Volume 22 Number 61
                       Produced: Fri Dec 29  8:42:37 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Gedaliah Friedenberg]
Birkas Kohanim... Again
         [Yosey Goldstein]
Charedim on mail-jewish
         [Esther Posen]
K'sav Ashuris
         [Micha Berger]
Kriyah for Chanuka
         [Carl Sherer]
Rav Pinchas D. Teitz ztz"l
         [Art Werschulz]
         [Warren Burstein]
Smoking and Charedim
         [Josh Backon]
Sridei Eish
         [Shmuel Jablon]
View of Judaism toward Nature
         [Aharon Manne]


From: Gedaliah Friedenberg <gedaliah@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 09:18:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 1996
Newsgroups: shamash.mail-jewish

Does anyone know if significant Torah events that took place in the
biblical year 1996?  This kind of comparision (between biblical
numerical years and secular numerical years) is probably meaningless,
but occasionally interesting.  For example, (if I recall correctly)
Avraham entered Eretz Cana'an in 1948 (and, of course, the modern
Israeli State was founded in 1948).

Gedaliah Friedenberg


From: Yosey Goldstein <JOE-G@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 95 13:57:10 EST
Subject: Birkas Kohanim... Again

Mr G. Gevaryahu in his last posting repeated his hypothesis that there
was a "change" in the custom of looking at the Kohanim while they Bless
the congregation.

I will repeat my position that nowhere that I have found was there a
"change in custom" and looking at the Kohanim became the norm. Mr.
Gevaryahu's position may be "defensible" but he has not shown a source
for this hypothesis, as I will show later..

He writes: "The difficulty here can be cleared up by understanding
Rashi's methodology. "In Rashi's view, the only acceptable explanation
of the Mishnah is that given by the Gemara (See B.M. 33a and b et al.),
with the result that he does not give an independent explanation of the
Mishnah. Rashi did not write commentaries to those tractates that have
no Babylonian Talmud" (Prof. Israel Ta-Shma, EJ, Vol. 13, p 1564). This,
to the best of my knowledge, is the generally acceptable view of Rashi's
methodology. Thus, if I argue for a view that a change of a minhag occur
between the Mishnah and Gemara time, Rashi's commentary to the Mishnah
cannot be used as an argument. He interpret the Mishanh ONLY from the
Gemara perspective."

While it is true that Rashi bases his explanation on the Gemmorah I do
not understand what the fact that Rashi did not write a commentary on
the Yerushalmi has to do with this topic. Does Mr GeVaryahu want to hint
that Rashi did not know it? I would hope not. As I had mentioned in my
prior post The Turay Even understood Rashi as knowing and reconciling the
Bavli and Yerushalmi.

He continued: " Joe Goldstein further suggests that one cannot logically
hold the position that the custom not to look at the Kohanim while
blessing, was restricted to Beit Ha'Mikdash. However, the Meiri brought
and refuted this very argument in the name of several mefarshim (Megila

    I had looked at this Meiri in Megillah and unless we have different
versions of the Meiri my Meiri says (My translation) " And from here I
say that which some commentaries wrote that the ONLY prohibition (of
looking at the Kohanim) is in the Bais Hamikdosh, where the Name (Of
hashem) is said clearly, IN INCORRECT! It is that way everyplace!" I
would suggest that anyone interested in this should please look in the
aforementioned Meiri and see that the Meiri holds that looking is
prohibited and he refutes the opinion of those commentaries that feel
that it is permitted. Also please note that NO WHERE does he say there
was any change in the laws of looking at the Kohanim. The only question
is WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF THE PROHIBITION? Is it *only* due to the
Shechina resting on the hands of the Kohanim, as is stated in the
Gemmorah in Chagigah Or is there another reason as is mentioned in the

   I would just like to conclude with a public apology to Mr Gevaryahu
in my defense of Rashi. When I read his posting to me I felt he i was
being disrespectful to Rashi. I may have been over sensitive. He
himself, in private postings, that he meant no disrespect. I had also
heard from others that they did not think he was disrespectful. That
being the case If I was harsh in rebutting his statements and I
apologize. I was just trying to counteract the disrespect I perceived in
his words.

