Volume 22 Number 19
                       Produced: Sat Nov 25 19:56:41 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Alan Cooper ]
Children of non-Cohanim during Bircas Cohanim
         [Aryeh Blaut]
Despair & Yetzer HaRa
         [Zev Barr]
         [Jeffrey Woolf]
Forgiveness & Forgetting
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Forgiving and Forgetting
         [Elayne Gordon]
Lashon Hara
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Multiple Kaddishim at a Funeral
         [Dr. Jeffrey Woolf]
Orthodoxy's history
         [Alan Davidson]
Post Zionists
         [Shmuel Himelstein]


From: <amcooper@...> (Alan Cooper )
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 1995 12:39:50 -0800
Subject: Re: Abravanel

This discussion has become rather muddled.  A few salient points:  (1) 
the "Aristotelian" label applies more or less to every post-Maimonidean 
Jewish thinker with the slightest philosophical interests.  But 
medieval Aristotelianism is only perceived as a threat to traditional 
Jewish teaching when the spectre of creation from primal matter arises, 
or when commentators go overboard with their philosophical 
allegorizing.  Abravanel defended creation ex nihilo (see his Mif`alot 
Elohim), and certainly wasn't an allegorist.  (2) Disagreeing with 
rabbinic interpretation of Scripture poses a threat only when the 
rabbis' authority in matters of halakha is challenged (see, e.g., Ibn 
Ezra's intro to his Torah commentary).  (3) As for citation of 
Christian scholars, so what?  This was the 16th century, after all, 
when (some) Jews became conversant with all sorts of au courant ideas.  
Sforno is more eclectic than Abravanel, yet Sforno makes it into many 
standard editions of Miqra'ot Gedolot (as Abravanel does not, probably 
on account of his prolixity).  Yosef Taitazak, the great 16th-century 
rosh yeshiva of Salonika whose students included Moses Alshekh and 
Shlomo Alkabez, was a big fan of Thomas Aquinas's writings.  Again, so 
what, as long as the operative principle is the one enunciated by Redaq 
in his intro to Joshua: the study of philosophy is *obligatory, but 
must be undergirded by a prior commitment to the fundamental tenets of 

Alan Cooper


From: <AryehBlaut@...> (Aryeh Blaut)
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 1995 17:20:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Children of non-Cohanim during Bircas Cohanim

>>I am wondering if anyone out there is aware of a source for the custom
>>of children of non-Cohanim standing under their father's tallis during
>>Bircas Cohanim (the priestly blessing).
>>-- Carl Sherer

I was told that a reason to cover one's face (eyes) during Bircas
Cohanim had to do with the idea of "not knowing" which cohen gave you
the blessing...
 (all of the cohanim would be blessed with a yasher ko'ach (or thanks).

Having the children under the talis would then only be training them in this
idea.  It is also a possible way to keep the children inside the shule and

Aryeh Blaut


From: <zevbarr@...> (Zev Barr)
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 03:40:31 +1100
Subject: Despair & Yetzer HaRa

In reply to finding " a source for the idea that despair assists the
yetzer hara (evil inclination)", allow me to suggest the reading of a
chapter of Prof. A. Twersky's book, which my Rav presented at a recent
shiur.  In this fascinating chapter, he describes how the 10 spies
reached their negative Lashon Hara report of the land as they had become
deeply depressed, after witnessing giants, funerals, etc., He
furthermore implies from this that depressed people should not hold down
active leadership office as their decision-making is defective,
 Zev Barr


From: Jeffrey Woolf <jwoolf@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 1995 16:54:25 +0300 (IST)
Subject: Forgiveness

I really find some of the caustic comments cast upon Israeli secular
society very (even extremely) troubling. I think that we have to recall
that the progressive dejudaiuzation of the non-Orthodox sector of the
Jewish population here is due, in no small part, to very sorry
developments in the Orthodox world. Now, I'm not taking the blame for
Rabin z'l's murder or any of the wild accusations being hurled at us by
the Left (and upon which the Conservatives and Reform have jumped for
their own purposes). However, it IS true that we've betrayed the Modern
Orthodox ethos with which Religious Zionism was endowed. Our involvement
in academia is functional (science and math) and not inclusive of any
meaningful interaction with the culture or feelings of secular society.
The result has been the loss of ANY ability to interpret Judaism in a
way comprehensible to the average Israeli AND this has led to
superficiality, mindlessness and primitivity in the religious education
with which we provide our children. E.g, ths week one of my students at
Bar Ilan who is a graduate of a top Ulpanba, called me on the carpet for
daring to analyze certain legal rulings of Rabbenu Tam since he was a
Gadol and his motives were beyond human ken. And there are hundreds of
such examples that I could cite. This emptying of the brain, this denial
of the nuanced nature and complexity of the halakhic process lies behind
the alienation of others from Judaism and to the type of half-baked
mechanistric halakha espoused by many Ramim here and enforced by Yigal
Amir.  I believe that this is where Rav Amital saw the real source of
our responsibility for the murder.
	Mori v'Rabi HaRav Soloveitchik zt'l used to say that bekiut is
really not worth alot by itself. "The books, he once said,' are stupid.
It all depends on what you do with them.'
	We are in the position today cited by the Rambam in the 
Introduction to Perek Helek. There he describes three attitude to 
Aggadah. Two groups think literalism and blind acceptance is good. One 
because it enhances God's authority and the other because it shows the 
bankruptcy of Judaism. Fundamentalism allows these latter to reject 
Torah with a clear conscience.
	This has got to change if Torah is to survive.

