Volume 34 Number 70
                 Produced: Wed Jun  6  7:38:50 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

4 Reasons why NACH is ignored (2)
         [David Charlap, Shlomo Argamon]
amazon.com and _Protocols..._ (2)
         [Mike Gerver, Yeshaya Halevi]
Hiddur Mitzvah - bayn Adam L'Chavayroh
         [Sam Saal]
Looking For Seforim.
         [Immanuel Burton]
Using Vertical Lines to indicate/mirror Cantillations
         [Russell Hendel]
Request: Programmer for Hire
         [Hershel Robinson]


From: David Charlap <shamino3@...>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 10:48:47 -0400
Subject: Re: 4 Reasons why NACH is ignored

Russell Hendel wrote:
> Allow me to summarize a lecture by Rabbi Dr Yitzchak Twersky, The
> Talner Rebbe, which he delivered in the early 70s to a college
> shabbaton at the Young Israel of Brookline.  He enumerated 4 reasons
> why people prefer gmarrah to Tnach. They are
> ...
> * The Christian influence---During the middle ages the Church
>   tried to justify its religion by a misinterpretation of
>   Nach. Hence it was felt safer to ignore the potential for
>   such discussions.

Unfortunately, Christians today still use misinterpretation of Nach in
order to try and convert Jews.  Many times, these missionaries will even
claim to be Jewish.  If Jews do not know the correct interpretations of
Nach, then they can easily be swayed by the incorrect interpretations.

If Christian influence was ever a legitimate reason to avoid learning
Nach, then the modern version of that influence should be an even
stronger reason _FOR_ learning it today.

The discussions can not be avoided.  The Christians are coming to us,
they are starting the discussions.  They will fight us whether or not we
are prepared to defend ourselves.

-- David

From: Shlomo Argamon <argamon@...>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 19:04:11 +0200 (IST)
Subject: 4 Reasons why NACH is ignored

With all due respect, both to the Talner Rebbe, and to Russell Hendel as
summarizer, I find none of the following reasons convincing.  Of course,
if they are meant as a sociological explanation, that's a different
kettle of fish.

> * Practical considerations--people have to know what to do

	Then we should be spending our time on Shul`han `Arukh, with
	diversions into Gemara, rather than Gemara with diversions into
	Tana"kh and Halakha!

> * status--your learning is measured by your knowledge of gmarrah

	Why should this be so?  This begs the question, and indeed is
	a well-known phenomenon which I find highly problematic, if not
	reprehensible at times.

> * There is an obscure Talmudic statement 
>	keep your children away from logic (higayon) 
> While some have interpreted this
>   statement to refer to philosophy many have referred it to Tnach

	This I find simply ludicrous.  This is a statement whose
	ascription to a gadol without clear documentary proof I would
	consider libelous.  How can anyone claim that it is forbidden to
	teach Tana"kh!  And we're not talking about young children - we're
	talking about those considered mature enough to learn Gemara!
	What does one do with the mishna "Ben `hamesh lamiqra"??

> * The Christian influence---During the middle ages the Church
>   tried to justify its religion by a misinterpretation of 
>   Nach. Hence it was felt safer to ignore the potential for
>   such discussions.

	This, of course, is a counterproductive approach.  Da` ma lehashiv
	and so forth.  One should and must learn the *Jewish* approach to
	Na"kh, otherwise one is *more* exposed to missionizing arguments!

	Shlomo Argamon


From: Mike Gerver <MJGerver@...>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 15:40:32 EDT
Subject: amazon.com and _Protocols..._

I want to thank Leah Gordon for posting (in v34n65) amazon.com's
statement defending their policy of selling the anti-semitic book "The
Protocols of the Elders of Zion."  I was, of course, aware of amazon's
statement when I urged people not to buy books from them in my posting
in v34n60.  Leah's posting gives me an opportunity to say why I disagree
with this policy.