Wishing everyone a delightful Chanuka



From: <eposen@...> (Esther Posen)
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 10:07:00 -0500
Subject: Charedim on mail-jewish

>Every time I hear what I believe to be the ultimate in frum silliness,
>someone comes along and tops it! Did nobody involved in this performance
>ever take a step back and ask "What's going on here?"

>the Charedim violate every rule in the book: they eat junk, zero
>exercise (no, shuckling isn't exercise :-) ) chain smoke, and are type
>A (nervous) behavior.

Do we all feel better now that we've thoroughly bashed the chareidim   
again?  Would it be considered appropriate for me to submit a post that   
asserted that modern orthodox jews violate every rule in the book... (a   
more authoratative book I might add.)  I will not be so bold to list the   
mitzvot that I see being blantantly violated on a daily basis but I may   
do so the next time I'm provoked.

By the way does this study include any longevity numbers for chareidim   
versus the rest of the orthodox population and has anyone factored in the   
fact that since chareidim by and large are careful about "cholov yisroel"   
they don't eat Hersheys etc which reduces their junk food intake!

Esther Posen

Chareidim make it a point to be medakdaik (careful) bmitzvot.    


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 07:27:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: K'sav Ashuris

In v22n59, Max Shenker writes:
> Just a source to contribute to the discussion: In Megilla 2b-3a there is
> a discussion of the graphics of the final letters in Hebrew.  It says
> there that the me'm sofi and the samech stood miraculously in the luchot
> because they are circular letters and they were engraved completely
> through the stone of the tablets so that they could be seen from either
> side.  This is clearly ktav ashuri since in ktav ivri those letters are
> not circular.

The equivalent Yerushalmi (Megillah 1:1), says it was the tes and ayin
which stood miraculously. This does work in Ivri, but then, in Ivri
about half the letters are closed shapes. So what was the alphabet used
for the luchos (tablets). This is the dilemma addressed by the Radvaz
(which is quoted by Rabbi Scherman, who is in turn quoted by Stan Tennen in 
the same issue of mail-jewish). As Max notes, the Ritva offers the same

Max's summary of the Ritva continues:
>         At some point in history the Assyrians got ahold of some
> document that contained the ktav "ashuri" and appreciated its holiness
> and began to transliterate their language into the Hebrew ashuri letters
> (hence the letters are called ashuri since they were used by the
> Assyrians).

Rashi offers a different reason for the Assyrian's use of the sacred
alphabet. Ashur, the father of the Assyrian people, didn't participate
in building the tower of Babel. As a gift, he retained the original
alphabet when G-d divided humanity up into different languages. To
me it sounds like overkill. Now, instead of needing to explain the
Assyrian alphabet, you need to explain why Assyria would have its own
language, and not a dialect of Hebrew.

BTW, Ashur's second reward was Jonah's mission to Nineveh, giving his
descendants a chance to repent.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3255 days!
<AishDas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 -  5-Oct-95)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 95 20:26:29 IST
Subject: Kriyah for Chanuka

Bert Kahn writes:
> Responding to Dave Curwin Why we read the portion for the day and the
> portion for the next day in chutz laaretz. The Maccabies entered the
> temple on the 24th but the rededication was not until the evening being
> the 25th.  So for example on the 25th we read for the first day . But
> since the 24th may have been the first day we add the reading for day
> 2.My source is our shul Rabbi and his between mincha & maariv shiur on
> the halachos of Chanukah.

I have two problems with this.  First, it doesn't explain why the custom
in Eretz Yisrael is what it is (correctly noted by Dave Curwin in the
same digest) and why there is a difference between the custom in Eretz
Yisrael and the custom outside of Eretz Yisrael.

-- Carl Sherer
	Adina and Carl Sherer
		You can reach us both at:


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 1995 21:53:09 -0500
Subject: Rav Pinchas D. Teitz ztz"l

I am sorry to announce the passing last night of Rabbi Pinchas D. Teitz 
after a long illness.  Rabbi Teitz was the Rav of the Elizabeth, NJ
Orthodox community. 

His grandson, Rabbi Eliyahu Teitz (<EDTeitz@...>) is a frequent
contributor to this list.

[Eliyahu's brother Avi is also a list member, and several other members
are also related to Rabbi Teitz. Mod.]

HaMakom yenachem etchem b'toch shaarei aveilei Tzion v'Yerushalayim.

