Volume 33 Number 09
                 Produced: Mon Aug 14  5:44:09 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Al Naharos Bavel
         [Bill Bernstein]
         [Reuven Freeman]
Aliyah with Lower Living Standards
         [Russell Hendel]
Aliyah/Financial Reasons for Leaving the Land
         [Moshe Feldman]
Double standard
         [Judith Weil]
Lack of Response to Greetings
         [Best, Barry H [IBD]]
Medrash Tanchuma (Buber), pasuk "hishbati eschem bnos yerushalaim"
         [Chaim Manaster]
Short Divrei Torah/ Pesach
         [Myron Chaitovsky]
Size of yarmulka
         [Rachel Smith]


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000 09:03:11 -0500
Subject: Al Naharos Bavel

In most siddurim and bentchers right next to the shir hamaalos is
another kapitel, al naharos bavel, which would seem to be for weekdays.
I looked in my Otzar HaTefillos and found that this seems to come from
the Shl'a HaK' who writes to say this during the week because mourning
for the Beis HaMikdash is forbidden on Shabbos.

However, I don't recall seeing anyone actually say this during the week
and wondered if there is a widespread custom to do so. Also (and a
little more facetiously) I wonder if there is a tune to go with it.


From: Reuven Freeman <freeman@...>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 16:31:11 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Aliyah

   Suppose J  claims that he loves Y (who is far away from J 
and cannot come to him), sings her praises (even publicly), constantly 
expresses longing for her in passionate poetry/prose, and insists that he
really wants to be with her,etc., etc.; but, despite these claims of love, J
takes no tangible steps to be with Y other than once-in-a while visits.
  There may well be constraints preventing J from being with Y.
But then again, maybe J is kidding himself about his love for Y.
   On the individual level, one should not necessarily judge J harshly. 
But suppose there were a great many J's each professing love for his
far-away Y and, statistically, very few of the J's tried to reach his
    Then what are reasonable inferences?
 Either,  (1) that J's as a group are somehow prevented 
(either by external or internal factors) from being with their beloved
and most of these J's must live abnormal lives away from their beloved.
What a tragedy!
 Or,   (2) (If there are not general conditions making it difficult for
most J's to reached their Y) that, despite claims to the contrary, the
"love" professed for Y by a J is merely a slogan, not representing a
genuine longing.  This "love" will remain distant and empty.     

     The underlying premise of the discussion on aliyah has been that,
apart from certain groups, aliyah has (or should have) a positive, if not
obligatory, value among jews within the halachic framework.  If so, and
the conditions exists to allow such jews to act in accord with this
claimed value, then what accounts for the vast majority of such jews not
making aliyah or preparing their children for aliyah?  The real issue is
not whether aliyah is obligatory; the issue is: what about Ahavat Haaretz
(love of the land of israel )?  Is this just an empty slogan?          	  
      Can anyone estimate the current ratio between the number of
american orthodox jews coming on aliyah to the total number of american
orthodox jews (even minus the number hostile to Aliyah)?  Let's not kid
ourselves!  Despite their "love" of israel,  for most american orthodox
jews ( as well as less observant american jews) aliyah is not on the
agenda. Let's hope a younger generation will feel Ahavat Haaretz enough
that they can bring themselves to enjoy the pleasures of living in Eretz
                                   Reuben Freeman,


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 19:25:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Aliyah with Lower Living Standards

David Curwin in mj-v33n2 presents two questions on the Aliyah thread
First he comments on Moshe Feldmans comment that we never spend
more than 20% of our income on any positive commandment. Moshe
argues that this 20% rules applies to the mitzvah of moving to Israel

David responds that

> I'm unfamiliar with this rule -- what is the source? In any case, there
> certainly are positive mitzvot that don't have that restriction --
> having children, for example.  And just as children are our future,
> settling the land of Israel is "equal to all the mitzvot in the Torah".

But the Rambam explicitly states that AFTER one has 1 boy and girl that
further fulfillment of procreation is only obligatory if the person is
ABLE to both physically and economically (Hence, if the extra child
would dig beyond the 20% mark I assume there is no obligation to have an
extra child).

