Volume 28 Number 13
                      Produced: Thu Nov  5  7:55:29 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chinese auctions
         [Arie Weiss]
Derech Eretz
         [Ari Kahn]
Hebrew as the American Language
         [Zev-Hayyim Feyer]
Hebrew on College Seals
         [Larry Rosler]
Learning in a Beis Medrash
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Root and Branch
         [Yehoshua Friedman]
Source for "Derech eretz Kadma laTorah"
         [David Jutkowitz]
Teaching Evolution in Yeshivot
         [Eric Jaron Stieglitz]
The Jewish Star is on the American Dollar
         [Russell Hendel]
The Switch
Voting in a Church
         [David I. Cohen]


From: Arie Weiss <aliw@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 21:25:42 +0000
Subject: Re: Chinese auctions

On Chinese auctions (Yossie Abramson, 28 #11) Why look at it as getting
more than you lent, hence ribit ?  Why don't you view the person
receiving "more" as a partner, providing funds and therefore entitled to
a share of the profits, and creating a REAL hetair iska, instead of the
fictional ones on the wall of your local bank (here in Israel, anyway).


From: Ari Kahn <kahnar@...>
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 20:45:31 +0200
Subject: Re: Derech Eretz

> From: <millerr@...> (Reuven Miller)
> Does any know the origin of the Hebrew "saying" "derech eretz kadma
> laTotah"

See Vayikra Rabba 9:3
Kadma derech eretz et hatorah

[also submitted by: Ranon Katzoff <katzoff@...>, Moshe Poupko

and Tanna Drebbi Eliyahu Rabba chapter 1

[also submitted by: <abrahamson@...> (Eliezer C Abrahamson)]

See michlolol hamamarim vihapitgamim, it is excellent, and helps when our
computer searches fail.

Ari D. Kahn


From: <Rebbezev@...> (Zev-Hayyim Feyer)
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 21:30:59 EST
Subject: Re: Hebrew as the American Language

In mail-jewish Vol. 28 #06, Jeffrey Friedman <jeff@...> writes:
<< One crackpot proposal does not equal "the original language of the US
was supposed to be Hebrew."  And I think it is Yale, not Harvard, that
has Hebrew on its seal (for protestant theological reasons, not

Actually, it was not "one crackpot proposal."  My recollection from high
school American History (40 years ago, in Phoenix, Arizona, not exactly
a hotbed of philo-semitism then -- I do not know how it is now) is that
Benjamin Franklin made the proposal.  He wanted Hebrew to be the
official language of the United States as a way of providing a clear
distinction in language between the new nation and the old nation from
which we declared our independence.

[Several other posters submitted that they remembered learning this in
grade school - Mod]

Of course, Franklin also proposed the wild turkey rather than the eagle
as the national bird-symbol, again as a way of being distinctively
American and clearly distinguished not only from Britain but from all
the major European powers of the time (all of whom save only France used
the eagle in one form or another as a national symbol).  

B'shalom uv'ahavah, 
Rebbe Zev-Hayyim Feyer


From: Larry Rosler <lr@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998 07:10:52 -0800
Subject: RE: Hebrew on College Seals

> From: Ed Ehrlich <Eehrlich@...>
> >Harvard has Hebrew on its seal.
> I think that Jeanette meant the seal of Yale.  It can be seen at:
> http://www.aya.yale.edu/classes/yc1988/
> From: Asher Goldstein <mzieashr@...>
> Harvard's symbol is Veritas (Truth), which is Latin, not Hebrew.  The rival
> school in CT, founded much later, is the one that has a Hebrew inscription,
> "Emet" (Truth), in its seal.

Actually, you are thinking of Harvard's neighbor in Massachusetts,
Brandeis University (founded 1948), whose seal can be found here:


The inscription on the seal of the Connecticut school that you have
trouble naming (founded 1701, by the way) is "Urim v'Tummim"
(untranslatable).  In Latin, that school adds Lux (Light) to Harvard's
Veritas.  The University of California (1868) has only Light ("Let There
Be Light", in English), while Stanford University (1891) has only Wind
(Die Luft der Freiheit weht [Ulrich von Hutten, 1521]).

I researched this for a drash I gave on Parshat Tetzaveh, about the Urim
v'Tummim.  How nice to be able to contribute here despite my limited
capability to discuss Halakhah!

