim nitan l'Avraham... " Hashem got angry because Eretz Plishtim
> was also given to Avraham. It seems that anger was directed at Avraham
> because he was giving away land.

My text reads (starting a bit earlier): af kan achar hadevarim shekaras
Avraham bris leAvimelech lo ulenino ulenechdo shel Avraham, venasan lo
sheva kevasos hatzon, (now we get to where you began) v'charah apo shel
hakadosh al zos sheharei eretz plishtim (and now is where we differ)
bichlal gevul yisrael, vehakadosh tzivah alihem lo sechayeh kol
neshama. The text then goes on to Yehoshua and the pelishtim

[My poor translation of the above: So too here "after the events" that
Avraham made a treaty with Avimelech, him and his children and
grandchildren, and gave him the seven lambs, so the anger of the Holy
One was kindeled on this because the land of the Pelishtim is in the
boundries of Israel, and the Holy One commanded you shall not allow any
of them to live.]

So my reading is that it is the bris/covenant to not harm the family of
Avimelech, since the land in which the pelishtim live is inside the area
that Yehoshua will be doing battle, that angers Hashem.

> I was referring to the following statement in the Rashbam "v'atah lech
> v'halehu l'olah u'reah mah hoila crisos bris" meaning, now go and
> sacrifice your son and see what use the Bris(treaty) is, which I take
> to mean see if the treaty will save Yitzchak.

Very minor difference in text here, if I'm reading your transliteration
correct, I have: v'atah lech v'haalehu l'olah v'yirah mah hoila crisos
bris shelcha. I am unconvinced that your interpretation of the passage
is correct, but at the same time I do not follow the logic of the
Rashbam here, either with your interpretation or reading it as "and now
go and sacrifice your son and we will see what value your peace treaty
(with Avimelech) has", i.e. you can make a treaty that Avimelech will
not harm your child, but I can tell you to sacrifice him, and then of
what use is the treaty.

So basically I do not see that the Rashbam is talking about "land" at



From: <RABIGRAF@...> (Shlmo Grafstein)
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 1995 11:28:10 -0400
Subject: Single Women Walking Down the Aisle

It is imperative that the mail-Jewish learners and teachers of Torah know
that Torah has to be applied in a real life situation which can vary from
community to community.  For a single "grown" girl to march down the
aisle in some Chassidic circles or Jerusalem minhag (of the Vilna Gaon)
it may not be considered modest.  In contradistinction, it could very
well be a Mitzvah for a single woman to march down the aisle in other
(most other circles).  It will make many peolple happy (family and 
Friends) and thus add to the simcha without transgressing any 
prohibition.  In addition, perhaps it may be noted that she is not
covering her hair (at the religious wedding) and someone may think
of a suitable match for her!!
Sincerely Yours,
Shlmo Grafstein


From: <z-suldan@...> (Zal Suldan)
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 1995 16:56:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Tzelaphachad's Estate

>From: <aaron.g@...> (Aaron D. Gross )
>wouldn't Tzelaphchad's granddaughter's inherit (subject to marrying
>within Dan, as did their mothers) portions of Tzelaphchad's portion?

>Danny Skaist wrote:
>The injuction to marry within their own tribe applied only to
>Tzelaphchad's daughters...[  ] The granddaughters would have inherited
>anyway and the land would have became part of the "inheritance" of
>whichever tribe they married into.

>From: <aaron.g@...> (Aaron D. Gross )
>I'm not sure if you answered my question.
>Given the assumption that the daughters of Tzelaphchad married Danites,
>and the hypothesis that they only had daughters (i.e. all the
>grandchildren of Tzelaphachad were granddaughters), if the
>granddaughters married out of Dan, wouldn't Tzelaphchad's portion have
>effectively been transferred to other tribes?
>If all Tzelaphchad's granddaughters had married Levites, for instance,
>what would happen to the land, as Levites were not entitled to rural
>real estate?
>To whom would the Danite land revert in the Jubilee year, as there would
>be no direct descendants of Tzelaphchad?

First off, like Danny Skaist, I also seem to remember that the
restriction to marry within the tribe was only on Bnot Zelofchad and not
on their children, male or female... therefore, the land of Bnot
Zelofchad could possibly end up with another tribe, as per the laws of

Not only that, but this would also apply even if the grandaughters of
Zelofchad married levi'im. But this is not merely a theoretical question
where we are forced to assume that Bnot Tzelofchad had only daughters in
order to raise the question, there is actually a case in Nach where
something like this is discussed!!

Two very much related questions are asked by Rashi and the Redak at the
end of Sefer Yehoshua (which Meylekh and I have recently been zocheh to
complete -- Chazak Chazak viNischazek). There, Elazar (ben Aharon)
HaCohen is buried in the land of his son Pinchas. So, one, how can this
be? Can Cohanim a/o Levi'im own land? And, two, even if they can own
land, is there such an ownership which would not transfer back biShnat
HaYovel (Jubilee)?

