Volume 27 Number 19
                      Produced: Sun Oct 26 22:53:10 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Answering Amen to Bracha over Microphone or TV
         [Mark Dratch]
Paid Yom Kippour Time Off
         [Sharon Stakofsky-Davis]
Parents Closer to Sinai
         [Sam Gamoran]
The Wedding Tragedy--A possible start at a solution
         [Russell Hendel]
We evolve from Adam to Messiah! (3)
         [Akiva Miller, Abraham Perlstein, Chaim Mateh]


From: <MSDratch@...> (Mark Dratch)
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 08:40:47 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Answering Amen to Bracha over Microphone or TV

In a message dated 97-10-20 19:56:31 EDT, Chaim Z. Shapiro writes:

<< My question, does one respond amen etc to a
 bracha/ prayer one hears on a live real time broadcast?
 	One individual with whom I discussed this issue mentioned that
 it may not be different than responding to a kadish heard on a
 microphone.  However, there is indeed a difference (but whether that
 difference matters I don't know) While using a microphone, the baal
 tefilah can hear and see those who are responding.  That is not the case
 by a live tv (one way) broadcast. >>

In fact, the issue has nothing to do with seeing the one making the
 Can a blind person answer amen?  Can a person in another room respond
to a bracha that he hears?  It is a function of hearing.

R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, maintained that the sound produced by a
microphone or telephone is not the real voice of the human speaker (it
is the vibration of the membrane in the man-made speaker) and,
therefore, one does not answer amen when hearing such a bracha.
(Minchat Shlomo, no. 9) The same would apply to a live broadcast.
Others disagree, however, maintaining that the sound waves generated by
the amplifier are a direct result of the speaker's voice, which itself
is actually sound waves generated by his speech.  According to this
opinion, one can fulfill an obligation and must answer amen to a bracha
heard in this manner.  (Iggrot Moshe, Orach Chayyim II, no. 108).
R. Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, allowed a woman in a hospital, unable to make
havdalah on her own, to hear it recited over the telephone.  (Iggerot
Moshe, Orach Chayyim IV, no. 91).  It appers, IMHO, that a live
broadcast is similar to a telephone.  R. Eliezer Waldenberg, shlit"a,--
quoting Minchat Elazar, R. Tzvi Pesach Frank, Halchot Ketanot and
others-- allows, in extenuating circumstances, the use of a microphone
for megillah reading (Tzitz Eliezer, VIII, no. 11).  I heard from Rabbi
Haskel Lookstein that Rabbi Soloveitchik, zt"l, allowed the use of a
microphone for megillah reading.


From: Sharon Stakofsky-Davis <Yenta71@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 05:33:52 EDT
Subject: Re: Paid Yom Kippour Time Off

I am a teacher and I can use whatever time I need for the holidays, but
I have to take it from my five days of personal time.  If my child is
sick, and I have to stay home with him, I have to take it from that time
also.  Because of the holidays in October, I have gone beyond my five
personal days and now my paycheck is docked for all time taken
regardless of the reason.

I should also say, I am working with five other jewish people at the
YMCA and we make sure that we all take the same amount of time off for
all the holidays.

sharon stakofsky-davis


From: Sam Gamoran <gamoran@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 08:51:49 +0000
Subject: Re: Parents Closer to Sinai

I cannot remember from whom I heard this...

Each earlier generation closer to Sinai was greater in itself.  However,
even though today's generation is by itself a little bit less than its
parents, the total accumulated knowledge of klal yisrael (the people of
Israel) is the sum of all that came before it.

It's sort of like a converging arithmetic sequence e.g. 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 +
1/8...  Each step is a bit smaller, but the sum total is always getting

Thus, the earlier Rabbis are considered greater than the more recent
ones, yet, in practice, we rule halacha according to the later
authorities (achronim instead of rishonim).  The halachik psak of the
current Rabbis is assumed to stand upon the teachings of the earlier
Rabbis.  The same, of course for the innovations mentioned by Russell
Hendel in v27#16 (improved organization, trop notation, dealing with

Sam Gamoran
Motorola Israel Ltd. Wireless Access Department


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 21:03:05 -0400
Subject: The Wedding Tragedy--A possible start at a solution

I of course was shocked by the story of a Rabbi being beaten up at a
wedding for believing in Israel. I consider the shock reaction of his
neice (even 30 years later) to be normal.

It would be wrong to simply ignore such a posting (And I hope there are
other responses)

It is also wrong to just say "It is wrong"

We must try and find a solution.

