Volume 22 Number 85
                       Produced: Wed Jan 17 23:42:24 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Neil Parks]
Erev Rav (2)
         [Edwin Frankel, David Lilienthal]
God running the show
         [Jay & Dena-Landowne Bailey]
Matityahu Cohen Gadol killing the traitor
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Medical opinions and Halachah
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
         [George Max Saiger]
When Bad Things Happen
         [Sam Saal]
When Bad Things Happen...
         [David Lilienthal]


From: Neil Parks <nparks@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 96 13:09:10 EDT
Subject: Re: 1948

>From: <er@...> (Elie Rosenfeld)
>I think we should be very leery of trying to learn anything by matching
>years on the Jewish and secular calendars.  Given the (alleged) event
>that the secular calendar counts from, how can dates on that calendar
>possibly have halachic - or even aggadic - significance?

An interesting point.  I have my own idea on how to answer that

The non-Jewish world bases its calendar on what was thought to be the
birth of the Founder of Xianity.  But today, most non-Jews admit that
they are off by a few years.  So how did the world's calendar come to be
the way it is?

I believe that Ha-Shem arranged the calendar of the nations of the world
so that in the year that the world calls "1948", we, the heirs of
Avrohom Avinu, would gain control of the land that was promised to the
patriarch who was born in the "real" 1948.

We know that Ha-Shem reserved Yom Ha-Atzmaut for us, because in the days
of Pesach we can find pointers to other significant days of our
calendar.  So if he reserved the day of the week (same as 7th day of
Pesach), then he reserved the year also, and arranged the calendar of
the world to let everyone know it.

(Just my own unsupported theory.  Please feel free to disagree.)

     NEIL PARKS  Beachwood, Ohio    mailto://<nparks@...>


From: <frankele@...> (Edwin Frankel)
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 20:05:28 -0100
Subject: Erev Rav

D'n Russler writes,

>At the risk of opening up a can of worms, I may mention that there are
>many -- no-kipah, or knitted, or streimel -- who, although they appear
>to be Jews, aren't really -- they're Erev Rav. Although NO ONE CAN POINT
>A FINGER AT A SPECIFICNY PERSON and say "(s)he's Erev Rav", many
>Achronim (the Gr'a in Kol HaTur, Baal HaTanya, R. Nahman, The Hida, the
>RaSHaSH), not to mention Rav Avraham Yitzhak Kook zatz"l wrote that the
>Erev Rav are to be the majority of what appears to be jews in the
>generation just before Moshiah -- may he come speedily, NOW!

I'm not sure where you are driving.  If you are trying to castigate Jews
who do not agree with your view points, or are not as frum as you would
desire, calling them erev rav is a heck of a way to encourage their
further involvement.

If you are speaking of descendants of the erev rav who left Egypt, I
wonder how any Jews today could discriminate between full blooded Jews
and others who have such a little bit of non-Jewish blood in them that
any percentage that remains would be insignificant, batel b'shishim if
not more, (:>) - not to mention the fact that according to many of the
mefarshim, even the erev rav was mekabel Torah at Sinai.

You speak of Jewish unity and also mention erev rav in practically
adjacent sentences.  I don't understand you.  I, too, strongly believe
in the needs and advantges of caring for klal Yisrael.  However, I can
easily distinguish between unity, conformity and identical behavior.
Monolateral behavior has never been prevalent in Jewish life, as can be
observed in the variety of minhagim that all frum Jews seem to recognize
as halachically acceptable, and as can be seen in the machlokot of the
Mishna and Talmud, or in the differences for example among the poskim in
their halachic decisions.

So, in sum, what are you trying to say?

Ed Frankel

From: <lili1079@...> (David Lilienthal)
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 1996 17:36:32 +0100 (MET)
Subject: Erev Rav

> > mizr
> many -- no-kipah, or knitted, or streimel -- who, although they appear
> to be Jews, aren't really -- they're Erev Rav. Although NO ONE CAN POINT
> A FINGER AT A SPECIFICNY PERSON and say "(s)he's Erev Rav", many
> Achronim (the Gr'a in Kol HaTur, Baal HaTanya, R. Nahman, The Hida, the
> RaSHaSH), not to mention Rav Avraham Yitzhak Kook zatz"l wrote that the
> Erev Rav are to be the majority of what appears to be jews in the

When reading the above I felt THE FINGER POINTED AT ME TOO > generation
just before Moshiah -- may he come speedily, NOW! - [does that not mean
that three fingers were pointing to the writer?] Please explain what the
term Erev Rav means in this context. And if I can help bring the Moshiah
speedily, NOW, in my way, zhould I be condemned for that?

