Volume 23 Number 37
                       Produced: Sat Mar  9 23:24:43 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Battered Women and Mikva Ladies.
Divrei Torah
         [Allie Berman]
G-d's Mercy and Sending away the Mother Bird
         [Steve Gindi]
Mailing Hamantaschen
         [Alan M. Gallatin]
Name "Yitzchak"
         [Al Silberman]
Reasons for Mitzvos
         [Micha Berger]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sat, 9 Mar 1996 23:22:59 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

Hello all,

This past week has been a bit of a problem with the system at
Shamash. I'm hoping that we have fixed the problems, and are back on a
stable period. I'm also not planning any trips this week, so I hope to
get to a bunch of the mail this week. I have noticed that very few
messages have come through <mail-jewish@...> this week. Later
tonight after I send out tonight's batch, I'll let you know what
messages from March are still in the queue, so if you sent me something
last week and it did not appear in an issue and is not in the queue, you
may want to resend it.

Avi Feldblum
Shamash Facilitator and mail-jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: Anonymous
Date: Sat, 9 Mar 1996 21:34:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Battered Women and Mikva Ladies.

	I have been reading the discussion on battered woman over the
past few months with out posting.  I was a battered wife (just recently
separated) and everything that Alana Suskin said ( in her March 2
posting) is true.  Women need help to get out of these situations.  Many
Rabbis and their wives told me to just make the marriage work.  They
knew that I was being abused physically and mentally!  People assume
that because we are all Orthodox Jews that things like this does not
happen (my, G-d willing, soon to be x-husband was learning full time in
a modern Yeshiva).
	The orthodox community has to accept that abuse is part of life
even for us.  They need to know how to recognize it (both physical and
mental).  They need to know that mental abuse also kills and destroys
lives.  Only one Rabbi was willing to help me get out of my marriage.
(I am still without a Get but at least I don't sleep in fear) You can't
blame a woman who is abused for not leaving if no one will help her.  I
would not have found it out of place if my mikva lady had said
something.  I would have been thrilled to get some support.
	Everyone is worried about saving marriages that are destroying
people.  We have to worry about saving people and then the marriages
will work.  Don't let our stupidity and unwillingness to accept abuse in
our community allow it to destroy more women and children.  Everyone has
to be educated.  (What is wrong with bringing it up in Kallah classes

	I am posting this without my name because the Bet Din that is 
handling the Get has said that I am not allowed to tell people that I was 
abused, so that my, G-d willing, soon to be x-husband can remarry! 


From: <berman@...> (Allie Berman)
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 1996 12:07:46 -0500
Subject: Divrei Torah

I need to present a Divrei Torah on the Torah portion of Bamidbar to the
congregation on my Bat Miztvah.  I need to know how it relates to modern
society and to an adult Bat Mizvah class.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Allie Berman (<berman@...>)


From: Steve Gindi <steve@...>
Date: Sat, 9 Mar 1996 20:29:57 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: G-d's Mercy and Sending away the Mother Bird

A discussion on this subject among other can be found at my Torah Web sight.

Emor - Torah and Kindness

     An ox or a sheep or a goat when it gives birth, it should be seven
days under its mother and from the eighth day on it will be accepted as
a sacrifice.  And an ox or goat her and her child can not be slaughtered
on the same day. Why should we worry about the suffering of animals?
After all they do not think.

In our Perasha We find two Mitzvot one following the other. We have a
Mitzvah not to slaughter an animal until it is eight days old. Second,
we are told not to slaughter a mother animal and her child on the same
day. In connection with these Pesukim we have a very important
discussion. Are Mitzvot just arbitrary or are they supposed to make
people merciful? We have a Midrash which tells us that many Mitzvot are
to instill mercy.

     Why is a baby's Brit Milah done on the eighth day? Since the Holy
One Blessed be He had mercy on the baby and waits until the child is
strong enough.  Just as G-d is Merciful to people he is merciful to
beasts. We know this from the Pasuk (in our Perasha) after the eighth
day an animal will be accepted as a sacrifice Not only that but we are
commanded not to slaughter a mother and its child on the same day. Just
as G-d is merciful to beasts he is merciful to fowl. Since we are
commanded to send away the mother bird if we need its eggs or chicks.

This Midrash is clearly of the opinion that many laws are
humanistic. This Midrash follows the same opinion as the
Targum. Apparently their existed a very old tradition that many laws in
the Torah were solely to instill the Jewish people with mercy. There is
an opinion in the Mishnah which says that it is forbidden to say that
the laws of the Torah are not to instill mercy.  Instead they are only

     Rabbi Yosi the son of Rabi Boon says those who make the attributes
of G-d into mercy are not doing good. That which we read in the Targum
'My nation Israel as much as I am merciful in heaven so you should be
merciful on earth, an ox or lamb do not slaughter her and her children
on the same day.' They (the Targum) are not doing good since they are
making the attributes of G-d into mercy.

There is a Mishnah which says that it is forbidden during prayer to say: On
the nest of a bird your mercy comes. Certain emoraim interpreted this to
mean that the laws of G-d are not to instill mercy but they are just rules.
Others explained that you can not say this because it is like saying G-d is
merciful to birds but not to me. Recently I heard an interesting explanation
on this Mishnah. According to Rabbi Sasoon of Blessed Memory. The phrase On
the nest of a bird your mercy comes was the opening words of a known prayer.
We refer to certain parts of the prayer as Aleynu Leshabayach or Modim.
Nobody would suggest that the words Aleynu Leshabayach refer only to those
two words. Every one knows that it refers to a two paragraph prayer.
Similarly the phrase On the nest of the Bird referred to a specific prayer
which was forbidden to say. Several hundred years later these prayers had
already disappeared and no one knew them. They had disappeared because it
was forbidden to say them. When the Gemarah has its discussion on the
Mishnah they did not have the song. Taking this into account we can
comfortably say that the Targum and the Midrash are correct in saying that the
laws of G-d are to instil mercy. It seems that they had a very reliable
tradition. We should be like G-d and worry about others, both people and
animals alike. 