I would like to try and suggest a solution from fire drills and rape
resistance classes.

Eveyone knows that fire can hurt and you must leave the building. But
unless you practice (ie.. the fire drill) you might leave in a hurry and
get hurt. You must practice responses---that is the lesson of fire

Similarly everyone knows that rape is wrong/bad. When I was teaching at
the University of Louisville they were giving sessions in Louisville to
deal with aggressive behavior on dates. They weren't just telling the
girls to state >>I don't want to>>. The girls practicied various simple
physical retaliation techniques at the onset of agression.  In a radio
interview one woman put it this way: >>The classes gave me the self
confidence to react properly in a difficult situation. Without this
practice I might not have had the courage to do these simple actions>>

So there we have it...practice is an antitode for things we know but are
not likely to do in charged situations.

This suggests augmenting the Yeshiva curriculum (across the board) with
"How to" classes dealing with people who really infuriate us. You see
the solution is not to tell people not to lose their temper...Baruch
Goldstein had little children dying in his hands...he had a right to be
angry...he just channeled that anger in the wrong way.

I believe it is wrong to oppose the state of Israel. But that is not how
you cure someone who believes the state is wrong. Rather you must
channel his anger in other ways.

As an extreme example suppose people still believe in anger..couldn't
these coureses at least teach them not to do it at a wedding. Think
about it. The story of a girl watching her Rabbinic uncle being beaten
up for his beliefs would be sufficient to suggest sympathy. Why mention
the wedding? The answer is simple...it shows the animal like spontaneity
of the people--they weren't just wrong..they weren't even thinking.

I think if we encourage classes like this across the board (and labeled
those sects who don't teach them) we could at least stop the severity of
the violence.  A fire drill can't prevent a fire from hurting you
anymore than a rape prevention class can prevent a rapist from hurting
you but it can stop certain cases and ameliorate the damage in others.

We speak all the time about classes/groups etc. Why not have sessions on
"How to handle the people you really hate". We could even have a volley
of postings on mail-jewish for a while with sources and other
things. Allow me to conclude with one of my favorite stories about
losing your temper:

>>In the town of Rav Chaiim Brisker, The Rav Solveitchicks grandfather, there
>>was a custom by nonjews to throw bread crumbs into the water wells on Pesach.
>>Just think what JDL or Charedim would do in that town. What would you do?

>>Anyway, they came to Rav Chaiim and asked him what to do. "Simple" said
>>Rav Chaiim. "In every well with a bread crumb pour an inkwell (so the
>>non jews can't drink either)." And indeed, that was the last Pesach
>>that these non jews bothered this town.

Well do we say every day....(If only) We had Rebeeim (judges) like in
former days

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


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 02:41:03 EDT
Subject: Re: We evolve from Adam to Messiah!

In MJ 27:16, Dr Hendel gave an excellent sample of ways in which the
Jewish people have grown spiritually, which would seem to argue against
the concept (which I had thought was pretty much universally agreed on
in the Torah world) that there has been a general decline over
centuries, in areas such as our capacity for spirituality and our
ability to understand Torah.

Many of his examples can be argued with. He points out that our texts
are much better organized, and their typography is more detailed and
less ambiguous, but I can respond that these things were not *needed*
until recently. If the printed forms for vowels and trop notes were not
designed until long after the Tanach was written, then there must have
been people who had the entire text committed to memory, down to every
last vowel and note.

But this is not a contradiction. As my teachers explained to me, The
generations have indeed declined. But we can draw an analogy to a child
who stands on the shoulders of a giant, and so can see further than the
giant despite his smaller size. Current thinkers are weaker than the
previous generation's, but we have the advantage of the accumulated
research since then. Indeed, King Solomon was unable to fully understand
the mitzvah of Parah Adumah. But he attempted to do so, as did many
others ever since, and with that entire body of knowledge at his
disposal, perhaps it should not surprise us that someone like Rabbi
Hirsch would come up with a cohesive and coherent explanation. As Dr.
Hendel says himself, "His commentary is the culmination of several
centuries of attempted explanation."

I believe this principle is accepted in the non-Jewish world as well.
Could people like Isaac Newton, Hippocrates, and Leonardo DaVinci ever
have developed a cure for polio or understood subatomic particles? But
surely they are generally considered far greater than people like
Stephen Hawking, Jonas Salk, or Albert Einstein, no?

