Volume 27 Number 53
                      Produced: Tue Jan  6  5:19:49 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ahavat Yisrael
         [Saul Newman]
Difference in Practise?
         [A S]
Dyeing of hair by men
         [Abraham I.Lebowitz]
Kiruv (2)
         [Shlomo Godick, Jay Rovner]
Last of the Rishonim
         [Meylekh Viswanath]
More on kiruv & Family Conflict
Rishonim and Acharonim
         [Tzvi Harris]
Synagogue on Top of Town
         [Shlomo Godick]
Tallis before marriage
         [Rachel Smith]


From: Saul Newman <Saul.Z.Newman@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 08:53:35 -0800
Subject: Ahavat Yisrael

It's not surprising but a little sad to read Carl Singer's comments (27
#43)  about the downside of frum/frummer/frummest and the snobbism that
sadly attaches to it. These types of behaviours aren't East Coast
only--In LA there are sadly also areas where you only get Gut Shabbos if
you wear a hat and don't use an Eruv.  Although everyone espouses ahavat
Yisrael, and insists that it will bring the Mashiach closer, It only
seems to extend to our own particular subtribe.  May we live to see all
Jews united.


From: A S
Date: Sun, 4 Jan 1998 10:41:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Difference in Practise?

 I have a question which I was wondering if anyone on this list had a
suggestion about. Supposing a couple who had married were both Jewish,
but had begun as relatively unobservant, but then one of the two
partners became much more observant. What should the more observant
partner do, given that they aren't about to become unobservant again,
but that their practices are making the other partner uncomfortable and
causing stress in the marriage. Particularly, how does one raise one's
(as yet unborn, thankfully) children in a household where one of
the parents won't make any effort to keep dishes straight (okay, so far
we've just done without meat altogether)), celebrate more than the very
rudiments of holidays (minimal fasting/ candle-lighting or whatever, but
no shul-going) and the like. I imagine this is not a totally heard of
problem, and I was hoping for some advice.

A. S.


From: Abraham I.Lebowitz <aileb@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 20:25:38 +0200
Subject: Dyeing of hair by men

	In connection with the discussion of dyeing of hair by men I
would like to refer to a teshuvah (responsum) by Rabbi Elazar Meir Preil
zt"l of Elizabeth, NJ, and published in his Sefer Hama'or (teshuvah
number 26).

	Rabbi Preil deals with the question of whether a man is
permitted to dye his hair in order to make himself appear younger and
thus improve his chances in the job market.  His answer is a definite
"yes," provided that other poskim (decisors) agreed with him.  His
teshuvah is followed by an extensive concurrence by Rabbi Moshe
Mordechai Epstein of Slabodka.

Abe Lebowitz (Har Nof -Jerusalem)              <aileb@...>


From: Shlomo Godick <shlomog@...>
Date: Sun, 04 Jan 1998 22:35:29 -0800
Subject: Re: Kiruv

Steven White wrote:
> While one is supposed to find one's *own* posek, and not rely only on
> printed matter coming from gedolim, it is nevertheless instructional to
> model one's behavior on people truly accepted universally as gedolim --
> people like Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt''l, or Rav Soloveitchik, zt''l.  Do
> you suppose men like that would *ever* encourage one to cut oneself off
> from one's family, barring very specific evidence of danger or abuse?

I very much agree with the above sentiments.  From my acquaintance with
the kiruv movement in Israel, these stories of separation from family
are relatively rare.

Most kiruv organizations that I know of very strongly encourage chozrim
b'tshuva to maintain close, loving relationships with their parents
whenever possible.  I live in Rechasim which is chock full of chozrim
b'tshuva, and every Shabbos I see non-religious or barely-religious
parents visiting their children, attending shul, and enjoying their

I recall hearing the following story a few years ago (and I think it is
typical of many):

  A high school student was gradually becoming more religious.  He
  eventually decided to leave secular school and join a yeshiva.  His
  new yeshiva dress strongly upset his parents, who were non-religious.
  The rav with whom he was close took him to Rav Shach to get advice.
  Rav Shach instructed him to continue wearing the sport shirt, short
  pants, and sneakers to which his parents were accustomed, and to
  change into yeshiva-style clothes only when he arrived at the yeshiva.
  Before leaving the yeshiva for home, he was to change back into his
  casual clothes.  Thus he was instructed to be lenient as much as
  halachically possible and avoid upsetting his parents unnecessarily in
  this and other ways as well. This boy's parents eventually became
  religious themselves.

