Volume 30 Number 40
                 Produced: Mon Dec 20  7:29:14 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kollel (6)
         [Uri, Eli Turkel, Joseph Geretz, Cheryl Maryles, Carl Singer,
Avi Feldblum]
Misc. questions
         [Sheri & Seth Kadish]
Women's hair covering
         [Chaim Mateh]


From: A.J.Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 12:59:38 -0800
Subject: Re: Aliyot

I have heard that some Litvaks, in order to avoid any sort of
interruption of the Tora reading, do not make "mi sheberachs" between
aliyot and do not even call up the `olim. The gabbai simply points to
the next `ole, who hurries up to the reading desk and starts the bracha
with no break at all. Where did the common practice of interrupting the
flow of the reading with (sometimes endless) "mi sheberach"s originate?

Yosef Gilboa


From: Uri <uri@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 11:08:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Kollel

> <<Why should I support kollelniks beyond a certain point / age.  If they
> have rich parents, fine they can live in a Kollel 'til they're 120  but
> from a practical point of view, how do they enhance my community>>
> I seem to recall a definition in the Gemara of apikorsus as
> being someone who says "Why do we need the rabanan?  They learn for
> themselves and do nothing for anyone else." 

May I suggest that a scholar who precisely "learns for himself" would
not indeed qualify as a Rabbi and is not protected by the above Gemara?
It's the PERCEPTION that Sages "learning for themselves" that's
condemned.  And today we probably have both [i.e. for the Torah and for

> So this is hardly an
> attitude I would be proud of.  I believe it a fairly well known axiom
> that Torah learning improves the world, both the world at large and the
> immediate surrounding community.

I think the question that should be asked is not "Why do we need the
rabanan?" but "Why shouldn't 'modern' rabanan make their own living,
that the Sages of old did?"

Uri		<uri@...>

From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 14:59:12 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Kollel

> > From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
> <<Why should I support kollelniks beyond a certain point / age.  If they
> have rich parents, fine they can live in a Kollel 'til they're 120  but
> from a practical point of view, how do they enhance my community>>
> 	I seem to recall a definition in the Gemara of apikorsus as
> being someone who says "Why do we need the rabanan?  They learn for
> themselves and do nothing for anyone else."  So this is hardly an
> attitude I would be proud of.  I believe it a fairly well known axiom
> that Torah learning improves the world, both the world at large and the
> immediate surrounding community.

In defense of Carl Singer I assume that he was not against kollels.  The
question was rather should people be in them "forever" except for a
handful of superstars. This certainly is not the same as saying that we
don't need rabbis.

In fact if one looks at the Kesef Mishne (on the Rambam that is against
be paid for learning) the main defense is that if one not supported for
learning than there will not be future rabbis.  i.e. the justification
for the public (not private donations) paying for kollels is that the
public benefits directly in getting rabbis, judges etc.  I would compare
it today to giving fellowships in universities.  However, this is a far
cry from supporting large number of kollelniks way beyond the age where
they can become rabbis, educators etc.  I once heard from Rav
Soloveitchik that he much prefered the old system where no one received
money for teaching or being a dayan but that it was no longer practical
in todays world.

To the best of my knowledge the kollel system was begun in Lithuania
about 100-150 years ago as away of giving students a regular income
rather than the old custom of each town inviting students to their
homes.  I would suspect that until about 30 years ago the kollel
population never exceeded several hundred.

Kol Tuv,
Eli Turkel

From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 11:50:45 -0500
Subject: Kollel

In a previous discussion, Avi Feldblum threw out the request for early
sources to validate our system of Kollel.

Avi remarked:
> I'm pretty sure I can bring early reshonim (e.g. the Rambam)
> who are quite vocal against it [Kollel - American style],

While we're quoting the RaMBaM, perhaps those of us who work and are not
in Kollel should take a look at our own obligations as defined by the
RaMBaM. I've not seen this personally, but I've heard from a person I
trust that the RaMBaM's regimen for a working person comes out to
something like 8 hours of Torah learning per day. Now we need to be even
handed here. Perhaps if the masses of us not in Kollel would be living
up to our obligations according to the RaMBaM, then we could apply the
RaMBaM's guidlines for Kollel as well.

