Volume 22 Number 84
                       Produced: Mon Jan 15 23:56:29 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Charedim and Bogrei Tzava
         [Michael Grynberg]
Financial remuneration for Torah Study
         [Al Silberman]
Financial Support of Yeshivot
         [Meir Shinnar]
Love Your Neighbor
         [Carl Sherer]
Mistakes in Torah Reading
         [Gershon Dubin]
         [Harry Weiss]


From: Michael Grynberg <spike@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 10:00:53 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Charedim and Bogrei Tzava

When there is an ad for a position requiring the applicant to be a boger
tzava (i.e. completed their army service) it is generally for a very
practical reason, namely that if one starts work and has not finished
the army, then this person might have to leave work for up to 3 years to
fulfill their obligation.

I think it wrong to assume that an ad for a boger tzava is meant to
exclude charedim from getting a certain job.  There are a number of
distinct groups in Israel that do not serve in the army, such as Israeli
arabs, or olim above a certain age, or israelis with certain physical

I think we should give these employers the benefit of the doubt.

Mike Grynberg


From: <asilberman@...> (Al Silberman)
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 1996 12:48:37 -0500
Subject: Financial remuneration for Torah Study

In MJ Vol22:78 on the subject of financial support to those who devote
themselves to learning Zvi Weiss writes:

> I think that it would be worthwhile discussing with ANY of the current Poskim
> whether that is a proper outlook for ANY Ben Torah to have.

Then again later he writes:
> I would strongly urge that he ask a Shaila before he claims "Kim Lee Kedivrei
> Rambam"..

This brings to mind something which has long bothered me and I have not
heard a reasonable answer for.

It it a well known Halacha which needs no citations that in an area where
one is a "Nogea Bedovor" (has a conflict of interest) one cannot be a Dayan
or Posek. The tradition of earning a living independent of Torah (as was
generally true during the time of the Tanaim, Amoraim and Rishonim) no
longer exists and today's poskim do not have livlihoods independent of
Torah. I don't know of any Posek who can claim that he is not a Nogea
Bedovor in this particular type of question. What gives them a Heter to
Pasken such a Shaila?


From: <meir_shinnar@...> (Meir Shinnar)
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 96 09:36:11 EST
Subject: Re: Financial Support of Yeshivot

On 9 Jan, Zvi Weiss wrote in response to a post
> While the Rambam certainly emphasized the importance of not making a
>"living" by Torah study, I would like to remind all that (a) this view
>is somewhat countered by the approach of Chachmei Ashkenaz 

I am at work without all my sources, but this needs a response.  I will
be glad to post sources later.

While chachmei ashkenaz did not agree with the Rambam's complete
prohibition of profiting from Torah study, until quite recently, for
many, if not most, this was the lechatchila position.  This is reflected
in several ways.
 1)The sh"ut literature of the middle ages is replete with sources that
describe the conflict between the need to have halachic authorities
available for the community and the fact that it was felt inappropriate
to pay them.  There is a book by Breuer about Toledot Rabbanut Ashkenaz
that brings many of these teshuvot.  Thus, while many teshuvot found a
heter for the payment of communal functionaries, very few looked on it
as the optimal solution.
 2)If one looks at the shtar rabbanut (contract of appointment for a
communal rabbI), until quite recently the salary of the rabbi was
specified as being "schar battala" (wages for being idle from other
work).  There is a tension between the Rambam's position, and the
reality that one needed Rabbis for the community.

    Even in this century, there were many gdolim who were concerned
about the Rambam's position.  Thus, both the Chofetz Chaim zt"l and the
Chazon Ish zt"l were known for refusing direct financial support, and
relying on the sale of books or the wife's income for support.  Both of
them clearly approved of the support of talmidei chachamim as a
practical need of the community, but did not want to rely on this heter
for themselves.

> (b) that the Rambam refers to the one who STUDIES... The Rambam DOES
>NOT discuss here one who may wish to SUPPORT such Torah Study. 