It is important to remember that stories such as these do not make the
headlines.  But I think they are far more typical of the experience of
the average chozer b'tshuva.  I do not deny that the negative stories
related in previous postings took place, but in my opinion they are in
the small (but conspicuous and headline-grabbing) minority.

I might also add that most of the negative stories appear to occur when
the baal tshuva wrongly decides to be an auto-didact and pasken for
himself (l'chumra, of course), instead of going to a posek with "broad
shoulders" who knows when leniency is the appropriate course of action
(or, alternatively, knows how to correctly balance the requirements of
mitzvas kibbud av v'em [honoring one's parents] against the other
halachic requirements).

Kol tuv,
Shlomo Godick

From: <jarovner@...> (Jay Rovner)
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997 13:33:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Kiruv

re: steve white's call for humility on the part of members of the orthodox
community with regard to kiruv

	unfortunately, one act of recognition and acknowledgment is absent
in all too many discussions of alternative jewish movements. 
this is recognition and acknowledgment that one's allegience to judaism
(even the judaism of, e.g., the Thirteen Principles of Maimonides) is
	a religion, based  upon belief, is not subject to irrefutable
proof. (That's why tradition is so important in many peoples' lives).
therefore the corrolary acknowledgment that others have a right to search
their souls and come up with alternative, sincere, beliefs re: judaism and
"religious truth" would make for a much healthier spiritual life for the
orthodox person and a much healthier environment
	jay rovner


From: Meylekh Viswanath <viswanat@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Jan 1998 11:45:15
Subject: Last of the Rishonim

Micha Berger says in mail-jewish Vol. 27 #51 Digest :
>If you notice, it is not political upheaval that marks the end of a
>halachic era. For example, what -- other than the writing of the mishnah
>-- seperates tannaim from amoraim? Or for that matter, why are the
>savoraim equal in halachic say to amoraim, but the geonim are not. The
>Rambam and Ra'avad, rishonim, often differ with Rav Hai or Rav Amram
>Gaon. Yet, the gaonim sat in the very same seats as the amoraim did!
>What is consistant, though, is that the acceptance of a halachic seifer
>as authoritative does mark the end of an era: the mishnah, the gemarah
>(which was finished at the end of the savoraim), which would also place
>the Shulchan Aruch with the Rama's Mapah as an era marker.

It's not clear that the two indicators are inconsistent with each other.
R. Eliezer Berkovits in his book "Lo Bashamayim Hee" says (and maybe
others say this, too) that codification in itself is inconsistent with
the spirit of halakhah, which teaches the idea of 'shivim panim la
torah.'  Codification is necessary in the spirit of 'eys laasos la-shem'
when the political situation is too turbulent.  The Mishna was written
down following the turbulent times of khurbn bayis sheni and the Bar
kokhba wars.  The Gemora was written down during the end of the Persian
empire and just prior to the Muslim ascendancy (which itself was
possible because of the unsettled times).  The Shulkhan Arukh according
to R. Berkovits was also called for due to similar circumstances
(although I don't remember exactly what called for it, and I'd rather
not speculate, given the jewish history experts on m.j).

Meylekh Viswanath


From: Anonymous
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 98 13:06:06 UT
Subject: More on kiruv & Family Conflict

We are very close with a young (30'ish) couple who are B'alai Tzuvah (He
has Lubovitch Smicha.)  They have K'ainyn Horah four children.  He's in
the first few years of a new career (computers) and not making nearly as
much money as their parents make / made.  They maxed out credit cards,
etc.  But are now on a reasonable path to financial recovery.  But
they're "poor" in the eyes of their parents.  It recently spilled over
with comments like "Why do you have so many children, if you can't
afford them?"  and even "If you worked on Saturday you could make more
money?"  Nonetheless, their is family contact, this couple's parents and
grandparents share phonecalls (and a few visits), pictures, etc.

As a "support group" of sorts, we talked this through at length.  Our
thoughts, take them or leave them, were that much of this is ordinary
parent / adult child conflict.  The outburst re: children was simply an
angry outburst -- as doting grandparents, they're frustrated that
they're geographically (and otherwise) far from their grandchildren.
The Saturday comment was much along the same line -- just that in
arguing differences the parents have more "ammunition" so to speak when
fighting with their adult children.  That doesn't make it right, but we
need to put it into context.  That's not to say this would be equivalent
to "why did you buy a new car, instead of saving for a home" which has
no religious themes or overtones, but we suggested that these incidents
be taken with a grain of salt as indicators of frustration not of
anti-religious core values.