David Lilienthal


From: <jaydena@...> (Jay & Dena-Landowne Bailey)
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 96 20:46:20 PST
Subject: God running the show

Regarding good things happening to bad people, Aryeh Frimer wrote, (and
I'm sorry for the lengthy quote, but it really sums up his sentiment):

"I've read Kushner's sensitive book "When bad things happen to good
people" and unfortunately his solution is that the Almighty is not in
control. This runs counter to the Traditional position, expressed by the
prophets of "yotzer ohr u-vorei hoshech oseh shalom uvorei ra" (creator
of light and darkness, maker of peace and creator of all)...
....In any case, we Jews maintain that G-d is the creator of all and thus
responsible and in control. The traditional position of "hester panim"
(hidden face) suggests that G-d chooses/wills to stand aside. Kushner on
the other hand, suggests that G-d has no control. That from a
traditional perspective negates G-ds omnipotence and is hence IMHO falls
under the category of apikursut."

Aryeh has made a series of illogical leaps here and completely ignores
centuries of philosophic thought, Jewish and otherwise (dare I even
mention that in this forum?), that accepts God's role as creator, but
then suggests that he is letting the world run along.

Who says this? The Rambam, for example. It's a great passage -- Sh'mona
Prakim, VIII -- worth reading. Here's the gist of it: "[If you throw a
stone into the air, it will fall, as] God decreed that the earth and all
that goes to make it up should be the center of attraction...but it is
wrong to suppose that when a certain part of earth is thrown upward, God
wills at that very moment that it should fall... [We believe that] the
Divine Will ordained everything at Creation, and that all things, at all
times, are regulated by the laws of nature, and run their course, as
Solomon said "As it was, so it will ever be, as it was made so it
continues, and there is nothing new under the sun..."

In other words, Yotzer Ohr O'vorei Choshech/Ra is just fine. But leave
it at that. The leap from being Creator to Mr. Frimer's "In any case, we
Jews maintain that G-d is the creator of all and thus responsible and in
control." is one that no logic professor would accept.

God's "stepping back" is popular among many, many thinkers, and does not
run against anything *frum* unless one has been taught to simplistically
accept that God is omnipotent so everything is under His control. Of
course it is potentially His to do with as He will, and His visible,
direct contact is what we call a *miracle.*

But if God originally -- at Maaseh Breshit -- set up the winds to blow
in a certain fashion, and you happen, by your *free choice* to be
driving by when a branch falls from a tree and smashes your hood because
the physical strain on the branch was too much, there is no reason to
have to attribute God's direct hand in ruining your car. Murderers have
free choice. The guy who didn't check the U-tube (or whatever it was) on
the Challenger space shuttle was responsible for it exploding. And if it
looked fine to him, don't ask God -- ask the manufacturer of the
ring. Except for those "eerie" situations, you can always trace a "bad
thing" back to a physical source.

God set up a way that the world works -- and must work. While most of us
recognize His potential for intervention, and pray for it, we don't have
to assume that the roadkill we notice as we drive by was sent as a
message from God. Animals were not made with car-fearing instincts and
that's that. Why THIS animal? Why HERE? Well, it lives in a hole 3 feet
away and it was hungry. Why did you step on a thumb tack? Someone left
it there or did not exert enough pressure to make it stay on the
bulletin board.

And to bring this back to the original question (good things to bad
people, etc.), we can lament that God did not *intercede* for the
Tzadik, but the Mafioso worked hard for his fortune and depends on his
skill. What happens to him up above is another story.

