Volume 30 Number 27
                 Produced: Wed Dec  8  6:00:27 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Absolute authority
         [Ahron Wolf]
Baruch Dayan haEmet
         [Eric W Mack]
Big Shofars
         [Ari Z. Zivotofsky]
Halachick vs Tnachic Works
         [Russell Hendel]
Monarchy and Halacha
         [Kalman Neuman]
Where would you like to live -large or small?
         [Reuven Miller]
Where would you like to live? (3)
         [Stuart Wise, Rena Freedenberg, Michael Poppers]


From: Ahron Wolf <awolf@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 09:53:59 -0500
Subject: Absolute authority

Russel Hendel writes
>> No...this is not true according to anybody. Taking a woman (against
her will) is rape Taking money is theft. No one in Jewish law is allowed
to rape or steal. >>

Now that Russel mentions it that way, I'm not so sure if taking woman is
permitted to a king even though it seemed like that way the first time I
read the verses in Shmuel.  However it should be noted that the king can
take wives from whover he sees fit. Its true that in order for there to
be a Kinyan of Kiddushin or Pilagshus there has to be agreement, however
it is interesting to note that whoever goes against the wishes of the
king can be put to death. So there is not much choice. The Gemara
actually discusses the case of Kiddushin under duress and states that it
is biblically valid but the Rabbis annuled such a Kiddushin since it is
not appropriate. Does this anullment apply to the king as well? And if
so does it apply to Pilagshus as well? I don't know.

As for absolute authority, the Rambam in Hilchos Melachim 4 clearly
states that a king is entitled to take livestock and slaves at will as
long as he pays for them, he is also entitled to tax the people for his
own personal purposes. Whoever goes against the wishes of the king can
be put to death, even if the king tells him to stand on his head and he
doesn't. This sounds like 'almost' absolute authority to me.


From: Eric W Mack <ewm44118@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 19:45:58 -0500
Subject: Baruch Dayan haEmet

Yaakov Frimer, the son of one of our learned contributors, R' Aryeh
Frimer, shlit"a, was niftar this week here in Ohio.  Shiva is in
University Heights, Ohio, for his widow, Shira and their children, and
in Rehovot, for R' Aryeh and Esther Frimer and Yaakov's sisters.

T'hei nishmato tzrura b'tzror haChaim.

Eric Mack  <ewm44118@...>

[Sorry for not getting this out in time for members to pay a shiva call
to R' Aryeh's family. R' Aryeh has been a member of our mail-jewish
family for many years, and our condolences go out to the entire Frimer
family. Mod.]


From: Ari Z. Zivotofsky <azz@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 12:13:33 -0500
Subject: Big Shofars

It seems that it is becoming more popular to use the very large, two
curled shofars from the Kudu on Rosh Hashana. I am familiar with the
gemara that prefers a ram's horns and the opinion of the Rambam that
only a ram's horn is good. I am interested if there are any other issues
in the use of the kudu horn. Has anyone seen any responsa or discussion?
In my search I have come up empty except for a short discussion by Rav
Kapach and an article by Rav Horowitz..

Ari Zivotofsky


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 23:59:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Halachick vs Tnachic Works

In volume 30 Number 16 Avi Feldblum writes concerning some comments
of mine on the Abarbanel's view on monarchy that

[I think I have some problems with the above paragraph. I'm putting this
here to the whole list, since I see similar type posts from many
people. The tone of the last paragraph clearly sends a message to me
when I read it that commentaries like the Abravanel and the Nitziv are
doing something "wrong" and you ask what our attitude should be. I think
a more productive approach is to make sure one knows the range of
halachic opinions on the topic is question (here, whether appointing a
king is a desired positive commandment, or is a requirement only if the
people demand a form of government outside of Sanhedrin/Navi), try and
understand if the halachic issue is dealt with by that reashon or
acharon possibly in a different location. Mod]

But to reiterate my point, THAT is exactly what my question was. Yes,...
I know the Abarbanel does not like Monarchy and I also know he
emphasizes the words "AND YOU WILL SAY I WANT A KING"(Dt 17:14) to show
that Monarchy is not a "commandment" but rather a "concession to human