Amazon's argument is that they are defending the principle of free
speech.  But this is not a free speech issue at all.  If I were
advocating that the people who run amazon should be fined or jailed for
selling the "Protocols...," that would be a free speech issue.  But I am
not saying it should be illegal for them to sell this book.  I'm just
saying that they shouldn't sell it.  The principle of free speech does
not require that every bookseller should offer every book for sale.
Booksellers can and should refrain from selling books that they believe
will cause harm.  As long as it is not illegal to sell the book, someone
is sure to sell it, so there is no danger that people will not be able
to get access to it if they really want to, which might also be
considered a free speech issue.  Indeed, many hate groups distribute the
"Protocols..." for free on their web sites.  Freedom of speech is not
simply an issue here.

But why boycott amazon.com?  Is their behavior in this regard really
worse than that of other online booksellers?  Yes it is.  Amazon, and as
far as I know only amazon among major online booksellers, offers a $4
edition of the "Protocols..." with (as far as I know) no warnings about
the fact that it is a forgery, and the historical role it played and
continues to play in promoting anti-semitism.  It is currently listed as
around their 14,000th best-selling title.  If, as they say in their
statement, they sell millions of different titles, then the
"Protocols..." is in the top 1% in the number of copies they sell.  This
is a higher ranking than the $8 edition sold by barnesandnoble.com,
ranked around 46,000.  And the $4 version sells far more copies than a
$20 scholarly version, and a $25 scholarly book about the "Protocols..."
sold by amazon.com and others, which rank between 150,000 and 200,000.
This suggests that the $4 is not being bought primarily by people
interested in studying the history of anti-semitism, but primarily by
anti-semites, who would not be interested in buying a scholarly edition.

If free speech were amazon's real concern, then why not just sell a more
expensive scholarly edition which explains that the book is a forgery
which has been used to promote anti-semitism?  What does selling the $4
edition accomplish that a scholarly edition could not accomplish, and
that downloading it for free from a hate group web site wouldn't
accomplish?  The only thing I can think of is that only the $4 edition
would be suitable for hate groups to give out at rallies, or in mailings
to their members, etc.  Having it in bound form makes the book seem more
solid and plausible than just having it on a web site.  It's also
possible that members of these hate groups, appreciating the fact that
amazon makes the "Protocols..." available in this inexpensive edition,
are more likely to buy other books from them, and that amazon knows this
and is motivated by this to sell this edition.

In short, amazon.com's policy of selling "The Protocols of the Elders of
Zion" is not motivated by a dedication to the principle of freedom of
speech, but by a desire to profit from the activities of anti-semitic
hate groups, who will prefer to buy the "Protocols..." and other titles
from amazon. In this respect, amazon.com is unique among major online
booksellers.  If you are looking for an alternative, consider
eolbooks.com.  They are (I have been told) an Israeli-owned company that
as a matter of principle does not sell the "Protocols...," though they
do sell scholarly books about the "Protocols..."  And a quick survey of
their web site indicates that their prices are similar to amazon's, or
even somewhat lower.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Yeshaya Halevi <chihal@...>
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2001 10:51:14 -0700
Subject: amazon.com and _Protocols..._

Shalom, All:

	Leah S. Gordon posted Amazon.com's response to the fact it sells
the notorious anti-Semitic forgery called "The Protocols of the Learned
Elders of Zion." Part of that defense said: <<Should Amazon.com sell The
Protocols and other controversial works? As a bookseller, Amazon.com
strongly believes that providing open access to written speech, no
matter how hateful or ugly, is one of the most important things we
do. It's a service that the United States Constitution protects...>>

	I am a former president of the Chicago Chapter of the Society of
Professional Journalists, and was editor of our nationally honored
journalism review called "Chicago Journalist." In our publication and in
others as well, I noted the following crucial fact which blows away
people who hide behind the First Amendment.  Here it is:

	Just as the courts have upheld the rights of an anti-Semite to
publish lies, they have also upheld the right of a publisher or editor
to **refuse to publish** this garbage.  Period.
	No Nazi, white supremacist or other moron can force the New York
Times or the Podunk Peephole to publish their lies. It is solely within
the discretion of the editor and/or publisher.
	It is NOT censorship to refuse to publish anti-Semitism: it is a
choice all print outlets, as well as booksellers, are free to make under
the First Amendment. If they were forced to publish or broadcast
anti-Semitism, **that** would be a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Yeshaya Halevi, a.k.a. Charles Chi Halevi


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2001 06:27:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Hiddur Mitzvah - bayn Adam L'Chavayroh

Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...> seems to be asking for examples of
hiddur mitzvah (beautifying the mitzvia) of ben adam l'chavero (mitzvot
between man and man) as oppossed to those ben adam l'Makom (mitzvot
between man and G-d). I'd be very happy to give an example.

