Volume 29 Number 95
                 Produced: Mon Nov  1  5:42:47 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Democracy--A Torah Value? (2)
         [Yisrael Medad, Joseph Geretz]
L'David Hashem
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Metaphysics of Mitzvot
         [Jeffrey Bock]
Molad after Rosh Chodesh?
         [Ira Walfish]
         [m g]
Orthodox Attitudes to Food
         [Solomon Schimmel]
The distinction between TRUST and BLIND FAITH
         [Russell Hendel]
The Forbidden Fruit
         [Moshe Nugiel]
YKVK vs. Elokim
         [Richard Wolpoe]


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 19:27:08 +0200
Subject: Democracy--A Torah Value?

As for Moshe Nugiel's posting on Democracy--A Torah Value?,
please refer to a nice synopsis of Rav Chaim Hirshcenson's approach,
very pro-democracy via Torah ( see his Responsa "Malki B'Kodesh),
by Eliezer Schweid entitled DEemokratia v'Halacha, Magnes, 1978.
Born in Tzfat in 1857 and from 1903, Rav of Hoboken, NJ

From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 18:28:21 -0500
Subject: Democracy--A Torah Value?

Moshe Nugiel wrote:
> The political manifestation of a people which has
> fully accepted upon itself the yoke of God's sovereignty is enlightened
> despotism.

Actually, the term 'Theocracy' more properly describes our ideal
religious/political state.

See Webster's:

Theocracy: government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by
officials who are regarded as divinely guided

I'm not trying to be pedantic. I think that the term 'despot' invests the
leader with a degree of unilateral power that our earthly kings do not have.
Our earthly king, Melech HaMashiach, will function as G-d's emissary when
ruling over us.

We are in agreement though, that Democracy is not the Torah ideal for our
government. (Although presumably, this is an admirable form of government
for B'nei Noach.)

Kol Tuv,

Yossi Geretz
Focal Point Solutions, Inc.


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 1999 09:49:38 +0200 (IST)
Subject: L'David Hashem

Maybe the L'David Hashem Ori season has passed, but it seems that the
differnce but Ashkenaz & Sefarad is because in the past, Mincha & Maariv
were said together before nightfall (expecpt Moseai Shabbat). Therefore
L'David was said at the end i.e. at Maariv. Later on, when they were
split, 2 minhagim came about. IMHO, on a small matter like this, only one
way should be used. 
BTW, some places in Yerushalem say it only on weekdays in Shaharit. 
And most Sefaradim do not say it at all!
Happy winter - (1st day of Tal U'Matar)


From: Jeffrey Bock <bockny@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 08:27:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Metaphysics of Mitzvot

Can anyone provide me with an overview of the different ways of
understanding the purpose Mitzvot and the ramifications thereof.

For example, the Rambam and S.R. Hirsch seem to understand that all the
Mitzvot are symbolic actions we are to learn from; a more chasidic
approach seems to attribute to mitzvot the power to effect change in
higher worlds (and our responsiblity to effect those changes).

How do these (and other) approaches relate to a non-religious Jew who is
gradually increasing observance, who therefore has good intention and
"positive momentum" but is repeatedly in violation of many mitzvot,
often with full awareness ("I don't do that--I'm not on that level,



From: Ira Walfish <Ira.Walfish@...>
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1999 11:59:44 -0400
Subject: Molad after Rosh Chodesh?

Yisrael Melad's question
         Can any molad occur after Rosh Chodesh? (mail.jewish vol 29, #58)

was correctly answered as a definite *NO!* by Professor Loewinger.

Remy Landau's article *Romancing the Old Moon*, published in *Mehqere
Hag* Volume 10, October 1998, pages 6-19, convincingly demonstrates the
mathematical reasons which restrain the molad.

There is another mathematical demonstration of this restraint on the
molad to be found at http://www.geocities.com/athens/1584.

Fundamentally, the Dehiyyah Molad Zakein was instituted precisely to
ensure that the calculated time of the molad could never exceed the
first day of any Hebrew month.

Absent Dehiyyah Molad Zakein, the time of the molad can occur as late as
5h 422hl on the 2nd day Shevat in a 383 day year; as late as 1h 505hl on
the 2nd day of Kislev in a 384 day year; and as late as 2h 1011hl on the
2nd day of Shevat in a 384 day year.

