Volume 30 Number 21
                 Produced: Fri Nov 26 15:06:30 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Democracy and Messianism
         [Alan Rubin]
Diffusion of the phrase "Eylu ve-eylu"
         [Sholem Berger]
Obedience to less-than-ideal Halakha
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Schindler's List (3)
         [Richard Schultz, Rena Freedenberg, Simcha Streltsov]
         [Nosson Tuttle]
Yom Tov Sheni for Israelis in Huts la-Arets
         [Shlomo Godick]


From: Alan Rubin <arubin@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 15:03 +0000 (GMT Standard Time)
Subject: RE: Democracy and Messianism

Russell Hendel said
> More specifically the Medicare Act of 1965 created for the first time in
> human history a NATIONAL effort to care for the elderly and disabled
> thru a systematic use of taxes.

Slightly off-topic but it is worth pointing out that there is human
history outside the United States.  eg Pensions introduced by Lloyd
George before the 1st World War, the National Health Service in Britain
in the 1940s and I am sure there plenty of other examples.

Alan Rubin	<arubin@...>


From: Sholem Berger <sholemberger@...>
Date: Sun Nov 21 17:53:35 1999
Subject: Diffusion of the phrase "Eylu ve-eylu"

The phrase Eylu v'eylu divrey elokim khayim ("Both of these [opinions]
are words of the living God") has become common enough as to be called a
catch phrase. The question is: by what path? A cursory Bar-Ilan search
reveals only two instances of this phrase in Bavli, one in Tosfot,
somewhat more in Yerushalmi, and quite a large number of references in
the Rishonim.

My question is this: has anyone addressed the diffusion of the phrase
Eylu ve'eylu, not in its philosophic significance (which has of course
been often written about) but as a linguistic and stylistic trope, so
familiar that it could be referred to by many of the Rishonim without
explanation? If you are not familiar with any consideration of this
question, do you have any suggestion as to the correct way to go about
searching for the path of its diffusion between the baalei Tosfot and
the Rishonim?

Thanks for any help you can give. Please mail me off-list
if you like.

Sholem Berger


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 10:01:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Obedience to less-than-ideal Halakha 

Perry Dane wrote, in response to Russell Hendel and the moderator:

> Indeed, if the halahkah always represented the "ideal" state of
> affairs, then obedience to it would be less meaningful, and less of a
> virtue.

Why would it be more meaningful or virtuous to obey a less-than-ideal
halakha than to obey an ideal one?

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>


From: Richard Schultz <schultr@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 12:56:15 +0200
Subject: Schindler's List

While I realize that mail-jewish is supposed to be for discussions about
Judaism rather than for movie reviews, I feel that I have to respond to
a few comments that have appeared so far about the film.  I should warn
the readers that I am one of the few people in the world who really
disliked the film, primarily (not entirely) because I felt that it
wasn't very good *as a film* (independent of any questions of historical
accuracy).  Since this isn't mail-movie-reviews, I won't go into that in
any more detail.

I feel, however, that the incorrect notion that the film was
historically accurate should be addressed.  In fact, there were all
sorts of historical inaccuracies in the film.  Some were what I would
call "forgivable fictions": Ben Kingsley's character was actually a
combination of two different people, but it would have been confusing to
have a film with so many characters in it.  There were also instances of
what one might call dramatic license (e.g. Schindler was not present
when the bodies from Plaszow were exhumed and burned).  But I think that
while it's good that the film has raised people's consciousness of this
episode, it suffers from the film's inaccurate portrayal of both
Schindler and Goeth (the Nazi).  While there were scenes showing some of
Schindler's less savory traits (more cynically, scenes thrown in to make
the film more "adult" and worthy of an R rating), the fundamental
complexity of his and Goeth's characters was completely ignored by the
film.  I strongly recommend that anyone who is intrested in learning the
true story skip the film and read the book instead.  There's also a
brief reference to Schindler in Martin Gilbert's _Atlas of the
Holocaust_ in the section that talks about the evacuation of Auschwitz.

					Richard Schultz

From: Rena Freedenberg <free@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 19:04:14 +0200
Subject: RE: Schindler's List

Maybe the poster of this message would understand better if we were to
explain by saying that the movie was indeed "filth" and filled with
gratuitous sex and abuse even though the story itself and the plot were
not.  In other words, Spielberg COULD have told the story without
showing the viewer the bedroom scene and other explicit sexual and
violent material.

It is true that such films about the holocaust are better viewed by
mature audiences, but even mature audiences are forbidden to expose
themselves to explicit sexual scenes, references, and all other
non-tznius material. It is also true that the period of the holocaust
was characterized by horrendous and inhuman violence towards Jews;
however, one can portray things many different ways and still get one's
point across.

