Volume 28 Number 31
                      Produced: Tue Nov 24  7:09:50 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A simple reason why 7 children gives you automatic NEXT WORLD
         [Russell Hendel]
Avraham and Ishmael (2)
         [Alexander Heppenheimer, Esther and Sholom Parnes]
Avraham and Yishmael
         [Menucha Chwat]
Avraham and Yismael
         [Sheldon Meth]
Avraham the warrior
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Bais Yaakov
         [Melech Press]
DNA testing
         [Josh Backon]
Finishing the Pasuk
         [Steven White]
Receiving compensation for learning/teaching tora
         [Joel Rich]


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 16:24:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: A simple reason why 7 children gives you automatic NEXT WORLD

Quite simply 
          >A man is Biblically obligated to support his children 
          till they are 6; after 6 however, he is rabinically obligated
          and it is considered an act of Tzedakah 

          Furthermore if he is not economically able to support his
          children after 6, although we may embarass him communally and
          try and persuade him, we do not force him
          (Paraphrase of Rambam, Marriage, 12:14-15)

Thus a person who has 7 children is continually performing charity and
therefore gets a share in the next world.

The gmarrah probably chose "7 children" because at the "7 children mark"
most people enter a status of "not being economically able to support
all 7 children (under ordinary work conditions)" and therefore his
support is considered charity

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA RHendel @ mcs drexel edu


From: <Alexander_Heppenheimer@...> (Alexander Heppenheimer)
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 11:28:33 -0500
Subject: Re: Avraham and Ishmael

Actually, all that posuk tells us is that Yishmael came to Avraham's
funeral having done teshuvah; it doesn't say anything about when this
happened, so he may well have already done teshuvah forty years earlier,
at the time of the Akeidah. (This is not my own idea; it comes from a
footnote in Vol. 20 of Likkutei Sichos, the published talks of the
Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l.)

Also, we do find that Avraham visited Yishmael several times, years
after Yishmael had been banished. (The story is told in Pirkei D'Rabbi
Eliezer, and quoted in Me'am Loez to Bereishis 21:21.) And, in fact,
Rashi himself (to Bereishis 22:2) quotes the dialogue between Avraham
and Hashem about the Akeidah, where when Hashem told him to take "your
son, your only son, whom you love," Avraham objected that he has two
sons, *both* of whom he loved; so that Hashem finally had to specify
that he meant Yitzchak.

Evidently, then, Avraham related to Yishmael on two levels: he hated him
for his wicked ways (as R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi explains in ch. 9 of
the Tanya, the hallmark of a perfect tzaddik is that he has the utmost
contempt and hatred for evil); yet he loved him as a son.

In fact, in ch. 32 of the Tanya, R' Shneur Zalman explains that we, too,
must operate on these two levels when dealing with those sorts of people
(habitual sinners) whom halachah tells us to hate. On the one hand, hate
the yetzer hara (evil inclination) that has seized them; on the other
hand, love them as you would any Jew, for the fact that they too have a
G-dly soul whose Source is the same as yours (and, as part of that, feel
pity for the fact that this G-dly soul is trapped in such a terrible
situation, and do whatever you can to lift that person out of it and
help them to do teshuvah).

Kol tuv y'all,

From: Esther and Sholom Parnes <merbe@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 23:39:04 +0200
Subject: Avraham and Ishmael

Since I was asked to give a dvar torah at the local Emunah Chapter
meeting this evening, the subject of Avraham and his relationship with
Ishmael seemed like a good topic to explore.  Interestingly enough, none
of the meforshim on Rashi (as far as I checked) seemed to be bothered by
the presence of Ishmael at the Akeida even though Avraham had banished
him in the previous perek. The meforshim do discuss what was puzzling
Rashi that prompted him to quote this midrash.  The pasuk says "vayekach
et shnei nearav eto". The use of the word "nearav" instead of "nearim"
indicates that these were 2 lads of particular importance and
significance to Avraham - who else could that have been if not for
Ishmael and Eliezer!?

One possible answer to why Ishmael was in Avraham's house is alluded to
in Perkei D'Rabbi Eliezer where the midrash brings in all sorts of
(interesting) stories regarding Avraham and his continuing relationship
with Ishmael despite the fact that he was thrown out.  It seems that
Avraham made periodic visits to Ishmael in the desert and Ishmael was
overwhelmed by Avraham's concern for him. It could possibly be a
reciprocal relationship - maybe Ishmael stopped in to visit Avraham from
time to time, and on one of these visits Avraham got the command for the
Akeida. Hence his presence with the entourage.

