Volume 25 Number 37
                       Produced: Sun Dec  8  8:12:14 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Compromise with Secular Jews
         [Ed Ehrlich]
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Origin of the "Double Yud"
         [Claude Schochet]
Parshat Vayeshev
         [Mechael Kanovsky]
Summer camps in Israel
         [Leah Wolf]
Working Together and Compromise
         [Eli Clark]


From: <eehrlich@...> (Ed Ehrlich)
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 22:02:42 +0200
Subject: Compromise with Secular Jews

Eli Turkel brought up some interesting issues.  Almost all of them 
illustrate secular vs. religious problems.  One I think deserves special 

> In the recent fights over closing of Bar Ilan street in Jerusalem it
>   was suggested that in return transportation be provided to secular
>   Jews on shabbat or else that some other place be opened on shabbat
>   as 'compensation" for closing the street. This was turned down by the
>   haredi representatives. They claimed that they cannot agree to anything
>   that increases the desecration of shabbat. Bottom line they are allowed
>   to make demands but are not allowed to give anything.

One of the arguements presented by the haredi representatives is that
closing Bar Ilan street would make the route travelled on Shabbat by the
secular only slightly longer.  If the actual issue was Shabbat, then the
possibility of even a "small" additional Shabbat desecration would be a
powerful arguement AGAINST closing the road on Shabbat.

As Rabbi Adin Steinaltz has had said, it is no greater transgression
driving on Shabbat in a religious neighborhood than a secular one.
IMHO, the issues involved in the Bar Ilan street closure revolved around
the nature of the neighborhood and not Shabbat desecration.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 09:00:46 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Hanuka

Hanuka is just around the corner. Here are three points.
 1) This year Shabbat Hanuka is parshat Vayeshev but usually it falls on
parashat Meketz. So this year Haftarat Meketz will be read.
 2)How do you say Arvit and also light candles at seet hacochavim?
(assuming you are not stuck at work!) Most people follow the seet
hachochavim time and not the sunset time. Our cong. solves the problem
by saying Arvit right after Minha (and candle lighting). So we are home
at seet hacohavim and repeat kriyat shema bezmana (= proper time).
 3)Friday ,erev Shabbat, thank G. most of us don't work so we have Minha
Gedolah. That way Hanuka candles are lighted on time and Kabbalat
Shabbat is said, as at every Friday before sunset.
 Hanuka Samehah!
Menashe Elyashiv Bar Ilan U. Lib of Jewish Studies   


From: Claude Schochet <claude@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 1996 11:51:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Origin of the "Double Yud"

When and where and why did the "Double Yud" abbreviation for Hashem
originate? I am looking for history, not d'rasha. Does it preceed the
introduction of printing in the West? Was it introduced by a particular
person and then became popular? Or perhaps it is really old
(e.g. an'shei K'nesset hag'dolah)?

The question comes from Leonid Hurwicz, an economist at U. of Minn.  I
will pass on responses to him. Thanks. shabbat shalom, and a freilichen

Claude L. Schochet			     <claude@...>
Mathematics Department		
Wayne State University          http://www.math.wayne.edu/~claude/
Detroit, MI 48202 
313-577-3177	office  -  313-577-7596	fax  - 810-539-8466	home


From: <KANOVSKY@...> (Mechael Kanovsky)
Date: Thu, 05 Dec 1996 13:12:58 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Parshat Vayeshev

I have two questions, the first is on parshat vayeshev. Rashi zt"l
brings down on the pasuk that Yaakov cried for Yosef many days (yamim
rabim) that the reason that yosef was separated from yaakov 22 years is
because that is the amount of years that yaakov did not honor his
parents when he was away from them (20 years by lavan and 18 months in
sukot). My question is that it was yaakovs parents who sent him away to
lavans house in the first place and he honored them by doing what he was
told. Furthermore Rashi writes in vayetze that the seven years that he
worked for rachel (the first seven) were the few days that his mother
told him to stay by lavan. Therefore for a true midah ke'neged midah
yosef should have only been separated for 15 years at most.

my second question is are there halachik limitations to volunteer to be
a normal control in experiments in medicine?

mechael kanovsky


From: <ldwolf@...> (Leah Wolf)
Date: Fri,  6 Dec 96 09:29:47 PST
Subject: RE: Summer camps in Israel

> From: Bob Klein <KL2@...>
> We are thinking of sending our daughter, who is now in 7th
> grade, to a camp in Israel this summer. We have received information
> about one such camp, Camp Ariel.  We would appreciate any information
> that anyone can supply about this camp as well as pointers to
> other Orthodox camps (preferably coed) for girls entering 8th
> grade next Fall.  Ideologically our preference is "modern"
> Orthodox, religious Zionist and with a good conversational
> Hebrew program.  Thanks in advance for any ideas and input.