If you have ever been to the holocaust museum in Washington, DC in the
States and also to Yad Vashem in Yerushalayim, Israel, you can
understand exactly what I am talking about. One is explicit, in your
face, and portrays things in the most visually disgusting way, and the
other causes exactly the same feelings and knowledge to be imparted in a
more refined way. No one can ever come away from the children's memorial
at Yad Vashem untouched; it is so sad and heart-wrenching that words
cannot describe it. However, the entire memorial is done without showing
one visually disgusting picture, one drop of blood, or one dead body.

Jews are a subtle people and proper Torah hashkafa teaches us that we
must say and present things in the most refined light possible. Remember
the story of the Cohen who said something about the tail of a lizard and
was thereby revealed to be not what he was thought to be?


From: Simcha Streltsov <simon1@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 12:12:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Schindler's List

Eric mentions that watching movies like Shindler's list leads children
to ask serious questions.

I agree with this, but I would like to suggest reading rather than
watching as a better stimulus for questions.

The movies tend to force you to follow the thinking of the authors and
it is very hard to question the truth of the assumptions because you
"see" the events. Eric's example is very illustrative - the events were
different from reality, and probably the dilemmas that faced those
prisoners were also different from reality. Given that most movies are
produced by people with "hashkafot" quite different from Judaism, the
movies will lead you to the wrong questions.

As far as the books go, I can recommend two books that are based on real
events and may stimulate many hard questions: (both available at

Grynberg, Henryk.Children of Zion; translated from the Polish 
                by Jacqueline Mitchell ; with an afterword by Israel Gutman.
 IMPRINT      Evanston, Ill. : Northwestern University Press, 1997.

Huberband, Shimon, 1909-1942.
    Kiddush Hashem : Jewish religious and cultural life in Poland 
                during the Holocaust / translated by 
                David E. Fishman ; edited by Jeffrey S. Gurock, Robert S. Hirt.
 IMPRINT      Hoboken, N.J. : Ktav Pub. House ; New York : Yeshiva University 
                Press, 1987.
 NOTE         Translation of untitled Yiddish manuscript notes; earlier Hebrew 
                translation published in 1969 under title: Kidush ha-Shem.

Grynberg's recent book is composed from many actual interviews with
Jewish children who survived both German occupation and Soviet camps
done during the War in the General Anders' Polish army. He compiles all
interviews by topics, so you can actually see 10-20 descriptions of the
same typical scene (say, Germany army entering a Polish town, or Jews
trying to make a Rosh Hashana minyan in a labor camp).

Rabbi Huberband's memoirs were written and hidden in Poland right in the
middle of the war. He himself disappeared in 1942, the notes were found
after the war.

IMVHO, these books will give more food for thought than the movies.

Simcha Streltsov
Boston MA


From: Nosson Tuttle <TUTTLE@...>
Date: Fri Nov 12 00:21:54 1999
Subject: Tenaim

Ellen Krischer <krischer@...> comments on Perets Mett's post on
mimetic tradition:

>	I think Perets is mistaken here.  Formal teno-im (at least in
>the states) is quite common but is done *at the wedding*.  It comes
>complete with witnesses, plate breaking etc.

Chasidim still do the Tenaim at a separate occasion before the wedding.
This replaces the "vort" as an engagement party.  It is the "Litvaks" or
non-Chasidim who now make the Tenaim at the beginning of the wedding
ceremony.  At the conclusion of the Tenaim, in either case, the plate is
broken.  When I had my Tenaim at my Chasuna (wedding), the rabbi
explicitly stated to get a "Tenaim d'Reb Moshe (Feinstein)".  The
implication of this document is that it is nearly meaningless being
situated at the beginning of the wedding ceremony, since an "Al
Yavrichu" (penalties for the possibility of breaking up) clause is
unlikely to be violated.  I think this is the point Peretz Mett is
making that the concept of formal Tenaim has been displaced, i.e. is in
the ceremony without having much effect, at least in the Litvishe
(non-Chasidic) world.

-Nosson Tuttle


From: Shlomo Godick <shlomog@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 09:56:54 +0200
Subject: Re: Yom Tov Sheni for Israelis in Huts la-Arets

Daniel Katsman <hannah@...> wrote:

>If we have been instructed to maintain this practice even though the
>calendar has been fixed and eveyone knows the correct date, we should
>observe it in its original form.  Israelis abroad should keep two days
>min ha-din (no melakha, Yom Tov davening, kiddush, no tefillin on the
>last day), and hutsnikim in EY should keep only one day.

I heard this opinion cited in the name of the Chacham Tzvi.  But
although its logic is very appealing, it does not seem to have been
adopted by most contemporary poskim.  Most hutznikim are told either to
keep two days, or "one-and-a-half" days (meaning keeping all of the
mitzvos of the chag the first day, and the mitzvos lo-saasah ("negative"
commandments) the second day (while davening tefilas chol and not making

Kol tuv,
Shlomo Godick  


End of Volume 30 Issue 21