    This is just not true.  The Rambam specifically talks about the fact
that some so distort the Torah as to claim that it is a mitzvah to
support the yeshivot.  Quite clearly, he views the midrash about
Yissachar and Zevulun as a da'at yachid (individual opinion) which is
not accepted.  Indeed, it seems clear that according to the Rambam, the
direct financial support of yeshivot would come under the category of
"lifnei iver lo titen michshol" (putting a stumbling block in front of
the blind).  This position is not widely accepted, and I too have
transgressed it.  However, his position is quite clear, and should not
be misrepresented.

>Talmudic statements that specifically refer to the "custom" of the "merchant"
>supporting the one who studies Torah

The Talmud and Rambam clearly mandates certain forms of indirect
financial support for a Talmid Chacham(scholar).  These include being
exempt from all communal taxes, as well as having certain priority in
commercial transactions.  One permitted, even encouraged form of
support, is for the merchant to actively trade on behalf of the talmid
chacham, using capital provided by the talmid chacham.  What the Rambam
strongly objects to is the direct financial support of a Talmid chacham.

 The early controversy was over the payment for individuals who were
devoting themselves to the community.  That is, how the SHela Hakadosh
could be paid for being the Rav of Frankfurt.  Given current communal
needs, most agree with the of a variety of communal functionaries,
whether communal ravs or day school teachers, because of the need of the

  However, the notion that adults with families should be paid merely
for learning is a very different one.  When the Kovno Kollel was
established by R.  Israel Salanter, he was attacked by many precisely
for this point.  His argument was that the need for well trained
communal leaders mandated this drastic action. The justification was
that these individuals would eventually serve the community, not that
because they sat and learned they should be supported.

    The recent kollel phenomena is quite different.  When the position
is argued that the entire haredi community should learn in kollel, this
is a position that has, AFAIK, never before existed.  The arguments used
to support the payment of communal functionaries do not justify the
payment of someone who is learning for his own sake, rather than for the
specific sake of serving the community.

    One last practical point.  One of the Rambam's main objections to
payment for Torah learning or teaching was that it reduced Torah to just
a profession, just like any other (my son the doctor or my son the
rabbi).  The honor of Torah is thereby reduced in the eyes of the
outside world.  Furthermore, by becoming financially dependent, the
integrity of the recipient is compromised.

    It is clear that the Rambam's fears have been realized.  The non
haredi community thinks that the haredim's main goal is to get money for
their yeshivot. To them, a Rosh yeshiva is one whose profession is to
raise money, rather than the furtherance of Torah.  Furthermore, their
integrity has been compromised.  In the United States, we have seen the
Pell grant scandals, among others.  In Israel, in addition to the Aryeh
Deri affair, it is a commonplace belief that to get the haredi parties
to agree, one merely has to give more money to the yeshivot. This has
been a real bizayon hatorah, exactly as the Rambam predicted.
     There is now a far greater proportion of Jews devoting themselves
to intensive Torah study, but also a far greater proportion of Jews who
view the Torah community with disdain.  The Rambam would suggest that
the financial needs of the kollelim relate the two phenomena.  Perhaps a
rethinking of the notion that anyone who wants to learn should be
supported by the community is in order.

Meir Shinnar


From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 96 1:30:26 IST
Subject: Love Your Neighbor

Linda Levi writes:
> Carl and Adina's posting makes me (and I'm sure most of us) very
> sad. This level of categorization in Israel- and the way charedi and
> mizrachi camps disparage each other is far worse than I'd imagined. I
> remember having a problem with not fitting into any of the "boxes" many
> years ago, when I was considering aliya, and discarding the idea- mostly
> because of how uncomfortable I felt about this. Sounds much worse now.

First of all I'd like to thank you for writing this to the list, because
after I posted the original message I got several private responses.
With one exception, all the Israeli ones were in agreement with what I'd
written and all the chu"l ones were reactions like yours but in much
harsher terms.