Maybe, just maybe, it is precisely our extended Kollel system which
finds favor for the entire generation in H-shem's eyes. Food for

Kol Tuv,

Yossi  Geretz
Focal Point Solutions, Inc.

From: Cheryl Maryles <C-Maryles@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 12:49:42 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Kollel

I think the Kolel concept is a little older then 200 years. It would
seem that the first kollel existed between the years 2448 and 2488 when
all of klal yisroel lived with food and water from heaven and learned
torah all day. Granted that upon entering Israel things changed and its
for everyone to decide what his purpose is in life and how to best serve
Hashem, but don't assume that being a full time learner is a new
idea--its actually as old as the Torah itself.

Elie Ginsparg

[Two quick points, I was explicitly referring to the system as it exists
today, and clearly indicated that the concept of some number of people
learning full time was clearly as old as the Talmud. I would view the
arguement from Dor Hamidbar as supporting that a Kollel system with no
limits on it can only exist in a non-natural setting and as such ended
when Bnei Yisrael entered Eretz Yisrael. MOd.]

From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 08:41:43 EST
Subject: Kollel

I stand by my statements re: supporting Kollels.  The email P'sak
halacha not withstanding, there is no halachik requirement to support
today's kollels.  One is not an apikorus because one does not route his
or her tzedukah to a specific institution.  I must have hit a nerve to
elicit such a strong pontifical response.

For the record, in addition to paying full yeshiva tuition for our two
children who are still of that age, we (ux & I) support several yeshiva
gedolahs, and several day schools (including ones that our children do
NOT not attend.)  I must confess I sent a check to one kollel, but that
was only because we know a few of the bucherim (their parents actually.)
We will not subsidize activities, organizations or people whose derech
is not worthwhile.

Carl Singer

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 07:03:38 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Kollel

[OK, I messed up here. Dr. Tabory sent in a response on this topic, and
I wanted to respond to it. However, I responded before including it in
the issue, then deleted it from the queue thinking I had included it and
flushed the mail file before realizing it. My apologies to Dr. Tabory
and I will try and get his full reply for inclusion in the first issue
available. Mod.]

On Thu, 16 Dec 1999, Joseph Tabory wrote:

> Another point that I would like to make in this context is a little more
> complex. Sports, in my mind, means people playing own the field, adults and
> children, to strengthen their bodies to the advantage of their spirits.
> This requires having people at the top, who contribute very little to
> society. If their weren't people whose minds are in their legs, there would
> be no children playing on the fields. If you didn't have top musicians who
> benefit the select few, there would be no music for the masses. Having a
> kollel in which people sit in learn, being supported by society, is a
> message for other members of society about what we consider important. Even
> if the kollelnik does nothing for society, that fact that we support him is
> what is important for us.

In this example above, I think that Dr. Tabory nicely identifies what is
my problem with the current Kollel system, as I see it, and why I have
serious difficulty with supporting it. In all the cases brought, there is
a system that ensures that only the people who are truly excellent at
what they do, continue and set the standard/goal for the masses. If
someone is a mediocre ball player, s/he does not get in to the major
leagues, same for the musicians getting into the symphony orchestras.
I think if we, the general observant Jewish public, especially the
professional Jewish public, were to see that there indeed was a
qualification process so that after some small number of years a member of
the kollel only continued there if he was truly a potential gadol
beyisrael (a potential "big leaguer"), it would be a major step to
stimulate broader support of the institution.

The lack of derech eretz for people who look different is a larger
question, and I will not address that here, but the point that Dr.
Tabory's example made me think of is that the way the ball player or
musician is effective as a role model is by "performing" and the general
public seeing them and being inspired. It would appear to me that the
equivalent "performance" for a kollel would be to have periodic shuirim in
the local shuls by members of the kollel. How widespread is something like

Avi Feldblum


From: Sheri & Seth Kadish <skadish@...>
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 15:18:59 +0200
Subject: Misc. questions

1.  Recently there was discussion of teshuvot by R. Henkin in his Shu"t
Bnei Banim.  Does anyone know how to order these volumes?  The book stores
I spoke to didn't recognize the title.

2.  Does anyone from the UK know the address (snail-mail) I should use to
send material to Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks?  (Reply privately.)