Rashi and the Redak ask this question. The Redak raises the possibility
that Elazar could have bought the land or been given it as a
gift. However, these transactions would still result in the land being
returned at Yovel and thus Elazar would end up being buried in the land
of another tribe.  The Redak concludes that, EITHER, the land was a
communal gift to Elazar and as such remains in his family even
post-Yovel (unlike a personal gift) OR -- and this is the one Rashi
mentions -- that Elazar inherited land from his wife who had died before
him. Such land would also remain in the family post Yovel. (The Ralbag
references the gemara but I haven't had a chance yet to look it up)

I think this answers Aaron Gross's questions. First off, the restriction
on marrying outside of Dan was only on Bnot Zelofchad -- not the
granddaughters. And second, if they did marry out and they married
levi'im, their husbands would in fact inherit from them and such land
would not revert at Yovel.

On a related note, I have another question... why do we say that the
levi'im didn't recieve a nachala? Certainly they didn't go through the
lottery proccess with the other tribes... but weren't they given cities
scattered through the tribes through nothing less than a commandment
from Hashem.

Is it that as a shevet, Levi received these cities, but as individuals,
in order to get land they would have buy it, receive a gift, or inherit
it??  Thanks.

Zal Suldan
Tri-Institutional MD/PhD Program - Department of Cell Biology and Genetics
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center / Cornell University Medical College
Replies to: <Z-Suldan@...>    or   ZSuldan@Stud.Med.Cornell.edu


From: <janiceg@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 1995 15:07:07 -0800
Subject: Walking Down at Weddings

In mail-jewish Vol. 22 #12, Simmy Fleischer said:
> In a recent conversation with a friend who is getting married soon he
> told us that post Bat-Mitzvah unmarried women do not walk down the aisle
> before the chuppah because of tzniut reasons. Has anyone else heard
> this? Someone said this is just a Chicago thing. I must say that I find
> the "tzniut" reason a bit shaky, b/c the girl in question will be
> standing in front next to the chuppah so people will still see her and
> even so its not like these young women will not be dressed tzanua-ly. So
> whats the problem?

I completely agree that the tzniut argument seems weak if the girl is
dressed modestly. One aspect of this that also struck me is that before
the chuppah, the bride would fall under the category of a "post
Bat-Mitzvah unmarried woman" so how is it that she is permitted to walk
down the aisle despite the presumed tzniut restriction?

Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this      
<janiceg@...>   | message is the return address.               

From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 95 15:50:00 -0500
Subject: Walking Down at Weddings

> I find the "tzniut" reason a bit shaky, b/c the girl in question will
> be standing in front next to the chuppah so people will still see her
> and even so its not like these young women will not be dressed
> tzanua-ly. So wahts the problem?
	Tzniut is not always a black or white situation, it is how a
person feels about it.  Certainly it does not include *only* how a
person is dressed.  Having a person parade down the aisle in front of
hundreds of people is not the same as having them stand in front.  It's
not prohibited; it's not permitted, it's all in how the people concerned
feel about it.

> PS As someone else who was part of the conversation mentioned, "This
> is just another example of the fact that we live in a machmir society"
	Could you clarify what a machmir society is?  My definition of a
machmir is someone who knowingly acts in a manner stricter than the
halacha defines.  Depending on the situation they could be anywhere from
a tzadik to a fool.

<gershon.dubin@...>      |
http://www.medtechnet.com/~dubinG |


From: <ssloman@...> (Shoshana Sloman)
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 95 21:15 EST
Subject: Women, Halakha and the Kitchen

>Akiva Miller asks how women know what the important issues are in the
>kitchen if they haven't spent time learning them in the Beit Midrash
>(study hall).
>And the answer is - sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.  It
>totally depends on the quality of education they receive in either
>school, seminary, lectures, at home, etc.

I don't think this is just related to women's areas of responsibility,
though.  In the first place, not all men are able to spend a tremendous
amount of time learning.  They must still be knowledgable enough to
determine when to ask a shailah, as well.

Secondly, women educate themselves by reading to familiarize themselves
with the issues, then discussing them with rabbis.  It is not necessary
for them to know the entire Talmudic background of a problem, or even
what is the practice among other communities, just what is halachically
acceptable for their own situation.
 To be sure, though, it can't hurt for all Jews to learn more and become
more familiar with various halachic issues.  And, when we see someone
doing things differently, we should investigate before assuming they're
committing an aveira.  After all, there are variations in practice in
all areas, not just kitchen things.

But traditionally, religious women have faithfully passed down methods
of keeping a kosher kitchen - sometimes to the amazement of their rabbi
husbands, who wondered about this same thing!

Shoshana Amelite Sloman


End of Volume 22 Issue 14