						Jeffrey Woolf


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 1995 07:25:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Forgiveness & Forgetting

On Thu 23 Nov, David Neustadter wrote:

> Mordechai Perlman states:
> I'm sorry but to forgive means to behave as if it never happened and
> that is synonymous with forgetting.  If one forgives, hemust forget.
> Otherwise he has not truly forgiven.  I strongly disagree.  To "behave
> as if it never happened" is not at all synonymous with forgetting.  We
> can behave as if it never happened, and still take advantage of the
> fact that we have been awakened to the realization that it can happen.

Let me rephrase that then.  To forgive means to act as if one has
forgotten.  That's an impression one wants to create.  Who gave us a
right to forgive anyway.  Just because so much time has past that some
actually don't remember (I wasn't even born yet) is no excuse.  It
happened.  Even if we can find a defense for shooting the cannon on the
Altalena, as Shmuel Himelstein pointed out, that Rabin was concerned
that the Irgun would try to assert their political existence by force
(it's not as if the Hagana had any right to be in power more than the
Irgun, except for might makes right) and this is still shaky given the
history of the Irgun v.s. the Hagana (the Irgun never fought against the
Hagana or informed on them to the British as the Hagana did to them);
still the order to shoot survivors in the water after a white flag had
been raised, is not excusable at all.  Perhaps he regretted it later
after the turmoil of war cleared.  But regret is not sufficient.  Does
one forgive a murderer because he has regret.  Perhaps G-d does, but we
have no such mandate.  It is true that we cannot execute him (no
Sanhedrin) but we cannot pretend that we've forgotten and that
everything is now hunkydory.

     Zai Gezunt un Shtark
 		Mordechai Perlman


From: <SGordon724@...> (Elayne Gordon)
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 1995 20:38:29 -0500
Subject: Forgiving and Forgetting

Re: comments on forgiving and forgetting--these have been helpful in a
recent situation that has occurred with me.  I think the occurrance
represents a "hazaka" as described in the previous text.  I like the
idea of forgiving and remembering and of acting in G-d's way by adding a
little punishment.
 I'd like more thoughts on this.  How to decide on the punisment, how to
continue to face and deal with the offender and how to protect oneself
in the future are my concerns.  Helpful comments would be appreciated.
Keep in mind that there has been a propensity to behave this way
establised. thanks


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 1995 07:27:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Lashon Hara

On Thu, 23 Nov Elanit Z. Rothschild wrote:

> He might have had anti-religious thoughts, but IMHO I don't see what
> mocking or saying bad things about him would do.  Usually, when
> someone has anti-religious feelings it stems from an experience that
> made him think that way.  With someone like that, we would want to
> teach him that as a whole, the religious and orthodox community
> consist of good, honest, Torah obsevant people.  We would want to
> bring him closer to reliosity.  Why would we want to mock such a
> person?

Our intent ought not to be to mock such a person in any case.  Our 
intention is that others should not look at this person's record and say, 
"Mmmm, he was such a valiant soldier in '67, if I do that I'm fine and 
upright". This leads people to belittle Torah observance.  We mention 
the faults of such a person so that others will look and know what not 
to do, what not to become.

     Zai Gezunt un Shtark
		Mordechai Perlman


From: Dr. Jeffrey Woolf <jwoolf@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 1995 20:16:21 +0300 (IST)
Subject: Multiple Kaddishim at a Funeral

The recitation of multiple Kaddishim is Minhag Yerushalayim. The issue
is fully discussed in the Geshe HaHayyim.

			Jeff Woolf


From: Alan Davidson <DAVIDSON@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 95 16:15:13 EDT
Subject: Orthodoxy's history

[Moderators note: I'm using part of this long weekend to go through my
backlogged mbox and therefore there will be some submissions that were
sent in a while back that I still think are relevant that will show up
in the next few issues.]

It is likely true that all great gedolim agreed that the torah, both
written and oral was handed down on Mount Sinai, however in terms of
Orthodox Judaism as practiced by laity, there has been and continues to
be far more variance than we typically depict.  One must also keep in
mind that it is not so much Orthodoxy constructing a history for itself
as non-Orthodox Jews constructing a history of Orthodoxy as being overly
homogeneous.  All one needs to do is to look at how diverse the
expressions of Orthodoxy are today, even within "right wing" circles.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 1995 08:42:44 GMT
Subject: Post Zionists

Jeffrey Wolff notes (in V21N15) that:
"But the fact remains that the revived Canaanites, the Post Zionists 
and the New Historians (aided by religious primitivity in both the 
Haredi and Dat Leumi world) threaten to destroy the morale and 
identity of the Israeli Jewish population."
<End quote>

I would like to add that in my work as a translator I have been editing
a conference of Zionists and post-Zionists, and I can only corroborate
his comments. Many of the post-Zionists have a simple credo, which is
totally destructive to Israel as a Jewish state. Among some of their
beliefs are:
 a) The Jews "stole" the land from the Arabs, therefore the "wrong" must
be undone.
 b) All the Arab refugees from 1948 on must be readmitted.
 c) Israel must be a "state like every other state" - with no official
religion, no involvement of the state in any way in religion, and - if
the majority of the country is Arab - then they will run the country as
they see fit.

Interestingly, those most opposed to this viewpoint (at least in terms
of the papers I've edited so far) are non-religious Zionists, such as
Dr. Yossi Beilin. I have not come across any religious speakers' papers
yet, but they obviously wouldn't buy this "revisionist" claptrap.

It is important for us to know that a small number of the university
"intelligentsia" actually propound this absurd and anti-Jewish view.

           Shmuel Himelstein


End of Volume 22 Issue 19