Also one of the suggestions to Moshe was that we only apply the 20% rule
to the ACTUAL EXPENSES of moving, not to the potential loss from salary
differential. By analogy one would be exempt from having children ONLY
if the actual cost of delivery was more than 20% of ones salary.  One
would not be allowed to take future expenses into consideration

Davids 2nd point is citation of Rambam Kings 5:9-11. However a careful
reading of this Rambam shows that it gives criteria for when one may
LEAVE THE LAND(If a famine is so bad that wheat doubled in price). Moshe
and I are talking about the criteria for NOT GOING UP to the land
In other words if you read the Rambam in CONTEXT he is saying
"One may not leave Israel and then reside outside it permanantly unless
wheat has doubled in price"

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; <rhendel@...>
Moderator Rashi is Simple
http://www.RashiYomi.Com  -------------NEW NEW CHECK IT OUT


From: Moshe Feldman <MFeldman@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 18:51:13 -0400
Subject: Aliyah/Financial Reasons for Leaving the Land

David Curwin wrote:
> it is important to note that there already exist halachic
> definitions of how much one is obligated to spend/lose in 
> order to live in the Land:
> "It's always forbidden to leave Eretz Yisroel for the Diaspora, save
> to study Torah, to take a wife, and rescuing someone from the heathen,
> after which he must return. Likewise, he may visit the Diaspora for
> business. But it's forbidden to RESIDE outside the land, unless
> there's a severe famine, in which a dinar's worth of wheat has jumped
> to 2 dinars. When does this apply?-- when money is to be had, but
> produce is dear. However, if produce is cheap, but money is not to be
> had, and there's no way of earning one's bread and there's not a pruta
> in the purse, he may go wherever he may earn a livelihood. Tho in such
> a case, it's permitted to leave the Holy Land, it savours of no
> piety-- for behold Machlon and Kilion, who were leaders of their age
> and who left Israel out of great distress, rendered themselves liable
> to destruction by the Omnipotent." (Rambam Hilchot Melachim 5:9-11)

Despite David's capitalization of the word "RESIDE," it seems to me that
the simple reading of the Rambam (as I read it in Hebrew) is that he is
talking about when it is permissible for one who already *lives* in
Israel (1) to leave for a short period with the intent to return, or (2)
to leave forever (i.e., make yeridah); the latter case is referred to by
the Rambam as "residing outside the land" (in the context of one who
once lived in the land).

There is a great halachic distinction between one who already resides in
Israel who wishes to leave, as compared to one who does not (yet) reside
in Israel.  I note that Gemara Ketubot 111a states that it is forbidden
to leave Israel.  See also Tosafot Avodah Zara 13a s.v. lilmod.  (I have
seen poskim/achronim who have written about this, though offhand none
come to mind.)  I would argue that one who does not live in Israel and
who contemplates Aliyah falls into the category of one who is deciding
whether to fulfill a mitzvat aseh (positive commandment) (where the
rules of not spending more than one-fifth may apply).  One who lives in
Israel and contemplates leaving is being mevatel a mitzvat aseh
(actively nullifying a positive commandment), which is worse (closer to
violating a negative prohibition).  Can anyone suggest sources on this

A second distinction might be drawn between one making aliyah and one
making yeridah: the one making aliyah will be *spending* possibly more
than one-fifth of his savings (which might exempt him), while one making
yeridah will be *saving* money -- that might come into the category of
m'nee'at re'vach (denying oneself profit), where the rule of one-fifth
may not apply.

Perhaps one source related to this distinction is that the rabbis have
the ability to tell one not to fulfill a mitzvat aseh (yesh la'chachamim
koach la'akor davar min hatorah b'shev v'al ta'aseh) (e.g., not to take
the lulav on shabbos), but cannot tell one to actively violate a mitzvah
("kum aseh").  Am I correct in assuming that the rabbis are not
permitted to tell an individual to take an action which causes a
nullification of a mitvas aseh ("bittul aseh")?

Kol tuv,
Moshe Feldman


From: Judith Weil <weildj@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000 13:42:53 +0300
Subject: Re: Double standard

>The message in the Israeli media was that shomeir mitzvot leaders AND
>secular leaders such as Mayor Olmert were not sufficiently condemning
>the attack on the Ramot Conservative synagogue and other attacks against
>Reform and Conservative institutions.  The major exception to this
>indifference was an eloquent article by Rabbi Riskind in the Jerusalem
>Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
>Jerusalem, Israel

There was far, far more media coverage of this incident than of similar
incidents against orthodox shuls and schools - and far, far more
condemnation. Also the implication of the secular condemnation was that
the charedi community as a whole bore responsibility.