              Jay & Dena-Landowne Bailey
  Rechov Rimon 40/1 <> PO Box 1076 <> Efrat, Israel
Phone/Fax: 02/9931903 <> E-mail:<jaydena@...>


From: <iir@...>@huji.ac.il (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 96 19:23:15
Subject: Re: Matityahu Cohen Gadol killing the traitor

I quote (my unofficial translation):

Shulchan Oruch (Code of Jewish Law)
Yoreh Deah (Laws for kosher life style)
Hilchos Avodas Cochavim (laws concerning idol worship)
Siman (chapter) 158, seif (paragraph) 2

The Rama says that nowadays if you catch a Jew worshipping
    an idol, you are moiridin velo maalin
    (lock him up and throw away the key? :-)).
The Mechaber says that during the time of the Beit Hamikdash,
    if you could, you gave him saif (chopped his head off?).
IMHO, Matityahu simply followed the Shulchan Aruch.



From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996 13:13:45 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Medical opinions and Halachah

IN MJ22N74, we find:
"David Riceman writes:
'A friend once asked me this, and I'll translate it into a current
discussion.  We know that doctors change their advice seasonally.  Is
it proper to inscribe current medical consensus as halacha when we
expect it to change any year?'"

A very clear source on the question of accepting current medical opinion
(albeit in a different context) is a seminal article by Rav Chaim
Zimmerman, which appeared in *Intercom*, the journal of the Association
of Orthodox Jewish Scientists, in January 1970. There, Rav Zimmerman
examines the definition of what is considered to be death.  Rav
Zimmerman states that, given the medical techniques available IN THAT
GENERATION, if a person can be revived, the person is considered alive,
whereas if, given the present techniques available, the person could not
be revived, that person is considered dead. Thus (and I quote from Rav
Zimmerman), "it follows that the status of *R'tzicha* (i.e., murder -
SH) and the application of *Pikuach Nefesh* (i.e., danger to human life
- SH) *change from generation to generation*" (emphasis in the

           Shmuel Himelstein


From: George Max Saiger <gmsaiger@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 13:45:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Nefesh

Some time ago, a poster named Andy Goldfinger described an organization
of frum psychotherapists called "Nefesh".  He promised, b'li neder
(vowlessly--Avi, are you sure you've got the rule right about what to
translate??)--Anyhow, he promised to find and post and address through
which this organization could be contacted.  If that has happened in the
meantime, I missed it.  But I would like to make contact.  So could
Andy--or anybody else who knows--(re)post the address, electronic or

Shabbat Shalom,
George Saiger


From: Sam Saal <saal@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 12:33:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject: re: When Bad Things Happen

Aryeh (F66235%<BARILAN.bitnet@...>), Yosef
(<sbechhof@...>), and Steve
(schulman.ims%x400#@geis.geis.com) addressed theological problems with
Kushner's "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." They noted the same
problems I saw in the book. As a cathartic exercise for a greiving parent
dealing with the terrible tragedy of the horrible death of a child, the
book is OK. As theology, it misses the mark.

Sam Saal       <saal@...>
Vayiphtach HaShem et Peah haAtone

From: <lili1079@...> (David Lilienthal)
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 1996 17:55:14 +0100 (MET)
Subject: When Bad Things Happen...

Aryeh Frimer wrote on Thu, 11 Jan 96:

> Kushner on
> the other hand, suggests that G-d has no control. That from a
> traditional perspective negates G-ds omnipotence and is hence IMHO falls
> under the category of apikursut.
>      As Eli Wiesel has suggested I'd rather live with a good question
> than a bad/unacceptable answer.

Kushner certainly transgresses the traditional boundaries if our
understanding of G'd. But I don't think he wrote a book of theology or a
halachic work. What if you consider it a midrashic text, directed to
people in a very specific situation? After all, is there not a great
difference between halacha and aggada, and does his book not belong in
the second category? And as such, yes it is most helpful and once people
have recovered from their traumatic experience, they too, through proper
guidance, realize that his answer is not THE Jewish answer. Like
medicine which is poisonous if you are healthy but helps if you are
sick, so Kushner has given many a way of recovering and finding their
way to live with the sometimes emotionally unsatisfactory answers of
Chazal (and don't flame me for that).

David Lilienthal


End of Volume 22 Issue 85