Another explanantion I heard from a colleague at work is one that
requires us to look at midrashim not in their literal sense, but rather
as metaphors in a more global sense.  This interpretation says that
Eliezer represents Christianity and Ishmael represents Islam. In that
case both representatives of the 2 leading religions were present and
witnesses to the fact that indeed Yitzchak was the chosen heir to
Avraham's legacy. Moreover both had been candidates in the past to be
potential heirs, and here they are recognizing Yitzchak's supremacy.
This theory really appeals to me except for one hitch.  If this was a
midrashic source of a later date perhaps there could be references to
Islam. However the source quoted by Rashi is from Vayikra Raba which is
of an earlier period.  I still liked the thought and valued it enough to
share with others. (My appreciation to Yitzchak Rosenberger-"kol haomer
davar bshem omro mevi geula leolam").  One interesting aside is that the
source of the midrash in Vayikra Rabba misquotes the pasuk from the
Akeida!! Some of the experts I spoke to didn't seemed bothered by that
since they say that it happens often in midrashim. 
Hope this shed some light on the subject.
(Despite reading mail-jewisht for 2+ years, this is my first submission.
Aren't you glad ?!)

Esther Parnes


From: Menucha Chwat <menu@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 09:16:32 +0200
Subject: re: Avraham and Yishmael

Yalkut Shimoni 22:96. "Yishmael went out from the Midbar to see
("Lirot") Avraham, on that night Hashem appeared to Avraham and said
"Take your son etc."
IMHO this explains Avraham's dialogue with Hashem, "Take your son"  "I
have 2 sons" etc.
Menucha Chwat


From: Sheldon Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 08:00:47 -0500
Subject: RE: Avraham and Yismael

Michael Kanovsky writes:

> "My nine year old son asked me a question dealing with Avraham and
> Yishmael that I had no adequate answer to. His question was that Rashi
> says that the two "ne'arim" that accompanied Avraham and Yitzchak on
> the way to the akeida were Eliezer and Yishmael. But just previously
> Avraham banished his son Yishmael and also if you look at Rashi in the
> above mentioned parsha he indicates that Avraham hated Yishmael for
> leaving the ways of the torah.  The only answer that I had was that
> Yishmael did teshuva but that does not fit with the all that say that
> Yishmael did teshuva only at the end of Avrahams life (beseiva tova
> and the fact that when it mentions that both Yitzchak and Yishmael
> buried Avraham is where we learn that Yishmael did teshuva). If anyone
> has any answer please let me know, I hate getting stumped by a nine
> year old :-)"

	Yitzchak was 37 years old at the Akeida; therefore Yishmael was
50 at that time.  So notwithstanding the sequence of the verses in the
Torah, Avraham did not "just previously" banish his son; it was 37 (or
maybe 35 or, at worst 24) years earlier.  Chazal say that Yishmael paid
frequent visits to his father, and the Medrash says that he happened to
be visiting when Avraham got the command.  As to precisely when Yishmael
did teshuvah, that is not clear, but regardless it does not preclude a
respectful relationship with his father.


From: Saul Mashbaum <mshalom@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 15:16:11 -1300
Subject: Avraham the warrior

1. Mark Dratch wrote
>....And while "ha-etz" is recited over grapes, wine is not downgraded to
>"sheh'hakol," but, rather, is elevated to "ha-gafen." 
>Malkitzedek to Avraham, you have changed!  But you have elevated
>yourself like bread and wine and are deserving of more elevated

When I told my son David of this 'halachic drush', he told me that this
is the basis of the phrase 'invei hagefen b'invei hagefen, davar naeh
umitkabel' (loosely, 'grapes of the vine [combined] with grapes of the
vine, a most fitting and proper thing') which is applied to newlyweds;
each one of the young couple changes for the better as a result of the
marriage, becoming elevated, as wine is over grapes.

2. In response to my conclusion after citing a midrash
> Obviously, this rabbinic opinion explicitly rejects the premise that the
> Akedah is a 'tikkun' for Avraham the warrior.

Carl Sherer wrote

>While I'm not sure about the theory of Avraham needing the akedah 
>as a tikkun for having killed in the war of the four kings, I think this 
>theory goes too far in ascribing to the writer of the Medrash an 
>opinion which he may not have held. 
>It is possible that Avraham legitimately and justifiably killed 
>someone, and yet still needed a tikkun for doing so. For example, 
>a Cohen who has blood on his hands is not allowed to duchan, 
>whether or not the reason that he killed is a justifiable one. 