BUT...my questions stand (let me rephrase them so Avi's remarks will not
hold): A) Since the Abarbanel did NOT write a halachic work am I
justified in using his Biblical commentary to INFER halachic viewpoints?
(That he legally held that Monarchy was not a Mitzvah). B) If I am not
allowed to infer halachic viewpoints from his commentary should I then
disregard his commentary (Since it is not coupled with appropriate
halachas). C) On the other hand if I am allowed to infer from his
commentary that the Abarbanel had a halachic viewpoint that monarchy was
a concession to human weakness then how do I deal with all the talmudic
statements treating monarchy as a law and how do I deal with the lack of
any literature reconciling the Abarbanel to these Talmudic statements.

D) With regard to Perry Dane's comments in Volume 30 Number 18 I would
simply say that, YES, we do believe that halacha is the ideal (Prv
3:17-18) I refer Perry to my article Maimonides' Attitude towards
Sacrifices (Tradition, Volume 13.4, Summer 1973, pp 163-180) in which I
give strong defenses that the Rambam did not believe what he said in the
Moreh Nevuchim about sacrifices but rather did believe they were an
ideal state

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/


From: Kalman Neuman <kneuman@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 17:23:14 +0200
Subject: Monarchy and Halacha

>From MJ 30-18
>It seems to me that the Netziv learns that according to the opinion of
>Mitzva, that the verse in the Torah that says you shall establish a king
>is a commandment, this does not refer to monarchy per se but the verse
>is referring to any system of government for the nation. The Netziv says
>that the Torah is not trying to establish a specific form of government
>but rather the obligation is to establish a government in whatever form
>the people choose.

RE The opinion of the netziv on monarchy.  Recently I have heard the
netziv been quoted as agreeing with the Abarbanel, Ibn Ezra school that
thinks that there is no mitzvah to have a king (In line with some
opinions in hazal).  However, reading the text (Dvarim 17:14) makes it
clear that there is a mitzvah to appoint a king but that the mitzvah to
establish a king is conditional on the agreement of the people that want
a king. This is because (as he explains) that imposing a king on people
if they don't wish a king would cause pikuach nefesh.

By the way, much material on the subject is in the book of Rabbi
Professor Gerald Blidstein "Ekronot Medini'im B'Mishnat Harambam"
(Political Concepts in Maimonidean Halacha-- Bar Ilan University
Press1983). A number of years ago Mori Verabi Harav Aharon Lichtenstein
gave a public lecture on democracy and halacha and introduced his talk
by referring to Blidsteins book.


From: Reuven Miller <millerr@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999 05:25:29 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Where would you like to live -large or small?

My conclusion after living in both is that it is preferable to live in a
_very large_ frum but diverse area rather than a small and homogenious

The large hetrogenious area allows neighbors to _choose_ the type of
school and youth movement, if at all, to send their kids which usually
will also determine his close friends. It will allow you the freedom of
which store and/or hechsher to use without causing friction amongst
neighbors. It will allow you to have neighbors that you can decide to be
more involved in their lives or have them more involved in yours , a
choice that you do not always have in a small "tight" community where
people are forced to be involved with one another.

You get to choose your own Rav and Shul(s) where you do or do not daven
(faster minyan or slower one, "quiet" or noisy etc) which avoids much
macklokes c"v which may occure when all have to daven in only one or two

I think that a large varied community also cuts down on lashon hara and
on a unhealthy keeping up with the Schwartz's (nothing personal, Herb).

In a large community important decisions for the community are made by
people whom you do not usually have day to day contact with which causes
less friction when a
decision that you disagree with has been made.

 etc etc (I think you get the picture)



From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 11:41:26 -0800
Subject: Re: Where would you like to live?

This is an excerpt from dwenger's response to Carl Singer's question
where would you like to live.  Notwithstanding Carl's comment about
"they've become like Brooklyn" in referring to community politics.