In reference to your question, yes, Camp Ariel is an EXCELLENT summer
camp.  Most of the campers are children of English-speaking Olim who
live in Israel but there are also kids from overseas. The facilities are
gorgeous, pool, sports, etc. and the kids have a marvelous time. They
especially love the excellent daily Shiurim--the staff is really

They will have a site on Virtual Jerusalem very soon and you can get
more information. In the meantime, you can write them directly at
<deenang@...> and get more information.

I'm sure you daughter will love it there and she's just the right age
for the camp.



From: Eli Clark <ECLARK@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Dec 1996 13:53:56 -0500
Subject: Working Together and Compromise

In  Volume 25 Number 29, Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
asks "whether one is allowed to make compromises with non-religious
Jews in order that we live together in semi-harmony."  He then presents
a number of examples:

"1. The JCC in an American community has non-kosher affairs and also
on shabbat. They offer the orthodox rabbi to only use kosher food on
condition that he drop his objections to shabbat affairs.

2. A university is willing to open a synagogue on condition that it be
   open to all Jewish groups including reform services. Is it better
   to decline the offer because one can daven without a synagogue.

3. In the recent fights over closing of Bar Ilan street in Jerusalem it
   was suggested that in return transportation be provided to secular
   Jews on shabbat or else that some other place be opened on shabbat
   as 'compensation" for closing the street. This was turned down by the
   haredi representatives. They claimed that they cannot agree to
   anything that increases the desecration of shabbat. Bottom line they are
   allowed to make demands but are not allowed to give anything.

   Hence, does the mitzva of "tochacha" (admonition) and "lifne iver"
(not encouraging a sin) prevent the religious community from entering
into compromises that allow the two sides to live together?"

I think this is an important question for all halakhic Jews, both in
Israel and in Galut (exile).  The issue is a complicated one in which
hashkafah (religious philosophy) plays a role in resolving the Halakhah
(law).  I apologize in advance for the length of this post.

The halakhic guidelines on tohakhah (rebuke) are not clearly defined.
Many cite the talmudic statement that no one is fit to engage in rebuke
today.  One clear directive is that one should not engage in rebuke
unless the audience is receptive.  This limitation, its scope and its
rationale are discussed by a wide range of halakhic authorities in the
Shulhan Arukh, Orah Hayyim 608.  (The context of the discussion is the
practice of women to continue to eat on erev Yom Kippur until darkness

The issue of lifnei iver (enabling another to sin) has been discussed in
greater detail.  First, it should be noted that there are two separate
prohibitions, the biblical prohibition of lifnei iver and the rabbinic
prohibition of siyyua le-ovrei averah (aiding those who sin).  Many rely
on the position of the Rema that there is no prohibition -- biblical or
rabbinic -- in assisting a sinner where the sinner would be able to
receive the same assistance from others.  Others rely on the Shakh, who
holds that no prohibition applies if the sinner is aware of the sin and
does not care.  On the other hand, most authorities assume that it is
preferable not to engage in any such act.

In short, what emerges here are two standards: that which is absolutely
prohibited, and that which is permitted but to be avoided where
possible.  With respect to the second category, the decision of how to
act will, I think, be influenced by one's hashkafah and, perhaps,
long-term considerations.

Long-term considerations will not generally figure in a simple case of
lifnei iver, where the issue is putting into the hands of a Jew the
instrumentality of sin (see Pesahim 22b).

