Volume 36 Number 33
                 Produced: Tue May 14 22:08:46 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Another story on Having Many Children because of Holocast
         [Russell Hendel]
Citing sources
         [Frank Silbermann]
Nosso-BeHa'aloscho for Travelers to Israel
         [Samson Bechhofer]
Old Tefillin
         [Y. Askotzky]
Rashi haKadosh (2)
         [Ben Katz, Elozor Preil]
Rashi Hakodesh (2)
         [David Waxman, Gil Student]
Rav Soleveichik on Daas Torah and Education
         [I Kasdan]
Ruach Hakodesh
         [Avi Feldblum]
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
TILL WHEN DOES comforting mourners apply
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 12 May 2002 22:40:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Another story on Having Many Children because of Holocast

Frank (v36n29) raises the issue of having more children because of
losses during the holocast. (Medad cites a very moving story in
v36n24. Allow me to cite a similar story)

While I lived in Philadelphia I attended the Brith on the SIXTH child of
a doctor.

He made a little speech before the Brith. He stated that he proudly told
his doctors that he just had his 6th.  He stated they were all shocked
(It contradicts the upper class philosophy of having a few children and
living in a luxurious neighborhood).

He explained that he personally feels obligated to help replenish the
Jewish people because of what happened in the 40s.

I thought this profound especially since it came from a layman rather
than a Rabbi. Apparently there are lay people in the community who FEEL
that they should have more children as a reaction to the holocast.

Note: I have NOT answered the original question (is there an OBLIGATION
to do so). But I thought the story interesting

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.com/(Now Hebrew enabled)


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 09:03:09 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  Citing sources

Pirke Avot makes it clear that when citing a piece of Torah SheBalPeh
(oral tradition) one should give the source.  Does Torah express any
opinions about the appropriateness of giving credit when citing ideas
originating outside Jewish tradition?  I ask because in v36 #32 Samuel
Groner writes:

> The Malbim (1809-1979) in his commentaries on Chumash and Navi frequently
> makes reference to modern science, as well as to Kantian philosophy. ...
> (although Kant, as was the convention, was never mentioned by name) ...
Frank Silbermann
New Orleans, Louisiana


From: Samson Bechhofer <SBechhof@...>
Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 22:19:07 -0400
Subject: Nosso-BeHa'aloscho for Travelers to Israel

Because this coming Shabbos is Parshas Nosso in Israel and the second
day of Shovuos in Chutz La'aretz, someone traveling to Israel from ChuL
over the next few weeks and staying over Shabbos has the problem of how
to fulfill his obligation to hear K'rias HaTorah B'tzibbur of every
Parsha.  A local Rov here in New York suggested to me that there "must"
be minyonim in Jerusalem - perhaps in the hotels that cater to the frum
Tzibbur - at which both Nossoh and Beha'aloscho (or on subsequent weeks
the applicable "double" Parsha) are leined.

If anyone knows of such a minyan for next Shabbos (preferably near
Maalot Dafna) I would appreciate your e-mailing me information as to
location and time.

Samson R. Bechhofer


From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 10:57:29 +0200
Subject: Old Tefillin

The main and decisive drawback to old tefillin is that it's very
unlikely the parshios or the batim are (any longer) kosher
lechatchila. The straps surely need replacement. I doubt you want your
son to wear bedieved tefillin. Also, it's very possible the batim and/or
parshios have become passul with age. A brand new pair of quality,
kosher lechatchila, gasos tefillin with hand made straps start at $500
and a mehudar pair from $700 (Prices in Israel - add at least 10% in the
USA) - in my opinion, a most worthwhile investment and surely the most
important bar mitzvah expense!  As one of the world's foremost poskim of
STaM has told me many times when I discuss with him a customer who wants
(his son) to use his grandfather's tefillin, "Ask him if he also wears
his grandfather's trousers for sentimental value".

kol tuv,

Rabbi Yerachmiel Askotzky, certified sofer and examiner
<sofer@...>   www.stam.net   1-888-404-STAM(7826)


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 09:51:31 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Rashi haKadosh