I still believe that my conclusion is correct.

The straightforward sense of the midrash I cited indicates that HaShem
is assuring Avraham that he has nothing to fear, and that he remains
unblemished after the battle he has been in.

But even if "Avraham legitimately and justifiably killed someone, and
yet still needed a tikkun for doing so", surely the Akedah, during which
he is called on to legitimately and justifiably kill someone, would not
be such a tikkun -- the tikkun would itself require a tikkun.

3. It is interesting that Carl mentions kehuna in the context of Avraham
Avinu, since several midrashic sources state that Avraham was a
Cohen. Midrash Bereshit Rabbah 55 states that Avraham asked HaShem how
he could offer a sacrifice, since he was not a Cohen, and HaShem told
him that He was appointing him a Cohen. In Bereshit Rabbah 46,
R. Yishmael states that Avraham was careful to make sure that he was an
unblemished Cohen (according to this source Avraham was a Cohen Gadol!).
See also Vayikra Rabbah 25.

In the spirit of halachic drush I might point out that since, aside from
duchening, a Cohen who has blood on his hands is not allowed to perform
avoda (the sacrificial service) either (see Tosfot Yevamot 7a, Sanhedrin
35b), the fact that Avraham was 'kasher l'avoda' demonstrates that he
was considered unblemished even after his battle against the 4 kings;
his involvement in warfare did not disqualify him from kehuna, and
presumably he did not require a tikkun for it.

Saul Mashbaum


From: <mpress@...> (Melech Press)
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 16:28:42 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Bais Yaakov

Having been unable to reach Eitan Diamond directly, I suggest he look at
Shoshana Zolty's "And All Your Children Shall Be Learned,", published by
Jason Aronson in 1993.

Melech Press
M. Press, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology and Deputy Chair, Touro College
1602 Avenue J, Brooklyn, NY 11230
718-252-7800, ext. 275


From: <backon@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 09:26:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: DNA testing

We recently had a shiur on this topic at the hospital. Those poskim who
do NOT rely on blood testing (and I would assume also DNA testing) for
determing paternity are Rav Valdenberg (Tzitz Eliezer Chelek Yod Gimmel
Siman 104) and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l (as written in the sefer
Lev Avraham Chelek Bet 17). Those poskim who would accept blood testing
for determing paternity are: SHU"T Yad Efraim Siman 7:8; Mishmeret Chaim
Siman 37).

Josh Backon


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 22:38:19 EST
Subject: Re: Finishing the Pasuk

In #25, Gershon Dubin writes:

<< 	Related question: when we say in the Yom Kippur avodah about the
 Kohen Gadol saying the pasuk "ki bayom hazeh", we leave off the last
 word of the pasuk.  Has anyone seen anything about finishing off the
 pasuk silently (before the bowing)? >>

At first glance, I had an easy answer for this:  we finish the pasuk about
three paragraphs later (see below).  But actually it's a pretty interesting

[Several other posters sent in submissions pointing out the finishing of
the pasuk shortly afterward. Mod.]

After all, the order of this in the piyut during musaf goes like this:
"Ki bayom hazeh yechaper alechem l'taher etchem lifnei Hashem ...

"Vehakohanim veha'am [snip most of paragraph] noflim al p'neihem
v'omrim: 'Baruch shem kvod malchuto l'olam va'ed.'

"V'af hu haya mitkaven ligmor et haShem k'neged hamevarchim v'omer
lahem, 'Titharu.'"

In other words, the narrative of the piyyut interrupts the pasuk,
describes how the people bow and respond, and goes back to say, "The
[Kohen Gadol] would intend to complete the Name simultaneously with
those reciting the blessing [i.e., Baruch shem], then would [complete
the verse]: 'Titharu.'"

So clearly we do get to the end of the pasuk ("Titharu") after a while.
But as both the piyyut and the Mishna point out, only the Kohen gadol
recites the pasuk of "Ki Vayom Hazeh"; everyone else just responds
"Baruch shem ..."

My conclusion is that we are simply to recite the text of the piyut as
given, which means that we do not finish the pasuk ("Titharu") until
after the interpolation of the section on bowing and response.

Steven White


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 08:23:56 EST
Subject: Receiving compensation for learning/teaching tora

Does anyone know of any compilation of sources on this topic? I'm
interested in the historical flow which to my admittedly untutored eye
appears to have gone from being considered an act of the evil
inclination to take compensation to now being an act of the evil
inclination not to take compensation.

Kol Tuv
Joel Rich


End of Volume 28 Issue 31