Larry Rosler


From: Carl M. Sherer <carl@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 17:55:35 +0200
Subject: Learning in a Beis Medrash

Andy Goldfinger writes:

> 	I have a problem, and I wonder if anyone else out there shares
> it.  Simply put, I find it distracting to learn in a Bais Medresh.  When
> learning alone, or with a chevrusah, I much prefer the quiet and
> serenity of a living room or dining room.  

I'm going to start with a caveat - for many reasons, I do most of my
learning at the dining room table. So consider me a nogea badavar
(someone who is prejudiced).

I heard a story about the Netziv in one of the Daf Yomi shiurim, which
is also brought at the end of the first chapter of "My Uncle the
Netziv." The story is (any inaccuracies are mine, as the book is not
accessible right now) that a baalebus (one who works for a living in
addition to his learning) went to the Netziv and complained about a lack
of respect being shown to him by his family. The Netziv asked him if he
ever learns at home, and he said no. The Netziv suggested that he set a
learning seder at home for an hour each night after he comes home from
work, and that he should return to the Netziv in a month. The man was
skeptical, but followed the Netziv's instructions.

When he returned to the Netziv a month later, he could barely contain
his joy at how his lot had improved. He told how suddenly his wife
ensured that his children would not disturb his learning, how his
children were falling over each other to bring him whatever he needed
while he was learning, and how this behavior carried over into other
parts of his day.

I told this story to a yungerman in our neighborhood, and he told me
that his Rosh Yeshiva had told him that at least during the early years
of his marriage, before there are children who are difficult to control,
he should learn at home often in order to set the tone for the house.

I think the reason that Beis Medrash learning is stressed so much is
that many people find the distractions from learning at home
overwhelming. There is the telephone, the spouse, the children, the
doorbell, etc. The Bais Medrash, as a place that is dedicated to
learning, is supposed to have fewer distractions thus making it easier
for you to learn. But some people there are distractions in the Bais
Medrash - the noise level, the social aspect (we all know it's there and
that none of us is perfect enough to always avoid it), sometimes the
cigarette smoke, etc. Not to mention if there is davening going in the
Beis Medrash at the time you have set aside for learning....

While the Gemara in Brachos (forgive me for not having an exact cite)
does speak about the greatness of learning in the same place where one
davens, I don't think this is the most important point.  IMHO, the
important point is that you learn and learn regularly.  Where you learn
ought to be a function of where you learn best. As long as you learn
where you learn best, I think that whether that location is a Beis
Medrash, your dining room, or even a conference room in your office is
less important.

Usual qualifications about not having smicha, not being a posek,
etc. apply.

Carl M. Sherer

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya.  Thank you very much.


From: Yehoshua Friedman <friedy@...>
Date: Thu,  5 Nov 98 00:49:14 PST
Subject: Root and Branch

To all interested parties:
Root and Branch is most decidedly not a missionary organization. Even the 
article in Makor Rishon doesn't say that. It says that R&B is promoting 
phony conversions of non-Jews in order to swamp the country with 
Christians. The article basically is totally off the wall in this regard. 
The purpose of Root and Branch as registered as an amuta (non-profit org.) 
in Israel and as a non-profit corporation in the US (New York) is to 
promote cooperation between Jews and non-Jews for the sake of Israel, the 
Jewish people and the universal values of the Torah as understood by 
rabbinic Judaism. Go look it up. We have been in contact for years with all 
of the major counter-missionary organizations: Yad L'Achim, Lev L'Achim, 
Jews for Judaism, and Shmuel Golding. We have a haskama letter from rabbis 
from Yeshivat Dvar Yerushalayim who know us very well for years. The last 
issue of the Torah Tidbits from the Israel Center contains a reprint of 
that letter together with the personal comments of Phil Chernofsky, who has 
also worked with us for several years. I believe that the article defames a 
number of individuals and groups, directly or inderectly, including R&B, 
John Hulley, Aryeh Gallin, Shmuel Golding, Yaakov Fogelman (TOP), the 
proprietress of the Alumah restaurant, gerei tzedek and olim. The original 
source of this wave of defamation is a crazy lady in Rehovot who was once 
thrown out of volunteering for Yad L'Achim when she claimed that a rabbi at 
Dvar Yerushalayim was a secret Christian believer because he spoke to 
Christian groups. For this reason the rabbis of Dvar have a heartfelt 
reason to rally in our support, but they also know us very well. I was one 
of the original talmidim of Dvar in its first year (1970-71) and R. 
Horovitz performed the marriage of Aryeh Gallin and his wife. For more 
information contact Aryeh Gallin at <rb@...> or Mr. Samson Krupnick 
(member of the boards of Root and Branch -- treasurer, Shaarei Zedek, 
Bar-Ilan, Young Israel and a few more) at <krupnick@...> What 
is distressing is that unlike a stupid article in Kol Ha'ir or the like, 
Makor Rishon is supposedly trying to be a newspaper with sympathies toward 
the religious public and the yishuvim. They have previously written 
positive articles about us and they suddenly did an about-face without 
asking us for clarification. Someone obviously put them up to it, but why 
they did it without talking to us first remains a mystery. Hope this helps. 
If you need more references, I've got them, and they are real. BTW, shalom 
to you, Avi, I believe we were together at Rabbi Brovender's in Kiryat 
Moshe back in the mid-'70s.


