Volume 25 Number 15
                       Produced: Wed Nov 13  1:24:48 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Brachot for Doctors
         [Lisa Halpern]
         [WIlliam Page]
Did Dovid Hamelech commit a sin?
         [Adina and Carl Sherer]
Did Yaakov Do Wrong?
         [Yisrael Medad ]
Dogma in Judaism (2)
         [Kibi Hofmann, Russell Hendel]
King David
         [Searle Mitnick]
Orthodox Forum book
         [Shalom Carmy]
Psychology of Belief (2)
         [Solomon Schimmel, Russell Hendel]


From: <ohayonlm@...> (Lisa Halpern)
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 1996 20:29:53 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Brachot for Doctors

Are there any brachot that medical professionals make before performing 
medical procedures (e.g., surgery)?
Thank you,
Lisa Halpern 


From: WIlliam Page <Page@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 09:05:25 -0600
Subject: Breadmakers

Lisa Halpern wrote:
"My husband and I are wondering what opinions exist about
whether one may set a breadmaker to make fresh challah on
the 2nd day of yom tov."

This idea is not practical, even apart from the halachah, because the
raw eggs would almost certainly spoil during the delay.  It's unwise to
use a timer when you're using a bread machine to bake challah.  The
machine's main advantage is that it makes the dough quickly (for me,
usually on Friday morning) with no mess.

Bill Page


From: Adina and Carl Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 22:57:19 +0000
Subject: Did Dovid Hamelech commit a sin?

Yussie Englander writes:

> Regarding Joe Goldman and Gilad Gevaryahu who have brought up the
> question of whether Dovid Hamelech sinned or not. Let me put in my
> thoughts. If I am correct, I dont know how many, but Dovid Hamelech did
> commit one aveirah that comes to mind. He didnt show proper respect for
> another king. If you recall, When Shaul Hamelech was chasing Dovid in
> order to kill him, he had chased Dovid into a cave. Unknowingly, Shaul
> entered that cave and layed down to sleep. When he was asleep, Dovid cut
> off a piece of his robe to prove to Shaul that he could have killed him,
> but didnt. In that respect, Dovid did not show proper respect for Shaul,
> who was the king at that time. It is said that because of this incident,
> Dovid, for the rest of his life, would never feel warm, no matter how
> many layers of clothing he had put on. I dont know the exact location in
> Tanach this is found, but if I am worng about this, please let me know.

The incident of Dovid cutting Shaul's cloak is in 1 Samuel 24,5.  The 
connection between that incident and Dovid's chills is in a Medrash 
brought by Rashi (amongst others) in 1 Melachim 1,1.

-- Carl Sherer

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

Carl and Adina Sherer


From: <isrmedia@...> (Yisrael Medad )
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 96 06:27:02 PST
Subject: Did Yaakov Do Wrong?

Further to my previous close reading of the text of this week's Parsha,
Toldot, we should ask: did Yaakov do wrong?  According to the command of
his father, 28:2, he was to go to Paden Aram and *take* from there a
wife.  But did he?  As is recorded in 29:19, Yaakov doesn't *take* for
it is Lavan who *gives*.  And what does Yaakov receive?  Leah (instead
of Rachel).  If we are looking for a reason for his being cheated, we
could say that since Yaakov didn't follow through fully the exact
instructions of his father, that is, in not *taking*, he ended up
marrying the person he did not originally intend to marry.
 Going back to verse 28:9, we see that Esav *took* his wife, thus being
an obedient son even though he wasn't explicitly told to do so.  Perhaps
that is why the Medrash comments that his wife's name was Machlat,
indicating that Esav did some sort of repentance and therefore [some
of?] his sins were forgiven - from the root "mchl"
 Yisrael Medad 
E-mail: isrmedia


From: <ahofmann@...> (Kibi Hofmann)
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 16:11:04 +0200
Subject: Dogma in Judaism

Ronald Cohen wites in mj 25#11

> Chapter 3 of Rambam's Hilchot Teschuvah raises some issues I have 
> not seen discussed much.  It follows parsha Helek in Sanhedrin 10:1 
> and his commentary there as well.  Paragraph 6 says "The following 
> individuals do not have a portion in the world to come.  Rather they 
> are cut off and they are judged for their great wickedness and sins 
> forever and ever: the MINIM, the EPICURSIM, DENIERS OF THE TORAH, 
> MOSHIAH, rebels, those who cause the many to sin, those who separate 
[stuff deleted]
> Emphasis is added for those that involve thought or faith.