3.  Hanukka is over, but someone asked me what seems to me to be a good
question.  In Israel a special form of hiddur mitzva is becoming popular:
hanukiyot in glass cases so that they can be lit outside and not blow out.
(They would seem to be even more useful in colder climates.)  A century ago
in Europe, R. Yekhiel Michel Epstein felt this way too: in the Arukh
ha-Shulhan he intimates that this would be OK in principle, but wrote that
"the rabbis didn't trouble people to go so far" (Orah Hayyim 671:25).  
	The question I was asked is: The candles have to be lit only when they
they are in a position to be ready and able to burn for the zman.  But with
the glass-cased hanukkiyot, you lower the glass back down *after* lighting
so that they won't blow out.  Anyone ever hear discussion about whether
this is kosher?


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 21:57:34 +0200
Subject: Re: Women's hair covering

In Vol 30#29, Shmuel Himelstein <shmuelh@...> quoted a few
passages from an exchange between Rabbis Mayer Schiller and Michael
Broyde on the topic of women's hair covering.

(1) Rabbi Schiller was quoted: <<As far as I have been able to uncover
there are only three rabbinic works (all of twentienth century origin)
written by Orthodox authors that permit married women to completely
uncover their hair in public: Rabbi Isaac S. Hurewitz, Yad ha-Levi,
pp. 143a-b; Rabbi Yosef Masas, Mayim Chaim (2:110) and Otzar Michtavim
(1884); Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Slutzki, Etz Ephraim, Orach Chaim (12)>>

None of these works are in my Kollel library, nor on the Bar-Ilan CD.
Nor have the people I asked ever heard of them. Does anyone know where
in Israel they can be found?  Better yet, does anyone have a copy of
those responsa/articles?  I personally find it quite hard to believe
that any Rabbi would take a Biblically forbidden law (women's hair
covering) and take it past a Rabbinic Law, to a completely permitted

(2) Rabbi Broyde was quoted: <<One must also note the well-known school
of thought which rules that the Torah obligation for women's hair is
limited to disheveled, not uncovered hair (see Shevut Yaakov 1:103)>>

The Shvus Yaakov is indeed well known and easily accessible, so I
studied it through.

The question put to the Shvus Yaakov was whether a virgin who was raped
must cover her hair. The Shvus Yaakov does indeed put forth a possible
pshat for explaining the Gemoros in Sotah and Ksubos, and the Rambam and
Shulchan Aruch.  And that pshat is indeed that the Torah obligation is
not to go out with disheveled hair.  And yes, he posits that according
to his possible pshat, uncovered hair is not a Torah prohibition.
However, he prefaces his entire pshat with the words "ee lav demistafina
miperush Rashi .. vehaRambam.." ("were I not fearful of Rashi's pshat
and the Rambam's pshat..").  This means that while he thinks he has a
good pshat, he does NOT put it forth as a _the_ pshat, nor as a ruling
(psak).  Furthermore, when he concludes the tshuva (and rules that the
raped girl can go hair uncovered albiet braided and/or pinned up), he
brings the proofs according to the accepted pshatim, and then adds
"ve'af lefi ma shekosavti.." ("and even according to what I wrote..."
the ruling is the same), which shows further that his pshat (regarding
married women's hair covering) is a theoretical pshat and not a psak

Furthermore (again), the Shvus Yaakov writes clearly that according to
his pshat, uncovered hair is daas yehudis, i.e., forbidden albiet only
Rabbinically.  And lastly, if anyone wants to somehow convert the Shvus
Yaakov's posited pshat into a Hallacha lemmaseh psak (which it isn't),
they would be compelled to hold like the Shvus Yaakov all the way,
including his pshat that _unmarried_single_ girls are obligated by the
Torah (i.e., Biblical Law) to have their hair braided (and pinned up?)
whenever they go outside.

Conclusion: the Shvus Yaakov did NOT rule Hallacha lemaaseh (nor lo
lemaaseh) that a married woman is permitted to go hair uncovered.  Nor
did he _rule_ that it's not a Torah obligation for married women to
cover their hair.  Possible pshat, perhaps.  Psak, no.

Kol Tuv,


End of Volume 30 Issue 40