Sometimes, however, there may be some value in maintaining a cordial
relationship with a non-observant Jew, if one has hopes of bringing that
person closer to observance.  Thus, for example, R. Shelomo Zalman
Auerbakh issued a famous ruling to (I think) the Or Somayach yeshiva
relating to Shabbat invitations to people who may drive on Shabbat.  He
ruled that one is permitted to issue such an invitation if the
invitation includes accomodations that would eliminate the need for
driving on Shabbat.  Although the guest may not choose to sleep over,
making the offer of such accomodations is sufficient to avoid any

Similarly, R. Shelomo Zalman ruled that, under certain circumstances, a
non-religious person who is a guest in one's home may be served food,
even though the guest is not likely to make a berakhah (blessing) on the
food before eating.  This appears to be contrary to an explicit ruling
in the Shulhan Arukh.  Nevertheless, R. Shelomo Zalman wrote, where the
guest has demonstrated a love of Torah, it is a bigger mitzvah to make
him feel welcome than to offend him by denying him food in one's house.

Note, however, that these rulings relate to dealing with a specific
person with whom a relationship already exists.  In contrast, R. Eliezer
Waldenberg holds that one should not give directions on Shabbat to a Jew
who is driving a car, even though this may lessen the person's
desecration of the Shabbat.  His rationale may be that, under those
circumstances, there is very little possibility that giving directions
would draw this driver closer to Halakhah.

Of course, all of these rulings relate to the acts of individuals.  On
the communal level, one consideration that is raised, especially in
yeshiva circles, is the question of legitimation.  Thus, the JCC rabbi
in Example 1 may reason as follows.  Today, JCC patrons eat non-kosher
food and attend Shabbat affairs.  If I provide my hashgahah
(supervision), I will not prevent the Shabbat affairs from occurring,
but I will ensure that they eat kosher food in the JCC.  In this way,
the JCC rabbi will have increased observance somewhat, with no
consequent increase in non-observance.  But the rabbi must also consider
whether his hashgahah would cause more people to drive to the JCC on
Shabbat.  Even if that is not a concern, one must ask whether the
orthodox rabbi's hashgahah would be interpreted as "approval" by a
representative of the Orthodox community of the Shabbat affairs and the
public Shabbat desecration they involve.

The legitimation issue also arises with respect to the Reform services
mentioned in Example 2.  To my knowledge, there are not many explicit
prohibitions involved in a Reform service.  The service may involve some
kol ishah (woman's singing voice) and perhaps the recitation of certain
prayers without the requisite minyan (quorum).  But these are not
certain to occur, nor do they rise to the level of public desecration of
the Shabbat.  On the other hand, many rabbinic authorities are concerned
about any actions that imply that the Reform movement is somehow
legitimate.  Personally, I believe some of these concerns to be
overblown, but they cannot be discounted out of hand.  (This is not a
primary issue in the Israeli context, where the majority of
non-religious Jews do not belong to a specific sectarian movement.  Of
course, the issue of non-Orthodox conversions is now coming to a head in

The final example was the dispute over the closing of Rehov Bar-Ilan.
It is very difficult to justify a compromise in that situation for one
simple reason.  The closing of Bar-Ilan itself would probably increase
hillul (desecration of) Shabbat by forcing Jewish drivers to take
roundabout routes to their destinations on Shabbat.  The haredi demands
of closure were, in that sense, very selfish: they wished their own
roads to be quiet, but did not believe that the closure would lessen
overall hillul Shabbat by the non-observant population of the city.

A harder question would be a compromise in which Halakhah both gains and
loses, e.g., an agreement to reduce/eliminate radio or television
broadcasts on Shabbat in exchange for opening bars and restaurants on
Shabbat or vice versa.  Evaluating such a compromise involves the often
difficult task of weighing different kinds of transgressions.  In this
case, the issue is balancing private hillul Shabbat against public
hillul Shabbat.  The Halakhah plainly views the latter as far more
serious.  But in many cases, the relative advantages and disadvantages
may be far more difficult to measure.

IMHO, there is one issue that has not been addressed by halakhic
authorities which merits exploring.  Many otherwise prohibited
activities are permitted to avoid "evah," i.e., the hatred of non-Jews.
For example, one is permitted to violate Shabbat to save the life of a
non-Jew in order to prevent the development of evah.  Generally, this
concern is premised on the political power of non-Jews over Jews.
However, I think that in the Israeli context, where the Orthodox
community remians a numerical minority, there may be room to invoke the
concept of "evah" with respect to non-observant Jews.  I present this
tentatively, as a theory worth exploring, and I welcome any thoughtful
responses on the issue.

I once again apologize for the length of the post.




End of Volume 25 Issue 37