> Now I always heard contrasts between Judaism and Christianity, say, 
> that (observant) Jews serve G'd and follow the mitzvot, whereas all 
> that matters to Christians is faith.  Here though it seems, at least 
> as far as olam haba goes, what matters is faith and not actions, 

Not necessarily so. Firstly, there are a number of things mentioned
which are obviously actions. Secondly, with only a small amount of
imagination you can read the EMPHASISED ones as *actively* denying
i.e. going out and preaching various heresies. It is not altogether
clear if doubting them in your *heart* would preclude you from olam habo
(world to come) which is generally the case with dogma.

Clearly, the Rambam states that the first mitzva is to "know" that there
is a G-d, but in truth this is a basis to the performance of other
mitzvos, and not the be all and end all. The message underlying
christian dogma was that as long as you believed certain (often
extremely abstruse) declarations to be true, you would go to heaven.
This is clearly not the case here. In any case, there is a clear
distinction between Christianity and Judaism: In Judaism all are
eligible for "heaven" except those whose actions exclude them. In
Christianity all are damned by the fact of original sin, until they at
least accept certain dogmatic statements and are magically saved.

> also.  I also heard growing up the statements that Judaism does not 
> have Dogma. Clearly that is not so, but where did the modern idea 
> come from that Jews are free to form their own opinions on things 
> like resurrection, etc.  Do any gadolim argue against this statement 
> of Rambam and the Mishna, that seems to put many modern Jews outside 
> the bounds of acceptable Jewish thought?

What is acceptable thought? There are acceptable statements, and the
only reasons that I can think of for people having a different opinion
are that over the years we have forgotten this, but it wasn't Rambam who
invented the idea that denying resurrection is a bad thing - he got it
from Perek Chalek in Sanhedrin, which is not something many gedolim are
likely to argue against :-)

> I also find it interesting that lashon hara falls here, which is so 
> difficult for many to avoid, and separating oneself from the 
> community, which could apply to some religious people as well as to 
> those who are not.

This really depends on your definition of religious :-) Moreover, it
depends on your definition of "the community" - this is an interesting
question: If there are two groups one "more religious" and one "less"
which split from each other - are any guilty of separating from a
community. If not, then can we hold this against any one person who
leaves "our" community nowadays, since he issurely conceptually joining
some other.....

Chodesh Tov

From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 19:33:29 -0500
Subject: Dogma in Judaism

I am making one small point to Ronald Cohen's big question:

"If Judaism is not fundamentally dogmatic but action oriented then why
e.g are people who deny the resurrection or the coming of Mesiah have no
share in the next world"

My claim is the following: A person who doesn't believe in say the
resurrection but nevertheless meticulously does all Mitzvoth because God
commanded them, DOES in my opinion have a share in the next world. BUT,
a person who isn't that careful about MITZVOTH (even if all he avoids
are "minor mitzvoth" like going to MInyan ) does not have a share in the
next world

In other words: Lack of belief only denys you a share in the afterlife
when that lack of belief is COUPLED with lack of observance. If such is
the case then Ronald would have an answer to his question.

I don't have strong proof for this but I do have some support: The
rambam in Repentance clearly gives reasons for various people losing
their share in the next world: e.g. "...because he separates himself
from the community (another question of Ronalds) therefore he is not
there to do repentance with them..."  It follows, that the act of
separation is not what causes the denial of share in the afterlife but
rather the act of separation is a catalyst for more serious things (like
not doing Teshuva).

If we extend this "reason for losing the afterlife share" approach to
the other categories then we would be able to derive the conclusion I
mentioned above: e.g. Since he denies the resurrection he does not see
any reward past this world and therefore if times are hard he will not
be motivated to do Mitzvoth and will THEN lose his share.

Although this is only a speculation I believe reading these 24
categories in LIGHT OF WHY THEY ARE SO SERIOUS is a good approach with
much merit.

Russell Hendel, Phd, ASA, rhendel @ mcs drexel edu


From: <smitnick@...> (Searle Mitnick)
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 1996 07:23:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: King David

How can there be a question about whether King David sinned? He says to
Nathan: "I have sinned before the Lord." Case closed!!