As a result of the rule, the latest possible time for any molad is 23h
422hl. That time will first occur on the first day of Shevat in the
Hebrew year 128,459H (Saturday 23 June 124,700 Gregorian) if both
calendar rules were to remain unchanged.

Remy Landau also notes that the restraining effect of the Dehiyyah Molad
Zakein is not to the moladot of the year postponed by the rule, but
rather to the moladot of the immediately preceding year.


From: m g <moish@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 01:58:01 -0400
Subject: nickname

If one names a child after an individual who had two names, and was
called mainly by one of his names, is there any inyan or obligation to
likewise nickname this child with that particular name, or is there no
problem at all to call him by the other name. Please cite sources.


From: Solomon Schimmel <sschimme@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 11:04:05 -0400
Subject: Orthodox Attitudes to Food

I am interested in locating articles or responsa from the orthodox
Jewish community in the United States, that address and/or
criticize the Americanized, consumption-oriented food culture that has
developed in this population. To what extent do the elaborate wedding,
kiddush and bar-mitzva feasts, the proliferation of glatt kosher, halav
yisrael etc. food products, the Passover and other carnival cruises and
vacation resorts with their own chefs and mashgihim, the kosher
restaurants from fast-food to gourmet,- to what extent do they
contradict the spiritual values of traditional Judaism, especially of
the Lithuanian musar orientation, which advocates mild to moderate
asceticism rather than hedonism and preoccupations with "gashmiyut", as
the proper spiritual path for a Torah true Jew? Do the leaders of these
communities see any religious/spiritual problem in these developments,
and if so where and how do they convey their views to their communities?

	 I have searched the Bar-Ilan Responsa Database, Rambi, the
Index to Jewish Periodical Literature, using search terms such as
glutttony, "akhila gasa", "balaan", "raavtan", and other related terms
and combinations of terms, but have come up with almost no references.

        If anyone can direct me to material published on this subject I
would greatly appreciate it. Articles or responsa on a similar
phenomenon in Israel and in the modern orthodox community would also be

 Sol Schimmel
 Hebrew College


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 18:58:47 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: The distinction between TRUST and BLIND FAITH

Yasher Coach to Binyomin (v29n90) for bringing up the above
distinction. Binyomin asks for comments.

I had the privelege of hearing Rabbi Dr Soloveitchick (the Rav) for 7
years. We learned Chumash and Rashi for many of those 7 years. On the
verse in Lech Lechah YOU HAVE MUCH SACHAR which God spoke to Abraham the
Rav made the following comment about SACAR VONESH.

SACAR implies the right to legally demand (Several other suggestions
from the audience about why SACAR was used to denote the reward we get
in the next world included comments on whether the individual deserved
it but the Rav said that if the individual did not deserve it you
wouldn't be giving it to him)

Thus the difference between the Christian REWARD and PUNISHMENT vs the
Jewish SACAR VONESH is that Judaism emphasizes the CONTRACTUAL nature of
the relationship between man and God.  If we really have done the
Mitzvoth then we have a right to demand our SACAR (not out REWARD but
our WAGES).

The above idea ties in with the idea of TRUST vs BLIND FAITH. To use the
Rav's language it is not that we TRUST God but that we have a CONTRACT
with him. There is a big difference between a handyman that is reliable
and one you have entered into contract with.

I believe this point of the Rav on the difference between the Christian
concept of REWARD and our concept of SACAR=WAGES should be better known.

Russell Hendel; Phd ASA; <RJHEndel@...>
Moderator Rashi Is Simple


From: Moshe Nugiel <friars@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 10:42:05 +0200
Subject: The Forbidden Fruit

Most of us are probably aware that the "chapter and verse" divisions in
our sacred literature are of Christian origin.  Not infrequently, the
placement of the divisions is such as to create a potential difficulty
in our understanding of the p'sukim (verses).  A gross example of this
occurs in parshat Berashit.  Unfortunately, the Christian divisions are
universally accepted and are so well entrenched that it is virtually
impossible to be free of them.  Therefore, reluctantly, references to
perek and pasuk numbers are, perforce, according to that system.