On the positive side, in calmer moments, the parents (and more-so the
grandparents) schep some nachus and are more aware of Yiddishkite.  I
don't think the adult children will be M'karev their parents in the BT
sense, but they've certainly raised the level of awareness and
tolerance.  At a minimum, little girls in long dresses and little boys
with yarmulkes and payehs aren't simply icons or Fiddler on the Roof
stereotypes, but they're (YOUR) grandchildren.


From: Tzvi Harris <ltharris@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 07:28:02 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Rishonim and Acharonim

Margaliot (Encyclopedia L'Toldot Gedolei Yisrael) brings R' Y' Karo down
as an acharon.  The book "HaGeonim V'Harishonim by Yosef Nitzan and
Moshe Yaakobi don't specify to which time period the mechaber belongs,
but the heading of the section about him states: R' Yosef Karo: the
period between (tekkufat hamaavar) the Rishonim and Acharonim.

I heard R' Aharon Rakeffet say several times that the Beit Yosef has the
status of a Rishon, and the Shulchan Aruch has the status of an acharon.
The truth is that this question is one of perspective.  I noticed once
that the Maharshda"m (R' Shmuel DeMedina) refers to the Rosh as an
acharon.  There is an opinion amongst historians that the big break
(what would cause a new period to begin) occurred in Ashkenaz with the
death of the Mahara"m and the separation of his three main talmidim (the
Rosh being amongst them).  This is of course much earlier than the
period of change amongst Gedolei Sfarad.

The Shulchan Aruch is different than the Mishna and Talmud, because the
Mishna and Talmud were compilations of several generations of study.
The Shulchan Aruch was done by one person, and is a summary of his
pesika.  This would seem to signal the beginning of an era, and not the
end as someone mentioned.  A new style of writing, and a new style of
"sefer pesika" (granted that it is based somewhat on the Tur) to me
seems to indicate the start of a new era.

If I recall correctly Mechy Frenkel mentioned that the difference
between the Shulchan Aruch being a Rishon or an Acharon is important
(one reason) is to establish whether other Acharonim can take issue with
him.  I don't think this would really make a difference with regard to
the Shulchan Aruch, being that the Shulchan Aruch attained special
status as the sefer pesika of almost all of Am Yisrael.  (The exception
being some Yemenites who stuck with the Rambam as their sefer pesika-).

There is more to say on this issue, maybe later.

Tzvi Harris


From: Shlomo Godick <shlomog@...>
Date: Sun, 04 Jan 1998 22:47:20 -0800
Subject: re: Synagogue on Top of Town

Shlomo Pick wrote:

> I would be a bit skeptical of those who profess to "know" the workings
> of God (according the spelling of the Rav zt"l) [although you did not
> say this specifically, it is quite implied in the posting - quoting
> gedolei yisrael why this tragedy happens] - one needs demonstrated
> "ruach hakodesh" to suggest these things.

Your phrase "the workings of God" seems to imply that some metaphysical
mechanism creates a causal connection between the height of the shul and
the extent of achdus/machlokes in the community.  Rav Mishkovski gave a
a more rationalistic, straightforward explanation: the location of the
shul, or spiritual center, at the city's highest point confers a sense
of importance and significance upon that center.  It implies that the
city founding-fathers had a very clear scale of values which placed
spiritual matters (and the communal peace which hopefully derives
therefrom) at the very "top".  On the other hand, if the majority of a
city's population "look down" (topographically, and perhaps subtly as a
result, psychologically) on the center of Torah and tefila, their
priorities will not be in order and machlokes could result.  In line
with the above, far from professing to "know" the workings of God, Rav
Shteinman was underlining the communal-psychological importance of
locating the shul in such a way that community members are more likely
to learn the lesson of its centrality in their lives and to adopt the
proper set of spiritual values.

Obviously true communal concord depends a great deal on people's actions
and the extent to which they work on their midos.  When Jews' personal
behavior falls short, location of the shul on the city's summit provides
no magical guarantee that peace will reign.

Kol tuv,
Shlomo Godick


From: Rachel Smith <rsmith@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 12:32:37 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Tallis before marriage

 My husband is looking for sources supporting the Ashkenazic
minhag not to wear a tallis before marriage (besides the Maharil -
preferably teshuvos from recent poskim).  References posted to this
list would be appreciated.
 Thanks in advance. -Rachel Smith (<rsmith@...>)


End of Volume 27 Issue 53