Visiting the sick is an important individual
responsibility/mitzvah. When communities go the extra step - of creating
committees of volunteers to make sure the sick get visitors and their
families have food for Shabbat - I think we have a marvelous example of
hiddur mitzvah involving ben adam l'chavero.

I, too, think we spend more time shifting o the right instead of this
type of hiddur, but I don't want to ignore the finest kind of hiddur
mitzvah when it occurs.

Sam Saal         <ssaal@...>


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 16:21:24 -0700
Subject: Looking For Seforim.

I am looking for copies of the following Seforim, and was wondering if
anyone has any for sale:

(1) Daily Prayer Book, with translation by Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld,
published by JSS Books.  (A colleague of mine has asked me to keep an
eye for this Siddur, so I'm actually looking for two copies.)

(2) The Minhagim Of The United Synagogue, by Dayan Lerner.  I believe
that this may have been an internal publication of the United Synagogue,
and I think that the text is in English and Hebrew.

(3) Purim Kol Bo.  My father has a copy of this rather old publication
which has a whole variety of Purim Torah, such as a Gemarah Purim,
Haggadah Shel Purim, Zemiros for Purim, Selichos for Purim and so on.
The text is all in Hebrew, and I think it is roughly A5 in size.

If anyone has any of the above for sale, or else knows where I could get
copies from,  I should be grateful if they would contact me by email.

Many thanks.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 22:12:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Using Vertical Lines to indicate/mirror Cantillations

Matthew Perlman raises the issues of why the Cantillations 
break up phrases by placing pauses where they do not belong.
In v34n51 he brings Lv25-08 -- and uses vertical lines to 
indicate pauses: < And the sum | of the years | of the 7 
sabbaticals | (are) 49 years >.

Actually the use of Vertical lines to indicate pauses was
first introduced by a person name Jacob Baer in his book
on the Cantillations of the Psalms published in the 19th
century (With an introduction by Rav Hirsch). Jacob Breuer,
following in his footsteps similarly uses the vertical lines.
However both Baer and Breuer use MULTIPLE LINES to indicate
grouping of phrases. Using this approach we MIGHT write
Lv25-08 as < And the sum || of the years | of the 
sabbaticals |||  (are) 49 years |||| > (This is an 
oversimplification of a very technical topic--my goal 
was simply to introduce the idea)

The grouping of lines reflects proper phraseology:  In passing
Breuers book (whose 2nd edition incorporates Baers book) is
an excellent book (in Hebrew) by which to learn Cantillation
breakup rules. 

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/


From: Hershel Robinson <hershelsr@...>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 15:04:47 +0200
Subject: Request: Programmer for Hire

My name is Hershel Robinson.  I learn half-time in Kollel here in Betar,
Israel and I program freelance, telecommute-style the other half.  I
have just finished a large commercial project and I am now available for
new work.  If you have any need of a programmer or you know of someone
who might, please allow me to share what I can offer you.

I am a talented, experienced and professional programmer.  I have been
programming on systems of all shapes and sizes since 1982.  I specialize
in Perl/CGI and JavaScript/DHTML, although I program a host of other
languages also.  I have experience programming from simple web pages to
business database web sites to complex DHTML pages.  I am available for
telecommute employment as of today.

Unlike many of the young programmers fresh out of University, I have two
decades of experience and I realize the importance of writing
intelligent, understandable and reusable code.  I understand
professionalism, responsibility and deadlines and I can help you create
creative and functional systems which will fit your needs.

Please see my full resume at:

I look forward to hearing from you,
Hershel Robinson


End of Volume 34 Issue 70