     The ma'aseh of the eating of the forbidden fruit by Chavah and Adam
has a central role in Christian theology and ethics.  Their doctrine of
"original sin"-- the evil of sexual life, is based upon this ma'aseh.
In order to make their point, however, they need to take the story out
of its context.  What is commonly known as "Chapter 3" of the Book of
Genesis, which begins with the pasuk, "Now the serpent..." is found, if
we look in a chumash, to begin in the middle of a long parsha
(paragraph) which begins with the retelling of the creation-ma'aseh from
its very beginning.  I believe that the reason that Christendom cut up
the parsha in this way is that if we learn the ma'aseh of tbhe forbidden
fruit within its context, we learn that the conflict between Adam,
Chavah, and the Nachash is quite a different one than that of "original
sexual sin."

 Let's start with the prohibition against eating from the tree of
knowledge of good and evil (2:17).  Immediately following, is the pasuk
(18) wherein Hashem recognizes that it is not good for man to be alone,
and He resolves to make for him an ezer k'negdo.  One might have thought
that this should have been followed immediately by the creation of
Chavah, but no.  The following p'sukim tell of the creation of the
animals and of their naming by Adam (19), and then comes the astounding
assertion that Adam was not able to find his ezer k'negdo amongst the
animals (20)!  What is being said here is that there was an attempt to
find an animal which would serve as Adam's suitable helper.  It is
beyond the scope of this essay to delve into the kind of relationship
which is hypothesized here.  However, it is clear that at this point,
there is no sexual component between Adam and his ezer k'negdo.  More
likely we are talking about something like a king and his prime
minister.  In any event, no animal was found suitable, and so Hashem
creates Chavah from Adam's flesh, and hence they are of one flesh
(21-24).  Pasuk 25 tells us that they were both arumim (translated as
naked), and not ashamed.  The next pasuk (3:1) tells us that the Nachash
was more arum (translated as subtle) than all the other animals, and he
begins to challenge the woman in his ultimately successful attempt to
get her to eat the forbidden fruit.  Let us reconsider again the
unrealized hypothesis that Adam was going to find an animal to be his
ezer k'negdo.  If at this point we were to ask ourselves which of the
animals had probably come out on top of the list of candidates to be
Adam's ezer k'negdo, we would have to say that it was the Nachash!  He
(or maybe she--but it's irrelevant here), was the most arum--a
characteristic shared by Adam and Chavah, and the Nachash can speak with
them.  The Nachash must have been very disappointed that he did not
receive the prestigious and powerful position of Adam's help-mate.  So
he devises a plan to get rid of Chavah.  She was supposed to die upon
eating the fruit, forcing Adam to settle for the Nachash as ezer
k'negdo.  However, not only does she not die, but to the Nachash's
horror she gives the fruit to Adam, and he also eats.  Here is the
heroic crux of the ma'aseh.  Adam knows that Chavah is tainted.  He has
a decision to make.  Shall he abandon Chavah, who has gone astray, and
team up with the Nachash?  Or shall he join himself to Chavah more
closely and powerfully by sharing her destiny in sin?  He chooses to
cast his lot with Chavah.  In so choosing Adam defines human existence
from that moment on, for better or for worse.
    The sin of the Nachash was that of envy and lust for power.  That of
Adam was choosing to follow the mistaken path of his wife.  I fail to
find any sex/lust in their motivations at all.  Only after they are both
corrupted by their eating of the fruit is there a sexual component to
their behaviors.  But where Christianity sees a story of jealousy based
upon sexual desire, the p'sukim teach us of the difficult and noble
decision of Adam to stay loyal to his ezer k'negdo--his one flesh.

Moshe Nugiel


From: Richard Wolpoe <richard_wolpoe@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999 09:59:21 -0400
Subject: YKVK vs. Elokim

I said

>I would lean towards YKVK as G-d forever, and Elokim as judge, ruler, 

Stan Tenen:
 Again, this is a problem of semantics and definition.  I tend the other
way, because of the usual meanings of the words.  YKVK is usually
translated "Lord" (based on a root, "adin," meaning "pedestal"), and a
lord "lords-it-over" his court from a singular position high above, on a
high pedestal.  A temporal lord rules his court.  A temporal lord stands
in judgement, and is commander-in-chief.  (Diagrammatically, the Yud
represents the Will of Hashem, and the Vav, the high pedestal or

Just a quick counterpoint:
 The German translation for YKVK (according to Roedelheim) is EWIGE
(roughly = Eternal).

The use of L-rd in English is IMHO the translation of ADNY which is the
way we read YKVK.

Footnote, another meaning of Elokim = Chief Justice, (Shofeit Kol
Ho'oretz - Judge of all the World)

Rich Wolpoe 


End of Volume 29 Issue 95