From: David Jutkowitz <etzdavid@...>
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 18:57:27 +0200
Subject: Re: Source for "Derech eretz Kadma laTorah"

Reuven Miller writes

> Does any know the origin of the Hebrew "saying" "derech eretz kadma
> laTotah"

While I have not found a source for the above saying, I have found in
the Yalkut Shimoeni (Berishet Remez 34) what I believe might be the
source of the above. I quote "melamed sh'derech eretz kadma la'etz
ha'chaim, v'ain etz elah torah"

On the subject of famous sayings, whose sources are elusive, there is a
responsa of Harav Levin ztz"l in his sefer Avnie Chefetz (siman 29). He
lists 13 sayings which he had trouble in finding sources for
them. Amoung the sayings are

"Kol harodef acher Hakavod. Hakavod boreach mimenu"
"Hamadchel ba'Mitzva omrim lo gemor"
"Kol ha'koes ka'elo oved avodah zarah"
"Kabdehu va'Chastihu"
"Davorim Hayotzim min Halev nichnasim el Halev"

David Jutkowitz - Petah Tikva


From: Eric Jaron Stieglitz <ephraim@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Nov 1998 10:16:20 -0500
Subject: Teaching Evolution in Yeshivot

About a year and a half ago, I browsed through an article in a journal
which dealt with the teaching of evolution in yeshivot. Without having
read the entire article, my recollection is that the article was in
favor of teaching evolution in science courses as long as the halakhic
issues were also dealt with.

Might anybody out there remember the name of the journal that this
appeared in (or, perhaps, have a copy of it)? I'm assuming that it was
some type of journal for Jewish education.


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Subject: The Jewish Star is on the American Dollar

Jeanette Friedman mentions that originally Hebrew was suppose to be the
official American language and that Harvard has Hebrew on its insignia.

In a similar vein I should mention that that on the back of the one
dollar bill one can see a Jewish star...13 stars arranged in the form of
two intersecting triangles (=the jewish star) on top of the eagles head.

Chaim Solomon helped finance the War of Independence. When President
Washington offered him a reward and thank you he asked that it be 
commemorated that the Jews helped form this country

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA Rhendel @ mcs drexel edu


From: <CHIHAL@...>
Subject: The Switch

Shalom, All:
         When we say most brachot for food -- Hamotzi for bread, boray
pree ha'aitz for fruit, etc. -- we begin by saying "Blessed are You,
Hashem, Who brings forth/creates."  In these cases the "You" correctly
matches the verbs, tenses and so forth.  We are directly "talking" to
        But when we say a "She'hakol" we begin the same way as the others,
with a "Blessed are You," then switch to talking *about* God, as it were, by
saying "because all exists in His words."  All of a sudden, in the middle of
this bracha, we've gone from "You" to "His."
         I'm puzzled, and welcome an explanation.


From: <BDCOHEN613@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 14:01:22 EST
Subject: Voting in a Church

Today, being Election Day in the US, I had the unique experience of
davening Shacharit in shul, and then walking upstairs to the social hall
and voting, as the government uses that space as a polling place.  A few
streets away, in an adjacent district, the polling place is located in a
local church. What are the halachic implications of voting in a polling
place that is located in a church building?  

David I. Cohen


End of Volume 28 Issue 13