I too apologize for the length.

Steve Gindi - NetMedia - Customer Services
Phone:  02-795-861 Fax:  02-793-524


From: Alan M. Gallatin <amg@...>
Date: Mon, 04 Mar 1996 15:33:51 -0500
Subject: Mailing Hamantaschen

It all started this evening when I called a friend to wish him a Happy
Purim.  He told me that he was busy making Hamantaschen and I
(half-jokingly) asked if he would mail me some.  Sounds simple... right?
No Halachic problem?  Wrong.  Given the recent history of mail between
us, we've got a real issue here...

You see, this same friend mailed me a Hanukkah gift back in December.  I
just received this gift earlier this week!  US Mail, first class,
postmarked back in December.  Go figure!  So, the question came up about
the Hamantaschen:

What happens if they are subject to some wierd delay in the mail and I
don't get them until the middle of Pesach?!?!?  What do I do with them?

And here's another one: What happens if I don't receieve them until
Shavuot?  They were in transit during Pesach... Who owned them?  One
answer which was offered was, "the post office."  That would set some
really scary precedent if everything we mailed was "owned" by the post
office.  If my friend still owned them, they would have been "sold"
prior to Pesach...  So whose Hamantaschen will I receive???

The funny part about all of this is that I believe this to be a genuine
concern, given the track record the US Postal Service has with
delievering to my building in New York City.  (I've considered writing a
letter to the USPS postmaster for NYC... and sending it FedEx to show my
lack of confidence in the mail!)  I am VERY curious as to what answers
lie out there.

An Easy Fast and a Joyous Purim to follow!!

Alan Gallatin <amg@...>


From: <asilberman@...> (Al Silberman)
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 09:58:47 -0500
Subject: Name "Yitzchak"

In MJ V23n28 Mark Farzan writes:

> Why at the end of Haftarah for Parsha Mishpatim the name of Itzhak is
> spelled with a "seen" instead of "tzadi".

The verbs "tzachak" and "sachak" appear many times in Tanach. "Tzachak"
occurs 15 times and "Sachak" occurs 51 times. Both have the same meaning; a
"tzaddi" and "seen" are interchangeable consonants since they are formed
from the same part of the mouth. I would like to offer up the following

The form "tzachak" is used exclusively until the time of the Shoftim
(Judges). The form "sachak" is used exclusively in the seforim written
during the first Temple. Both forms appear in the seforim written after the
destruction of the first Temple.

Thus, the subject name appears in the Torah and Yehoshua as Yitzchak. It
appears exclusively as Yischak in Tehillim, Amos and Yirmiyahu. It appears
again as Yitzchak in M'lochim (Kings) and Divrei Hayomim (Chronicles).

The following are to be noted:

1.      Both forms are used in the same posuk in Shoftim (Judges) 16:25.
See Malbim for his explanation.

2.      There is a dispute in Bava Basra 14b (and following folios) dealing
with Iyov's era (when he lived or when the sefer was written). Iyov uses
"sachak" exclusively.

3.      Tehillim 105:9 and 1 Divrei Hayomim 16:16 are the same exact posuk
with variant spellings of the subject name.


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 08:47:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Reasons for Mitzvos

Aharon Manne writes:
> 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.

Carl Sherer comments:
: I've always had trouble reconciling this with the Gemara's statement
: in Brachos that someone who davens "al kan tzipor yagiu rachamecha"
: (that Hashem has mercy on the bird's nest) is silenced (meshatkin osso
: in the words of the Gemara) because Hashem's mitzvos are gzeiros (decrees)
: for which we are not supposed to seek reasons.

Although the case of shiluach haken makes it particularly obvious, since
that's the case in Brachos, the principle the Gemara uses does not talk
about SH in particular. The Gemara could be used to repudiate the basis
of the entire Sefer Hachinuch: How can you have a book on the reasons of
various mitzvos if the Gemara tells us not to seek reasons? For that
matter, how could Hirsch write Horeb, and how many sections does the
Rambam begin with "halachah" 1:1 is really the reason for the mitzvah?

I think we should distinguish between ta'amei hamitzvos, literally "the
taste of the mitzvos" and the reason for a mitzvah. In other words,
between seeking A reason and seeking THE reason.

I think the Gemara's talking about seeking THE reason for a mitzvah.
This is an impossible quest, since a finite mind can not encompass
G-d's infinite "Reason" for anything.

What happens instead is Reform. Once you purport to know the reason
for a mitzvah, you will decide when and how to perform it. Hashem's
original intent is lost. (For example, once Reform decided that
Kashrus was about eating healthy, the natural conclusion was that
kashrus today meant refraining from smoking. Smoking poses far
greater threats today that the chance of trichenonsis (sp?) from

My father quoted the Rav (R YB Soloveitchik zt"l) a number of times
that EVERY mitzvah has elements of chok (not comprehensible law).
Even "lo tirtzach", do not murder. With our own minds, can we
determine if this should include abortion, or euthanasia, or organ
donation in the case of brain death? All of these require studying
the postulates given to us at Sinai.

THE reason is a chok. That shouldn't stop us from looking for A
reason, something to bring some elements of the mitzvah down to us
on an emotional and behavioral level. We say "mitzvah einah tzrichah
kavanah", "a mitzvah does not require intent", but implied in this
is still that having kavanah is preferable. And without some ta'am,
what does this kavanah consist of? What are you thinking about,
meditating on?

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>


End of Volume 23 Issue 37