Volume 25 Number 23
                       Produced: Sat Nov 23 21:48:39 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Having a Share in the World to Come
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
How to get to heaven (Was: Dogma in Judaism)
         [Kibi Hofmann]
In search of Moses' grave?
         [Mottel Gutnick]
Shiduch dating system


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 1996 12:56:19 -0500
Subject: Having a Share in the World to Come

       Much discussion has centered around who does and who doesn't have
a share in Olam Haba (the World to Come).  What I'd like to know is, why
is the language used to describe one's life in Olam Haba "a share?"  Why
don't the original sources just say, "The following types of people
won't live in the World to Come", or maybe "The following types of
people won't be in the World to Come?"
       There's something about the use of the word "helek" ("share,"
"portion") in the original that makes me wonder if some deeper meaning
is involved, and if it is connected to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai's
statement that "Israel will never see the face of Gehenna (hell)."
        Perhaps the meaning of all this is that those who don't believe
or do certain things lose a portion/share in Olam Haba, but ONLY a
portion of what could be theirs.  The rest -- the other portion/share --
is theirs, as it says, "All Israel has a share in the World to Come."
    Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>)


From: <ahofmann@...> (Kibi Hofmann)
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 1996 18:43:37 +0200
Subject: How to get to heaven (Was: Dogma in Judaism)

Russell Hendel writes in mj 25 #15:

> 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

I'm not clear about how much you are adding in with the "say". Do you
mean *just* resurrection or also e.g. belief in G-d. According to
Rambam, belief in G-d is itself a Mitzva so you couldn't both not
believe in G-d and be meticulous in all the mitzvot.

Denying G-d is generally what we would understand from "minim" which is
another group Rambam excludes from the next world. So only certain of
the groups are going to fit your hypothesis.

> 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.

I think the 24 categories means the Rambam's fuller explanation of the
categories mentioned in Teshuva 3:6. However, there he also includes
those who sin in public, those who shed blood, those who tell lashon
hara and those who extend their foreskins. While I grant that there can
be clear reasons why these all make it difficult to do teshuva, the
basis of them all seems to be a rejection of *halachot*.

Dr. Hendel seems to suggest that the particular actions are so bad only
because of what they would lead to, not in and of themselves - however,
in the mishna in Avot, R. Elazar HaModa'i says "....one who annuls the
b'ris of Abraham and one who brazenly flouts the Torah (in public),
*even though* he has in his hand Torah and Good deeds, has no share in
the world to come".

To me it seems that Jewish "dogma" in the sense of things to be
*believed* in order to get to heaven, does not exist. All of the
"unbelievers" mentioned in Rambam's list can be understood as people who
take action to demonstrate their "unbelief" - at least speaking,
possibly leading others astray. There are clear mitzvot about not
"misleading the blind" and making others sin, so it is quite possible to
read all the people who are denied the afterlife as specific "overei
aveira" (sinners) not non-specific "lack of dogma people"

Sorry to harp on the same subject, but the idea of dogma is very alien 
and christian to me.



From: Mottel Gutnick <MottelG@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 04:16:43 AEDT
Subject: In search of Moses' grave?

Just a brief self-intro: I am Mottel Gutnick of Melbourne, Australia.  I
have just recently rejoined this list after a long absence. (Those
people who once corresponded with me privately on certain topics (Jewish
calendar / zemaney-hayom in halacha) arising from some of my posts about
a year ago: please note my new e-mail address.)

A few days ago I heard a most extraodinary news item on an Australian
national radio news network -- for ozzies reading this, it was on ABC
radio's PNN (Parliamentary and News Network). The news item was
undoubtedly taken from one of the overseas wire services, but I have not
seen/heard any follow-up media reports since, so I am wondering what
others may know about this:

The story was that a group of Jewish mystics in Israel were seeking
permission from both the Israeli and Jordanian governments to mount a
search for Moses' grave in the area of Mt. Nebo. They claim to have
found pointers in the Kabbalah to guide them in their search for the
location of the grave. Apparently preliminary indications from both
governments indicate that the request is likely to be treated
favourably. (No doubt certain ministry officials on both sides of the
Jordan are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of all those
tourist dollars such a venture might attract -- especially, but not
necessarily only, if it succeeds.)

But surely these "mystics" believe in the traditional comentaries who
tell us that the location of Moses' grave was deliberately concealed so
that it should not become a holy shrine of pilgrimmage and a focus to
those who would deify national heroes. Being such an unparallelled hero,
leader and teacher, who fashioned a nation out of escaped slaves, gave
them God's laws to live by and instituted an enlightened system of
government, the threat of such a development may have been a very grave
one (no pun intended) in Moses' case -- especially with the episode of
the golden calf still within living memory. (Sorry, I don't have the
source, but the substance of this comment (on Deut. 34:6) is well

And according to Rashi (loc. cit.), Moses was buried by God, not by any
other human person. Even Rabbi Ishmael's alternative interpretation,
which Rashi quotes, agrees upon the latter point at least. He says that
Moses buried himself (by which he presumably means that Moses entered
some sort of cave or tomb alive, and shut himself up in it, there to
await God's "kiss of death".)

If they accept these commentaries as true, what do these mystics hope to
find? Even if they find some human remains or evidence of a burial site
of the requisite antiquity, which would hardly be remarkable in itself,
they surely do not expect to see any headstone or marking engraved "here
lies our teacher Moses". Who would have written it? It would have
defeated the whole purpose of keeping the site a secret.  And if it was
intended to be kept a secret for the above reason, why their present
quest? Do they think that that reason no longer applies, or do they
reject the validity of the above comment?