        I have written about this before.  Our esteemed moderator is
correct in being skeptical (see below).  The only textual evidence that
Rashi wrote with ruach hakodesh is from an odd part of his commentary on
a verse in Ezekiel (I think 48:22, but I do not have the sefer in front
of me) where Rashi states he does not understand something, and then in
"rashay tayvot" type of wording (altho it is readable as plain Hebrew)
it is stated "and I had no one to help me with this commentary except
from Above" (or something close).  However, this comment is not in any
manuscripts of Rashi on Ezekiel (and I believe is therefore deleted from
the new Haketer Mikraot Gedolot being published by Bar Ilan) and was
probably added by some pious printer who wanted to defend Rashi's honor
(as if that were needed!).  It is also obvious that Rashi himself
doubted the accuracy of some of his commentaries, according to the
testimony of his grandson in Gen. 37:2 (or, if you prefer, the beginning
of parashat Vayeshev), where Rashbam quotes his illustrious grandfather
as saying that based on all the new information becoming available on a
daily basis (probably grammar being translated from Arabic into
Christian languages) he (Rashi) really needs to rewrite his commentary!

>From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
>On Wed, 8 May 2002, Israel Rosenfeld wrote:
>> Because Rashi haKadosh was written with Ruach Hakodesh.
>I'm interested, how do you know that? I would assume that one would need
>to have the level of Navi to be able to state that, yet that status ended
>prior to Rashi.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph. 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226, Voicemail and Pager: 3034
e-mail: <bkatz@...>

From: <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil)
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 02:06:36 EDT
Subject: Rashi haKadosh

      >> Why is Rashi called haKadosh and Rabbenu Tam is not
      > Because Rashi haKadosh was written with Ruach Hakodesh.

      So can Rabbenu Tam disagree with Rashi? Moreover in many places we
      pasken like Rabbenu Tam against Rashi.  Since Rabbenu Tam was
      Rashi's grandson he presumably "knew" that his grandfather wrote
      with ruach hakodesh.  It is even more problematic with his older
      brother Rashbam who actually learned with Rashi and still
      disagreed with the ruach hakodesh

The first "kasha" is no kasha because "Lo bashomayim hee" - halacha is
not determined after Sinai by Heavenly edict.  If a theoretical
Sanhedrin consisted of 35 Nevi'im who ruled one way based on their
prophecy, and 36 Rabbis who were not prophets who ruled against them
based upon their human intellect, the halacha would follow the majority.
As far as parshanut (Biblical exegesis - I love using that word WRT to
Torah), even if Rashi had ruach hakodesh (which I accept) - 1. "Shivim
panim laTorah - there are 70 dimensions to interpreting Torah," and even
Rashi encouraged Rashbam to write his own commentary; 2.  Just as nevuah
was not a constant state, is ruach hakodesh necessarily permanent, or
can it come and go?  IOW, maybe not every comment Rashi wrote was on
that level.

Kol tuv,


From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 03:41:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Rashi Hakodesh

Why would the quality of 'ruach hakodesh' preclude anyone from
disagreeing with Rashi, or paskening against his pshat?!  Refer to
gemara Shabbos and how we relate to R' Meir.

From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 10:54:47 -0400
Subject: Re: Rashi Hakodesh

>>Because Rashi haKadosh was written with Ruach Hakodesh.
>So can Rabbenu Tam disagree with Rashi?

We have a principle of "lo bashamayim hi" that halacha is not determined
by divine inspiration.  Therefore, if Rabbeinu Tam thinks he has a proof
against Rashi then he can certainly disagree.

The Chida offers a theory in his Shem HaGedolim that divine inspiration
can determine halacha ONLY when there is no other way to determine
halacha.  Therefore, if Rabbeinu Tam thinks he has a proof then the
halacha cannot follow any divine inspiration.  But if there is no proof,
the divine inspiration becomes the decisive halachic factor.  See the
following post on Avodah

Regarding the claim that there is no ruach hakodesh today, that is not
at all clear.  The gemara in Eiruvin 64b says that Rabban Gamliel used
ruach hakodesh.  The Yerushalmi in Sotah 1:4 says that R' Meir used
ruach hakodesh and there are plenty of other examples cited by R' Reuven
Margoliyos in his introduction to Shu"t Min HaShamayim.  So there was
clearly ruach hakodesh during the mishnaic period.  There are rishonim
who also speak of ruach hakodesh in their time, but it is unclear to me
whether they meant it literally.  The Or HaChaim (HaKadosh) in his
commentary to Bereishis 6:3 writes that in his day not only was there no
ruach hakodesh, there was not even any rei'ach hakodesh.  However,
predictably, some say that he was just being modest.  See the Pardes
Yosef there.  The Pardes Yosef quotes a number of later sources that
state that there is ruach hakodesh today.  Perhaps the most important is
the Responsa Divrei Chaim, YD 104 who rules that anyone who denies that
the great rabbis of the ages had ruach hakodesh is an apikorus and unfit
to teach in a school. [Note that the Divrei Chaim's specific example is
the Or HaChaim which seems to contradict his commentary to Bereishis