In fact as far as I am aware Reform and Conservative groups did not condemn
the vandalization of Orthodox institutions at all.

The arrest of a perpetrator - wearing garb that mainsteam charedim do
not wear, and not from a chareidi background - was given very low-key
coverage by the Israeli media. To the best of my knowledge no secular
papers or electronic media outlets apologized to the chareidi community
for having given the impression that mainstream charedim were
responsible, and placing the responsibility on the community as a whole.

Judith Weil


From: Best, Barry H [IBD] <barry.h.best@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2000 10:08:12 -0400 
Subject: RE: Lack of Response to Greetings

>From: Simcha Streltsov <simon1@...>
> > Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...> writes:
> > The highest standard for greetings was set by the tana Rabbi
> > Yochanan Ben Zakai, and often I have to remind myself that small petty
> > bickering should not dissuade us from using Rabbi Yochanan standard.
> there is another side of this issue, I think it was R Shimon bar Yohai
> who was more selective - if he were to greet someone in the market
> then everyone assumed that this person has integrity in business
> dealings.

	FYI, the Rambam brings down (in Hilchos Daos) RYBZ's way as
normative (at least for a talmid chocham)


From: Chaim Manaster <hankman@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000 09:57:17 -0400
Subject: Medrash Tanchuma (Buber), pasuk "hishbati eschem bnos yerushalaim"

The Medrash Tanchuma (Buber), Hosafa, Parshas Devarim Siman 3, that I
came across recently (Bar Ilan CD), seems particularly interesting in
light of the history of recent weeks. On the pasuk "hishbati eschem bnos
yerushalaim," this version of the Tanchuma, translates "bnos
yerushalaim" as the nations, and brings the memre of R. Yochanan that
Hkb"h will make Yerushalaim into a metropolis for the whole world and
supports this from the pasuk "vnosati eshen lbonos vlo mibrisecho"
showing that the "bnos" will not be of (people of) your tradition
(translating loosely), and then translates "bnos" as suburbs (of

In light of the Camp David summit offering sovereignty or autonomy to
the Palestinians in the eastern suburbs of Yerushalaim and the call from
the Pope and others for the internationalization of Yerushalaim, this
Tanchunma seems to be almost prophetic if I understand it correctly. Can
anyone offer a clear peshat to this Tanchuma or have you seen any
discussions about it in any mephorshim?

Kol Tuv,

Chaim Manaster
Montreal, Canada


From: Myron Chaitovsky <MCHAIT@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2000 14:41:00 -0400
Subject: Short Divrei Torah/ Pesach

For possible use in a Pesach collection, I am interested in receiving
SHORT divrei torah or comments on the Haggadah, especially in connection
with sections of the Seder other than Magid. I am looking for unusual
commentary, not what is commonly available in ArtScroll, or similar
Haggadot.  The source may be nontraditional, or the twist of the
approach may make this a novel dvar torah.

Two examples: Egyptology indicates that when an Egyptian died, his/her
heart was weighed by the "gods" to determine its character. A heavy
heart indicated mendacity, a light heart, righteousness.  That Hashem
made Pharoah's heart heavy (kaved) thus takes on a whole new shade of

Or this one: The gematria of Rasha is 570.The gematria of Shinav (his
teeth) is 366.  Subtract one from the other (hakheh et shinav--knock out
his teeth) to get 204, the gematria of Tzadik!

Please send your favorites, WITH SOURCES, to:

Myron B. Chaitovsky
Director of Admissions
Brooklyn Law School


From: Rachel Smith <rachelms@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000 07:33:21 -0700
Subject: Re:Size of yarmulka

Chaim Mateh wrote:
>Rav Moshe's exact words (Orech Chaim 1:1) are: >"if [his head] is covered
>in such a way that it's called that his head is >covered, they are
>permitted to go in the street and even to bless >[i.e., make borchos]"

What about for tefila (Shmone Esrei), where the Shulchan Aruch
explicitly requires head covering - what kind of head covering is
required?  Must most of the head be covered for tefila?  Why are our
flat yarmulkes today permissible, when all the gedolim of the previous
generation (Rav Soloveitchik being the notable exception) wore yarmulkes
with some height (a tefach?).



End of Volume 33 Issue 9