From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 10:46:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Orthodox Forum book

Let me inform Seth Kadish and others that the book about which he


has appeared with Jason Aronson Press.


From: Solomon Schimmel <sschimme@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 09:22:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Psychology of Belief

Seth Kadish wrote:

       " 2.  In reply to Sol Schimmel's query on the dogma of "Torah
me-Sinai" versus academic biblical scholarship (which I also saw several
times, in different formulations, on the "H-JUDAIC" list):
        A personal quip: It rubs me the wrong way that Schimmel seems
interested in the problem only from the perspective of the sociology of
Traditional/Orthodox Jews, and not at all in terms of people who have
tried to come to grips with the problem directly on its own merits.  It
is no secret that there has long been tension between academic
scholarship of Bible/Judaism versus traditional Jewish belief.  But it
has been equally true that, ever since the beginning of modern academic
scholarship of Judaica, there have been outstanding academic scholars
who also adhered to traditional assumptions and belief systems, and who
attempted to bridge the gap and show how it is possible to live in both
        Most recently, there have been a number of articles published
dealing with the relationship between traditional/Orthodox Judaism and
academic Bible scholarship.  (Is Schimmel even aware of these?)..."


	Not only am I aware of the literature you cite, it is precisely
the writings of those and other scholars from the Torah U'Madda
orientation whose views I will be discussing in my paper at the American
Academy of Religion. The book you are alluding to was recently published
by Jason Aronson. It is edited by Shalom Carmy and included the papers
presented under the auspices of the Orthodox Forum. In addition to the
references you provided there is other relevant material in the
responses of modern orthodox thinkers to the two Commentary Magazine
symposia on Jewish Belief, the first in 1966, the second in 1996.

	As a psychologist I am interested in how people deal with
evidence and/or arguments that challenge their belief systems. I am also
interested in why they adhere to their belief systems. Third, I am
interested in the moral and ethical consequences of belief systems.
Fourth, I am interested in the relationship between belief systems and
community. I will not be able to address all of these questions in my
twenty minute oral presentation but do hope to elaborate upon them
eventually in an article. The fact that I am interested in psychological
and sociological factors that reinforce belief commitments does not mean
that I think that these are the only relevant factors in why people
believe what they believe.

	Among the modern orthodox scholars to whom I will make reference
in my paper are Shalom Carmy, Moshe Bernstein, Shnayer Leiman, Norman
Lamm, Marvin Fox, Mordechai Breuer, Lawrence Kaplan, David Berger,
David Schatz and Eliezer Berkowitz. In an expanded version of the talk I
will refer to others from the Torah U'Madda orientation as well.  

	Sol Schimmel

Solomon Schimmel, Ph.D
Hebrew College, 43 Hawes Street, Brookline, MA 02146
Tel: (617) 278-4946, Fax: (617) 734-9769
E-Mail: <sschimme@...>

From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 19:48:45 -0500
Subject: Psychology of Belief

I would like to briefly respond to questions #2 and #3 of Dr Schimmel's

I believe that modern scholars reject Torah MiSinai because they do not
have the analytic tools by which to understand the text--since they do
not understand the text they reject it--but they are really rejecting
only an improperly translated text.

How do I deal with Biblical Scholarship Questions? In the way just
indicated: I was fortunate to have learned basic fundamental techniques
on interpreting halacha and Midrash. I think the preservation of Judaism
requires the same.  I would encourage more indepth Talmud Torah that
regards Midrash and Halachah as emanating from deep well thought out

There are a variety of books and thoughts that deal with the above
approach: e.g
	Nechama Leibowithz on Rashi and Parshanuth
	Malbim on the grammatical treatment of Midrash Halacha
 	Rav Chayiims methods for understanding jewish Legal texts
	Rav Hirsch's symbolic methods for understanding Taamay Mitzvoth

The list could go on and include many books which defend our Torah as a
rational deep book--e.g. I could add Aviva Zornbergs recent book on
Genesis which deals with the human nature and emotional side of Biblical

I deeply believe that biblical scholars have ignored the above modern
approachs and that the only way we can preserve our identity is by

I hope others echo my belief also

Russell Jay Hendel, Phd, ASA rhendel @ mcs drexel edu


End of Volume 25 Issue 15