Akiva Miller

From: Abraham Perlstein <abraham.perlstein@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 08:23:03
Subject: We evolve from Adam to Messiah! 

All the examples you suggest further proves our lacking and the earlier
generations greatness. In the past there was no need to even write down
the Mishna or Talmud, it was memorized. All the "improvements" occured
because the genrations are lacking in their ability to remember and
understand what previous generations took for granted.

Similarly English translations such as Artscroll are wonderfull for us,
however the fact that we need them shows our lack of understanding not
our greatness. Today what many struggle for (such as understanding
simple translation of our Teffilos) every child knew at a very young
age. Not to mention deep Halachaic and Talmudic concepts.  Sorry, but no
way have we advanced in our religous understanding.

From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 22:10:27 +0200
Subject: We evolve from Adam to Messiah!

Norman Rosenfeld's mentioned the Reb Yaakov story "They descended from
the apes while we descend from Adam".  The story was meant to show that
"the older are better".  To which Russel Hendel responded at length
after stating that "I don't believe adequate clarification to "the newer
are better" has been given."  Russel gave examples of how "newer are
better", but concluded that "the true Jewish view requires looking
equally both to the past and future. We must respect tradition and yet
also improve on it!!"  Russel also stated that "this list will show that
we have NOT lost something by being farther than our parents...rather we
have gained something ...we have gained an opportunity to contribute
which should make us proud."

While I agree fully that we must indeed "respect tradition", and I also
agree that we can, have and should improve on it, I would disagree that
"we have NOT lost something by being farther than our parents".

I think that the story of Reb Yaakov was not meant to show that we are
better because we believe that we are from Adam versus those who believe
they are from monkeys.  The story was meant to show (as I always
understood the story) that we are better because we are closer to Maamad
HarSinai, i.e., the giving of the Torah.  The point being that the
closer someone is to Sinai, the closer he is to the Truth in the sense
that there were less misunderstandings of the Torah, less machlokos
(differring opinions).  After all, the first machlokess was quite a
while after Sinai (between Hillel and Shamai regarding placing the hands
on the sacrifice, if I'm not mistaken).  A corrolary of this is that the
closer one is to Sinai (in time) the more understanding he has of the

Also, being closer to Sinai meant more Kedusha (holiness) of the soul.
The Gemoro (I forget where) tells us all the holy things that we lost
with the death of Rebi (Rav Yehuda HaNasi).  Furthermore, in a recent
Daf Yomi Gemoro (Brochos 20a), Rav Popo asks Abaye why the former
generations (of Rav Yehuda's) saw more miracles than the present (i.e.,
Rav Popo's and Abaye's) generation?  After all, as Rav Popo says, the
present (Rav Popo) generation studied more than the previous (Rav
Yehuda) generation.  Sort of like, the newies had all of Shass at their
fingertips (CDs, Internet) and perhaps understood things a bit better
(similar to what Russel gave as examples) than the oldies.  And yet,
Abaye answered that it's because the previous generations were more
prepared to be mosser nefesh al kedushass Hashem (sacrifice their lives
for the sanctity of G-d).  IOW, the level of holiness of the soul and
self-sacrifice was much higher in the generations closer to Sinai than
by those further away from Sinai.

We also see that the further away from Sinai we get, the lower the level
of Torah understanding is.  The _reason_ Rebi went against the Torah and
wrote down the Oral Torah was because the Oral Torah was being
forgotten.  The _reason_ the Rambam wrote his monumental Mishna Torah
was so that the "man in the street" would have a codified, unified,
source for Hallacha (rather than having to labouriously weave throught
the Talmud).  The _reason_ the Chofetz Chaim wrote the Mishna Brura was
so that the Baal Habayis (working man), who only has 4-5 hours a day to
learn (the Chofetz Chaim's words) would have a summarization of the
Hallachos of Shulchan Oruch (Orech Chaim).

It might very well be that after Moshiach comes, we'll be on a higher
spiritual level than we were at Sinai, but that doesn't mean that
_today_ we are better off spiritually than the previous generations.  I
would say quite the contrary.  Striving for a better future (i.e.,
Moshiach) doesn't mean we are on a higher level than those closer in
time to Sinai.  While we can indeed increase Torah observance and
learning and spirituality, we can't "improve" on the Kedushas haNeshomo
that was at Sinai that diminishes as time progresses further away from

Kol Tuv,
Chaim Mateh
Eretz Yisroel


End of Volume 27 Issue 19