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7061, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 07:17:43 GMT
Subject: Re: Smoking

>I also recall once hearing that much of the harmful effects of smoking
>come from the pesticides currently used, which was probably not a
>consideration 200 years ago.

I'd like to urge anyone who is planning smoke organically-grown
tobacco that they talk to their doctor before doing so.

 |warren@         an Anglo-Saxon." -- Stuart Schoffman
/ nysernet.org


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Thu,  28 Dec 95 19:13 +0200
Subject: Re: Smoking and Charedim

Yosef Branse questions my broad characterization of Charedim. In our
quest for understanding the mechanisms to explain the very odd findings
of Stein et al (Int J Cardiology 1986) [a relative risk for coronary
artery disease that was one-fourth that of the religious and secular
communities in Jerusalem], our group considered a great many
possibilities.  We ruled out: diet, exercise, lack of smoking,
behavioral pattern since we actually found that the cohort we checked
violated EVERY rule in the book. We were horrified at the dietary intake
of the cohort; their total lack of any exercise; their very high
prevalence of smoking; and their type A behavioral pattern (always in a
rush to do something).

Mr. Branse: we deal with this group daily in the clinics. Call it
clinical acumen :-)

Josh Backon


From: <ShmuelAJ@...> (Shmuel Jablon)
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 11:18:11 -0500
Subject: Sridei Eish

Sridei Eish is out of print.  However, it is easy to find yeshivos and
libraries with copies.  As I recall, it is in chelek beys.  It is also found
in a haPardes from the 1950's.  You can also find excerpts in the first
chapter of Rav Shlomo Aviner shlit"a's sefer CHESED L'NURIACH.


From: Aharon Manne <manne@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 16:23:02 +0300
Subject: View of Judaism toward Nature

In mj 22#53 Avi Feldblum wrote
>  I have great doubts as to whether the ideas above are consistant with
> what I see as the approach Chazal and the Reshonim take to the animal
> kingdom. From what I see, the fully acceptable purpose of an animal
> would be to in some way support/enhance a person's life and in
> particular, a Jew's ability to continue to do mitzvot.

I think Judaism might be a bit "greener" than that.  While the pantheism
currently associated in pop sociology with "Native Americans" is
certainly foreign to Judaism, nature seems to have some purpose other
than to serve humanity's physical needs.  The classic example is in
Devarim: "ki ha-adam etz ha-sadeh lavo mipanecha bamatzor" (a rhetorical
question: Is the tree in the field a man before you in the seige?) This
translation follows a number of the classic commentators; others
translate in a significantly different manner.  Nonetheless, the bottom
line is that a Jewish Army cannot wantonly destroy trees in the course
of laying seige to a city.

Another example is the halacha (cited by the Rav of our Regional
Council) which states that one may not arbitrarily kill living things,
such as ants in a field.  Clearly one may deal with pests, but one may
not arbitrarily kill creatures which pose no threat to your health or
livelihood.  Can anyone give me a source for this halacha?  I was not
able to locate it in an hour's rummaging through the index to Yoreh

The Sefer HaHinuch explains the law of sending away the mother bird
("shiluah ha-ken") as an educational discipline, to teach us the quality
of mercy.  Here, it seems, we are commanded to imitate HaShem ("rahamav
al kol ma'asav" - His mercy extends to all His creation).

I have always wanted to interpret Adam's stated purpose in the Garden of
Eden ("le'ovdah u'l'shomrah" - to work it and guard it) as a dialectic
between shaping nature and preserving it.  There is a grammatical
problem identifying the object of these two verbs; the word "gan" in
Hebrew is not a feminine noun.  Ibn Ezra maintains that we are
nonetheless forced to assume that the object is the Garden of Eden, and
rejects the interpretation of the "Targum Yerushalmi". The latter claims
that there is an implied object: the mitzvah, or commandment given to
Adam.  According to Ibn Ezra, the verb to guard refers to preserving the
Garden of Eden from the wild animals, who were liable to "foul it"
("letanfah").  How does this relate to Adam's relationship with the
earth after leaving Gan Eden: "cursed be the earth because of you..."?

I would be more than glad to see others on the list pick up this thread
and point out other relevant sources.


End of Volume 22 Issue 61