Volume 22 Number 76
                       Produced: Tue Jan  9 16:39:34 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chareidi and Dati
         [Shlomo H. Pick]
My Bar-Mitzvah
         [Neil Parks]
Pinchas/Zimri and Matityahu situations (2)
         [Channa Luntz, Warren Burstein]
Religious Councils in Israel
         [Shmuel Himelstein]


From: Shlomo H. Pick <F12013%<BARILAN.bitnet@...>
Date: Sun, 07 Jan 96 12:31 O
Subject: Chareidi and Dati

 In response to mail.jewish 22:70 the items by carl sherer con- cerning
item #5 that chareidim are becoming the underclass of israeli society,
suffering discrimination in much the same way that arabs do - one must
be "yotzei zava" and this keeps chareidim out- side the job market.
 I don't understand this statememt or arguement.  To keep out of the
army, chareidim, who do stay out, claim that toratum umatum, that their
only and sole "job" is studying Torah.  Otherwise they are subject to
the draft like every other Israeli citizen - they just have a deferrment
until they announce that they have stopped learning full time.  Then
usually they are drafted for a short period and/or to military reserve
duty.  If they leave their full time torah study to look for a job or to
work at one, they are basically breaking the law by not first fulfilling
their civic duty of military service.  in fact, every once and awhile,
there is a computer check of who is a yeshiva student and has a
deferment and yet has national insurance or income tax paid to his
having a regular job. besides the chillul hashem encounted, he is also
drafted and/or fined.
 There may be a tiny minority of chareidim who leave the yeshivot and
due to many children and/or other technicalities have not been drafted
and the statement or argument may apply, but certainly not in the
numbers implied by comparison to arabs.  those numbers can only be
reached by the above-mentioned attempt to break the law and not serve in
the army and yet to benefit from a regular paying job.  Thus I must add,
the claim that bnei brak is the poorest city in Israel is probably true,
but it is matter of choice - if people want to study torah and not work,
then they must expect to be poor.  it cannot be compared to other towns,
where people want to work and expect to work but there are no job
openings such as in ofakim.
 I presume that the next step in all this is must I be obligated to
support yeshiva students who voluntarally study and defer the army.  to
be honest, i really don't think so, and base my argument on Mai- monides
at the end of Hilchot shmitah ve-yovel.  If you want to study Torah and
live on bread and water, that's your business, not mine. If I want to
support you, that's my prerogative, not an obligation by the state. i
also refer to Maimonides's statements in hilchot talmud torah 3:10 and
in the peirush hamishnayot 4:7 on the words of R. Zadok. And if i have
to add, then "Kim lee kedivrei ha-Rambam!" (= I hold the Rambam's
position") and you cannot take money from my possession for this
oppossing view.


From: Neil Parks <nparks@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 96 22:31:05 EDT
Subject: Re: My Bar-Mitzvah

>From: Joshua Schainker <Sheryl.Schainker@...>
>Dear Mail-Jewish friends,
>In February I will be celebrating my becoming of a Bar- Mitzvah.  I 
>need to write a speach, but I need some ideas.  My parsha in Parashas 
>Yitro.  If you don't mind, could you please email me information 
>about my parsha (I would reallly love something on the 10 
>commandments.)  Thank-you.
>                                        Joshua Schainker

Mazel Tov on the coming event.  (BTW, do you know my cousin, Morton
"Bobby" Levine?  He used to be the Hillel Rabbi at UPenn.)

Some random thoughts on the Ten Commandments:

As you know, the first two were spoken directly by Ha-Shem, but the
others were relayed by Moshe.  This is alluded to in the verse "Torah
tziva lanu Moshe..." (Moses commanded us the Torah...).  The numerical
value of "Torah" is 611.  Of the 613 commandments, two came directly to
the people from Ha-Shem, but the other 611 we learned from Moshe.

The second commandment, Lo sa-aseh lecho pessel, is often interpreted:
Don't make an idol for yourself.  But it can also mean, don't make an
idol OF yourself.  That is, don't substitute your own opinions and
judgments for our tradition.

....This msg brought to you by:
     NEIL PARKS  Beachwood, Ohio    mailto://<nparks@...>


From: Channa Luntz <heather@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 1996 12:15:44 GMT
Subject: Pinchas/Zimri and Matityahu situations

Hillel E. Markowitz <hem@...> writes:
> >  Has nobody a defense for Matityahu or is everyone's
> > silence to be taken as agreement that he acted improperly in killing the
> > Jew who was going to sacrifice on the altar which had been set up in
> > Modein?
> I would say that based on the situation then and what that person was
> going to do that he was actually in the category of a rodeif. 

I can see nothing that has anything to do with the category of rodeif,
which is a specifically limited halachic category in which if a person
is coming after another to kill or rape, one is permitted to try and
save that other person out of their hand, even if it will mean killing
the aggressor. It quite clearly does not apply to situations where
another person is not in immediate physical danger.

Also clearly the Jew who was willing to sacrifice on the altar was
engaging in avodah zara b'farhessia, and therefore, would have been
liable to the death penalty to be administered by a properly constituted
Sanhedrin, assuming all the proper warnings were given, which Mattityahu
was in a position to give.