Without making too much of an issue over it, one can happily live even
in a community like Brooklyn and not worry his or her head over all the
politics.  Those who enjoy jumping into the fray are welcome to do so,
but you can also avoid it if you want.

I've been living in Brooklyn for 29 years, and other than Yerushalayim
there is no other community I would rather live in and raise my
children.  I grew up in small communities in the Northeast and
Midatlantic states, and I have visited major frum communities outside
New York, and no matter how much or how loud or how often people tout
some of them, I wouldn't trade in Brooklyn for any of them.  Where else
can one find a minyan practically any time of any day, and avail oneself
to a wide variety of shuls and schools for every type, shiurim abounding
day and night, shopping and restaurants to one's heart's content.

Sure it's expensive and crowded, but for me, at least, I wouldn't trade
in all this for the sprawling houses and big backyards (and associated

I live on a block with several dozen children, beli ayin harah, and when
a new baby arrives, someone organizes meals, and when a simchah is made,
people participate.  This is not an unusual occurrence in my area of

Critics of my chosen community remind me of complaints people have about
certain shuls; it all depends what you go for.  I see the positive
things and as a result the negatives don't affect me. Should they?

From: Rena Freedenberg <free@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 15:47:55 +0200
Subject: RE: Where would you like to live?

You are right about some New Yorkers sending their kids on the subways;
I was thinking of the DC area, where it would be very rare to find a kid
on a bus, though I guess it could happen. Most parents in the States,
however, are required to be much more vigilant of their kids than
parents here.

Israeli parents send very young children on the public buses daily, say
from the age of 5 and up, without fear. Part of why we can feel so
secure is that due to Israeli culture, any child on the bus has as many
parent figures as there are adults on the bus that he can turn to for
help or directions. My kids don't have to be afraid to ask a "stranger"
for help or to be afraid if the bus has problems or doesn't come to take
a ride from a stranger to get home; actually there are specific places
at various locations called Trempiadas (to tremp is to hitch a ride)
where they can stand to get a ride home.

So far as your kids being home alone, most normal children are
developmentally ready to be home alone for lengthening periods from the
age of 6 or 7 without parent's needing to fear what the child will do to
himself or the house. I don't know of ANYone here in Israel who can't
leave their non-disabled child home alone after the age of 6 or
7. Children in Israel regularly go to the doctor's office alone after
this age (the doctor calls the Eema at home to let her know what he
finds) and kids as young as 3 or 4 years old are seen with a few shekels
at the grocery store buying milk sans Eema or big sibling. They get
periodic immunizations in school (yes, for free) such as DPT and measles
here. Israeli culture is much different than life in NJ, and the kids
here seem to be much more mature and responsible at younger ages.

Actually, children here start BABYSITTING at the age of 10.

If your child is mentally or physically or emotionally disabled, then
obviously his/her maturity level is different than that of other
children, and all considerations for him/her (ex. what age to start
wearing tzitzis, not wearing pants, etc.) is up to your local posek.


From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 11:47:45 -0500
Subject: RE: Where would you like to live?

Thanks for your reply.
> You are right about some New Yorkers sending their kids on the subways...

Yes, you pegged my childhood metro. area correctly.  However, I said,
and meant, "America," not NYC -- naturally, there are no Orthodox Jews
in vast sections of America, but we're not specifically dealing with
Orthodox families in comparing what kids can do here with what they can
do in Israel.

> Israeli parents send very young children on the public buses daily, say
> from the age of 5 and up, without fear....

Well-said...but, as per my previous message, I humbly suggest that this
lack of fear is not true for all Israeli parents.  Have you spoken with
any in, e.g., Gush Katif? and are you, perhaps, confusing a brave
outward appearance with a lack of internal fear?

> So far as your kids being home alone, most normal children are
> developmentally ready to be home alone for lengthening periods from
> the age of 6 or 7...Actually, children here start BABYSITTING at the
> age of 10....

Again, all this can be said as well for children in American homes.  I
didn't differentiate between "normal" and "disabled" children -- your
comments there [one more time!] apply to children (and parents) in
*both* countries.

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ


End of Volume 30 Issue 27