Gil Student


From: I Kasdan <ikasdan@...>
Subject: Rav Soleveichik on Daas Torah and Education 

See Lawrence Kaplan's piece on Daas Torah in "Rabbinic Authority and
Personal Autonomy" presented by the Orthodox Forum (and published by
Aronson Press, I believe).


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 21:55:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Ruach Hakodesh

As it appears that a number of people misunderstood my comments/question
to Israel, let me be a little more explicit.

Israel stated catagorically (and further eloborated in response to my
comment that it is basically an element of belief for him, a fully
acceptable response, from my perspective) that Rashi wrote his
commentary using Ruach Hakodesh. My question was what method was used to
determine that statement. I was not questioning the existance of Ruach
Hakodesh today (although that might be a relevent topic of discussion),
but simply how does one deturmine that an event in the past was done
through the use of Ruach Hakodesh. It would seem to me that the only
reliable source would he HaShem, and the standard method in which
reliable communication exists between HaShem and mankind is Nevuah. Once
a person is established as a Navi, then once he/she says that the
following is a statement of Navuah, we know it to be true. That was my
comment that we no longer have Navuah available to inform the rest of us
that something was written through the aspect of Ruach Hakodesh.

One possibly obvious response is that someone could say that he was
informed via Ruach Hakodesh that some other event occured via Ruach
Hakodesh. Would that statement have any validity, and if yes, why?

In response to a few posters who point out that from the aspect of
halacha we have the principle of 'lo bashamayim he', then the question
that comes up is what practical difference does it make whether or not
Rashi wrote his commentary via Ruach Hakodesh. If you say that this
applies only to halacha and not parshanut, then how can Ramban, Ibn Ezra
etc disagree with Rashi if they accept that his commentary was written
with Ruach Hakodesh.

In the end, as is probably obvious, I see no compelling theological
reason to subscribe to that belief, while seeing several pitfalls in
that approach. That however is just my personal approach to the

Avi Feldblum


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 06:41:59 +0200
Subject: Tfillin

my father o"h just recently passed away and the family made a decision
to pass on his t'fillin, which I had checked in Yerushalayim, to my
sister's son.  I think it is important to create a sense of tradition.
i recall going to the Jewish Museum in New York maybe 35 years ago or so
to see various Sifrei Torah over hundreds of years old.  there's nothing
wrong with tfillin being "old".  

Yisrael Medad


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 12 May 2002 22:40:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: TILL WHEN DOES comforting mourners apply

Janet & Aliza in v36n29 raise the issue of TILL WHEN does comforting
mourners apply. They also bring up the story of comforting someone
several weeks after death and receiving the response >I was doing ok
till everyone stated comforting me<

I would like to respond to both questions. 

First: COMFORTING MOURNERS does not mean making them feel good.  Many
mourners would rather NOT sit Shivah...just go to work and forget about
what happened. The purpose of Nichum avaelim is to make the mourner
aware that the deceased was respected and completed something while
staying in this world and that therefore the mourner should feel proud
of the deceased.

Indeed, to further respond to Aliza, if the function of NICHUM was to
make the mourner feel good then it would be prohibited to make a tear
pulling eulogy!! However, as I just stated, if the purpose of Nichum is
to make the mourner feel proud than this is not contradicted by a heavy
eulogy which elicits tears.

Next: The Talmud states that there is a decree that the dead are
forgotten eventually after a year. Thus it would appear to me that
during the first year we are still obligated to do Nichum

Finally: To take up the theme I advocated that Nichum means making
people feel PROUD (vs making them feel GOOD)--it would follow that if I
heard a person making disparaging comments about a dead relative--even
after several years--then I should fulfill the Mitzvah of Nichum and
make the person feel proud

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/(Hebrew enabled)


End of Volume 36 Issue 33