But I think the justification for Mattityahu's action is another
halachic concept, which is of l'tzorech hasha'a, that is, that in
certain limited and extreme circumstances, the Sanhedrin is permitted to
punish, as a temporary measure, not according to strict Torah law in
order to protect Torah law.  The most famous case is that of Shimon ben
Shettach and the witches in Ashkelon (see the mishna on Sanhedrin 45b -
for more details than the Bavli and Rashi brings see the Yerushalmi), in
which Shimon ben Shettach as head of the Sanhedrin executed 80 women in
one day,- in violation of the Torah which only permits one person to be
judged and put to death on one day (there were also other
irregularities, in the nature of the death penalty used). This, from my
recollection of the Yerushalmi (I don't have one here, so I am going on
memory) was because there was a very serious problem with witchcraft at
the time, and if it had not been done in this way, there was no way of
bringing them to justice.

A similar example is given on the following daf (46a) where a case is
discussed where the Sanhedrin used the death penalty for a Rabbinical
transgression, because of the particular needs of the time, even though
this is contrary to Torah law.

Mattityahu is generally recognised as head of the Sanhedrin at the time,
and so he and his Sanhedrin was empowered under Torah law itself to act
in extreme and temporary situations in ways contrary to Torah law. He
was not just some stam person who decided to posken of his own accord
against the Torah - rather the opposite, it was an act of the central
halachic system within the framework of the halachic system, which
itself has this inbuilt temporary mechanism for the suspension of Torah
law by the recognised and empowered authorities.



PS I believe that it is a misuse of this concept under which the
Conservative movement authorised driving on shabbat, ie l'tzorech
ha'sha'a we need to allow people to violate shabbat so they can come to
shul and we will stop assimilation. I believe the Rav z'l wrote/spoke
powerfully on the subject of why this is an abuse of the concept and a
misunderstanding of the gemorras on which it is based.  It clearly takes
tremendous chutzpa for a person to claim to base his/her actions on this

From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 10:26:38 GMT
Subject: Re: Pinchas/Zimri and Matityahu situations

Hillel Markowitz writes:

>I would say that based on the situation then and what that person was
>going to do that he was actually in the category of a rodeif.  One must
>be careful not to attempt a false analogy to modern situations however.
>The Greek attempt to destroy Bnei Yisroel and the use of a Jew to
>"front" their idol worship probably meant that the Jew was even more of
>a danger than Zimri was.  Both of them where attempting to destroy the
>judicial system of Bnei Yisroel by committing one of the "Big Three" in
>public and challenging the people with "and what are you going to do
>about it".  It would be like a murderer committing his crime on live TV
>during prime time.

Zimri was not killed as a rodef but as a boel aramit.  One who is about
to commit a murder on live TV is a rodef, just like one who is about to
do it with only one observer.  I can't see how either case has relevance
to someone who is about to do a different sin, even one as terrible as
idolatry.  Nor do I understand how the princple of rodef can be extended
to "attempting to destroy the judicial system of Bnei Yisrael" or that
such an attempt carries a death penalty.  Wouldn't the principle of boel
aramit equally apply to one who had no such intent?

Please note that I am not criticizing Matityahu, I am questioning
the explanation of Hillel Markowitz.

 |warren@           an Anglo-Saxon." -- Stuart Schoffman
/ itex.jct.ac.IL


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 05:46:13 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Religious Councils in Israel

In another of a series of rulings which have had the effect of whittling
away at the Orthodox monopoly over the religious services provided in
Israel to the public, the Israeli Supreme Court recently ruled that
Religious Councils must permit non-Orthodox members to be admitted into
these Councils.

For those who are unfamiliar with the situation in Israel, by law each
local governing area (city, town, regional council) must have a
Religious Council, the size of the Council being determined by the size
of the place it represents.

The formula for setting up the membership is as a very complex one
(i.e., I forgot), but a number of its members are appointed by the local
municipal council, with the political parties sending their own
delegates based on their proportional strengths in the local municipal

Up to now, there has been a generally tacit agreement that even the
delegates to the Religious Councils who were sent there by non-religious
parties would be Orthodox Jews (and male! - until the Leah Shakdiel,
Supreme Court case of a few years ago forced them to accept females). In
the last few years the Meretz Party (the most left-wing party in the
Knesset) has deliberately sent as its representatives to the Religious
Councils individuals who are members (and on occasion clergymen) of the
Conservative and Reform movements.  By various ways, the Religious
Councils have generally stopped such individuals from entering the
Religious Councils. The recent Supreme Court ruling, though, requires
all such individuals to be admitted to the Religious Councils.

It is important to note, though, that the Religious Councils are not
*halakhic* authorities in any sense - they make no *halakhic*
decisions. Their function is to fund and supervise the religious
services offered to the public in their area (e.g., supplying rabbis for
weddings or *mohalim* for the *brit milah* ceremony). They also disburse
considerable sums of money to synagogues, yeshivot, etc.

           Shmuel Himelstein


End of Volume 22 Issue 76