There's only one catch.  I didn't intend my post to be used by those
list members in galus (exile) as justification to continue to stay
there.  I have very strong feelings about the importance (both in
halachic and in practical terms) of fruhm Jews making aliya (I submitted
a lengthy post on why it's halachically important to make aliya around
Tisha B'Av) and a good portion of my spare time is devoted to
encouraging and assisting new and potential olim.  I wrote what I did in
the hope that someone would have ideas for a solution.  How can those of
us who are uncomfortable with being categorized here continue to
straddle the fence? And even if we can do it, can we enable our children
(who are subject to much stronger peer pressure) to do it? And for those
of you in chul who feel the way I do and the way the Israelis who wrote
me privately do, what would it take to get you to consider coming on
aliya? I'm not talking about career-wise - I'm talking about in terms of
fruhmkeit and socially.  Because there has been *some* movement in this
area, although I think it's been too slow for those of us who are
concerned about this issue.  And the more of us who are here, the better
the chance that we can make a difference.

> I'm not a spokesperson for "multi-denominational achdus".  I find that
> some categorization IS necessary- mostly when it comes to dating and
> making shidduchim and choosing schools- we each have the right to feel
> good about our differences, choose our own roads, and use our unique
> attributes for the good of Clal Yisroel.
> But we CAN say "I'm a little different from my neighbor when it comes to
> lifestyle and hashkafa- but we still work together and respect each
> other, and as long as we're all trying to serve Hashem the best way we
> can, we're on the same team." The Torah instructs all shomri mitzvos to
> have this attitude.  (I won't go so far to say that we must have that
> attitude about all people or even all Jews- though I know many disagree
> with me on that...)

This was the attitude I grew up with.  A Jew was a Jew and a fruhm Jew
was a fruhm Jew and you didn't refuse to let your kids play at the
Kosher, Shomer Shabbos neighbor's house because the mother wore socks in
the summer instead of hose (yes I heard a story like that recently).

> In America- (with a few exceptions in NY)- this spirit (of Orthodox
> unity) is regularly encouraged by many of our gedolim. Sometimes we see
> each other as elitists and recognize only the problems- but - take
> heart- I've seen several out-of-town communities that are succeeding and
> where room for optimism remains.  

Until you got to this last paragraph I agreed with you 100%.  I can't
really disagree with the last paragraph either but it bothered me.  What
the last paragraph said to me, and frankly it's kind of frightening in
terms of potential schisms in Am Yisrael, is that any place where there
are bli ayin hara lots of us, we will go off into our four amma (cubit)
boxes and categorize ourselves.  If that's correct, other cities in the
US (Chicago?  LA?) could well be heading in New York's direction and we
here in Israel could chas v'shalom be beyond hope.  Bayis Sheini (the
Second Temple) was destroyed because of sinas chinam (unwarranted
hatred).  Let's not let it chas v'shalom happen again.

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


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 96 17:16:00 -0500
Subject: Re: Mistakes in Torah Reading

> 1. the mistake i made did not change any letters, but only vowels
> (the shva under the nun was read incorrectly, as i said a tzere
> there). 2. the meaning of the PHRASE was not changed, whether your
> 'eye' or 'eyes' have no pity on your belongings, in both cases the
> true meaning is the same: 'never mind your belongings' (in the words
> of the JPS translation).
> this was the major "eye opener" ;-) to me, i had never heard of
> the 'change of meaning' rule being applied to a phrase, rather than
> an individual word.

Both of these are very big "chidushim" (novel interpretations of
the law) and I would greatly appreciate if you could ask Rabbi Henkin
for some sources  on them.  

> 3. the reading was completed, and it would have been an 'Avsha milta'
> (a big tumult?) and a tircha detzibura (bothersome to the
> congregation) to reread half the parasha.

 Here I think he is on more solid ground,  but a source quotation
 would be welcome in this case as well.
<gershon.dubin@...>        |
http://www.medtechnet.com/~dubinG   |


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 96 18:13:05 -0800
Subject: Tamar

In the discussion about the ages of Yehuda's sons there was a mention of
Tamar's age.  I remember learning (but I cannot remember the source)
that Tamar was Shem's daughter.  That would make here age very
interesting.  Is there anyone out there who is familiar with this.



End of Volume 22 Issue 84