Presumably these people would only embark on such a quest in the hope of
succeeding. So let us suppose that they do discover something which they
interpret as evidence of Moses' burial place. What then should we have
to make of the second part of that verse: "and no man knows [where] his
burial place [is] to this very day." Would we then have to interpret it
as some Biblical scholars do (an interpretation rejected by strict
traditionalists) that "to this very day" refers to the particular time
at which it was written, and cannot be understood as being intended to
refer eternally to the present tense of those who were to read it later?
For anyone genuinely believing that they had found the grave, the latter
would obviously be an impossible interpretation.  So what do you think;
are these guys just a bunch of crazies, or what?



From: Anonymous <bochur@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 1996 22:47:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shiduch dating system

There is a problem that I noticed rather recently which is distressing
to me, and should be distressing to the Jewish community at large. There
are a large number of people that this issue affects, and I am hoping
that this letter will raise the awareness for those people who aren't
involved, and will hopefully be m'chazek [give hope to] those who are.

First some background. I am male, around 30 years old, with a solid
yeshiva background (frum day school followed by non-coed Litvishe
yeshiva). My father attended yeshiva. My mother covers her hair. I am
from not only a frum FFB family, but my family has a mesorah that goes
back as far as we can trace it to Shtut Rabbonim in Europe: sofrim,
schuchtim, mo'ray horaah.

I learn on a regular basis (attend shiurim, etc), daven on a regular
basis, am strict about shabbas + kashrus (I don't eat "salads" out),
have a Rov, know how to daven for the amud + leyn, I give tzidakka, and
I wear a black hat. Hashkafically, I am to the 'right' of YU (I say that
not to deride, but to define). I have advanced degrees in Science, have
a good responsible job. I am not too hideous looking, and I am rather
fun to be with (I enjoy many activities such as skiing, hiking, etc.,
all activities within the bounds of halacha). I am mentally balanced and
have no history of mental disorders, or trouble with the law.

The problem: the shiduch dating system (and obviously, my place in it).

In my experience, shadchanim: (believe it or not)

* lie about their 'customers' (even to direct questions even when
checking people out)
* withhold information (divorces, mental history, geyrus)
* find people from innapropriate backgrounds

 I think that there is a flaw in the system. Speaking from personal
history, I am curious why I am fixed up with girls with all varieties of
problems, and wonder if the people who do the fixing up even take little
things - like knowing their customers - into consideration. I wonder if
parents and teachers aren't to blame for the emphasis that they place on
certain inyanim [categories] of activities for people who they consider
'truly eligible' for 'good' shiduchim (i.e. how many years, and where, did
he learn in Israel, regardless of the learning done elsewhere; has she
worked at places like Camp Simcha or Hask, or the amount of babysitting
done). (Of course, the treatment of people in the "inner circle" is
usually different; by that I mean the usually hidden bigotry that goes on
- I recall asking one married woman who was trying to fix me up with
someone who did not at all have a 'good' background if she would want HER
son to date this girl. The answer was no. Someone else, however, may be
considered on a low enough madrega [status] for this person...). Often,
the parents/teachers/system simply create rediculous requirements beyond
the scope of any minhage yisroel [Jewish/Torah customs]. 

There have been girls who had mental problems (treatment for neurosis,
depression, one attempted suicide - before I met her, in case you were
wondering), girls who couldn't leave their daled amos because of the
avenue J pizza shops ("how could I possible live anywhere else?"), girls
with no frum education (which may be right for some, but clearly not me
given my background)... and the list goes on and on...

I won't even get into the arguments of people working vs sitting and
learning, and some of the more glorious questions that I've seen asked
by members of the frum community while checking out the families of
young people, but to satisfy curiosity: (these are all TRUE):

* Does he wear his brim UP or DOWN? 
* where  do his parents buy their fish?
* What color shirt does her father wear on a Sunday afternoon?

A well respected Rov, when I was in a situation with a woman with whom I
was dating and there were some things that I was discovering about her
family that were seriously m'akev [mattered a great deal], said to me
"you should continue with her, because it is probably your nisyayon in
life to have to deal with this!" I reserve comment to this - but suffice
it to say that my Rosh Hayeshiva (my posek), when told of this incident,
did NOT reserve HIS comments!

Many people reading this can probably contribute their own stories of
this growing problem! Also, many may disagree with me, either because
you feel that these particular examples may be my misinterpretation (or
exageration), or maybe you don't even believe that they happen with the
regularity with which they really do occur, or you just don't know me
and have your doubts as to my normality, but I will give you one
question to consider: Would _you_ want *your* child to have to,
l'chatchilla, deal with [marry into] a bi'deaved situation

I think that the entire shiduch system needs to be revamped, and that
the rabbonim should look very seriously into this problem. It needs to
be addressed at the National level, not just by a few local
'leaders'. When shadchanim make it the goal to marry people off without
TRULY considering the people involved, we see the results in the large
number of divorces in the FRUM community.

I post this to invoke your comments, suggestions, criticisms, and
stories of similar bad experiences. Perhaps it is up to us to present
our Torah leaders with these stories and ask for their help - "Mah
Titzak eylai, daber el B'nai Yisroel v'yissau" ["why are you crying to
me? Tell the people and go..."]. Some of us want to - are crying out to
Hakadosh Baruch Hoo to - build a "bayis ne'eman", but the community
doesn't seem to care about the "ne'eman" part anymore.

but email to: <bochur@...>


End of Volume 25 Issue 23