Volume 37 Number 07
                 Produced: Thu Sep  5  5:15:07 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Body Temperature, Medical Progress. and Halacha
         [Carl Singer]
Bride and Groom kissing at a wedding
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat
         [Dov Bloom]
Japanese Diplomat Who Saved Jews
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Reason for a Mitzvah (2)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Andrew Klafter]
Righteous Gentile
         [Edward Ehrlich]
Torah as Historical Record
         [Ben Katz]


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 2002 21:48:37 EDT
Subject: Re: Body Temperature, Medical Progress. and Halacha

If I might add one parental (non-medical) comment -- one knows one's own
children -- and learns what's "serious" and what's kvetching.  More
accurately, what's normal behavior / symptoms and what's beyond the
pale.  And it varies from child to child.  My wife once took our baby
(now 23 years old) to his pediatrician on Shabbos -- when the doctor
realized that it was her and that it was Shabbos, he saw them
immediately, he knew that "if this is Shabbos, it wasn't a runny nose."

(P.S.  The 105+ fever despite cooling baths might have been an

Kol Tuv
Carl Singer


From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: RE: Bride and Groom kissing at a wedding

If the Netziv would not have walked out, no matter what he would have done 
later, people would be saying (and posting on this list) "such and such was 
done and the Netziv was there and he didn't protest".

>There were many alternative approaches of protest. The Netziv could have
>written an essay, published a responsum, given a series of Derashoth on
>modesty or weddings and their customs.

>Therefore in summary, my simple 2-fold question is a) Why was it
>necessary for the Netziv to protest immediately at the wedding and b)
>Isnt my question valid halachically as well as socially?


From: Dov Bloom <dovb@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Sep 2002 01:47:27 +0200
Subject: Re: Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat

 > From what I've seen, all poskim hold that he can eat when the people
around him are eating (i.e., when the local time is after Tisha
B'Av). So too, it seems very reasonable (though admittedly not very
practical) that an astronaut observes the same Tisha B'Av (and Shabbos)
as the people below him -- even if that means starting and stopping
these observances many time in a short period.<

Poskim hold in cases on near Polar visits ( such as Northern Scandanavia
or Alaska where there may be no night or day and therefore a question
about Shabbat) that one follows the timing of an established community
one left. That would seem to be relevant here too.  

Dov A Bloom  <dovb@...>


From: Yeshaya Halevi <chihal@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 12:19:26 -0500
Subject: Japanese Diplomat Who Saved Jews

Shalom, All:

	Yehonatan Chipman notes: <<During World War II, a whole group of
Mir yeshiva bochurim were saved from the Holocaust by escaping all the
way across Russia & crossing over to Japan. (This was thanks to visas
issued them by the Japanese ambassador to Lithuania, a true righteous
Gentile, whose name I unfortunately don't remember. >>

	Thank you, Yehonatan, for raising this point. Too few Jews
remember or ever knew of the heroism of Chiune Sugihara and his wife
Yukiko. They saved many thousands of Jews by issuing transit visas that
enabled them to find refuge in Japanese-controlled Shanghai. (To the
Jews he saved, it was literally "Shang-Chai."  ;)
	Sugihara-san was indeed a Righteous Gentile. Defying his own
government, for 29 days he wrote transit visas **by hand** at the
Japanese Consulate in Kaunas (a.k.a. Kovno), Lithuania. (He was a consul
general, not an ambassador, BTW.) When his hand was cramped from
writing, his wife, Yukiko, who fully supported his righteousness despite
the inevitable consequences to them, massaged his hand so he could write
more. Since he refused to take time to eat meals, she made sandwiches
which he ate while signing.
	The thousands of Jewish lives Sugihara saved cost him his
then-brilliant career in Japan's diplomatic service, but he never
mentioned his heroism or sought reward in Olam Hazeh (This World). It
was not until 1969, when Yehoshua Nishri -- a Sugihara-saved Jew --
found him that his story was revealed. Yad VaShem eventually honored
	When asked why he destroyed his career to save people of another
religion, he quoted an old samurai saying: "Even a hunter cannot kill a
bird which flies to him for refuge." However, even this does not do
justice to his heroism. I can only conclude God ordained that
righteousness is not solely confined to Jews.
	I urge everybody to go to the URLs documenting this
extraordinary and compassionate Japanese man and his wife. Of note is
http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Holocaust/sugihara.html, but other URLs
	Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <Sabba.Hillel@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Sep 2002 13:38:04 -0400
Subject: Re: Reason for a Mitzvah

> From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
> I replied, "Ah, but you're considering the reason for the prohibition,
> and the Rebbe said we should strive to treat all mitzvos as Chukim --
> laws which we obey without any thought of reason or justification.  If I
> treat this as a halacha we do for no reason other than HaShem's command,
> then as long as my scheme doesn't technically violate G-d's command
> (i.e. the halacha), there's NO REASON not to go for it!"  :-)
> Needless to say, the rabbi was not impressed with my "chiddush"!

This is because your response is similar to the apikorsim (heretics) who
deliberately misinterpreted the pasuk from Pirkei Avos "Don't be like
the servant who serves for a reward but like one who serves for no
reward" to deny the existence of reward or punishment.  One should
behave as if each mitzvah is a chok so as not to twist around and try to
get out of the mitzvah.  Consider what happened to Shlomo Hamelech.
However, in this case, you were using treating a mitzvah as a chok in
order to get out of it and destroy the meaning.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
<sabbahem@...>, Sabba.Hillel@verizon.net

From: Andrew Klafter <KLAFTEAB@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 09:18:40 -0400 
Subject: Reason for a Mitzvah

>From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...> I daven at a Chabad shul.
>A while back we had a sicha in which the Rebbe (or one of his
>antecedents, I don't remember which) said that hassidim should strive
>to view all mitzvos as chukim and do them not for any reason or
>benefit, but solely because HaShem commanded them.  He said that even
>one says, "We don't know the reason for this mitzvah, but I will do it
>anyway because I assume they all have benefits, albeit unknown" then we
>are not truly treating them as Chukim, because we are doing them for a
>reason other than obediance to HaShem.  [...goes on to relate a story
>where he tried to convince the Rabbi of the Chabad Shul that it makes
>no sense to treat all mitzvos as chukim]

Please relate the following to your Chabad Rabbi:

The late Lubbavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, zt'l,
spoke and wrote at length on many occasions about the differences
between Chukim (supra-rational, or non-rational commandments) and
mishpatim (rational commandments).  It is absolutely false that Chabad
Chassidus treats mishpatim and chukim as essentially the same.  The best
place to look for a summary of the late Rebbe's statements on this is a
Hebrew booklet by Rabbi Yoel Kahn called "Gedaran Shel Mitzvot"
(Parameters of the Commandments) which was published my Merkos
Publication Society about 2-3 years after the Rebbe's death.  It
summarizes the Rebbes teachings on the topic of Chukim, Ediyot, and
Mishpatim.  The sources for all the Rebbe's teachings on this are well
documented there.  It is clear that Chabad philosophy affirms important
distinctions between these different types of commandments.

Included in the Rebbe's writings which are discussed in this booklet is
the fact that our actual observance of rational commandments must be
done in a different manner than our observance of non-rational
commandments.  This is based on the Rabmbam's analysis of a famous
Midrash in the Sifri.  The Rambam's analysis is found in Chapter 6 of
the Shemona Perakim.  The Rambam clearly states that the notion of
submitting our will to HaShem's will is the motivation only behind
non-rational commandments, but that it is inapproriate to apply this to
rational commandments.  For example, when we are tempted to eat
non-kosher food, the Midrash tells us: "Don't say 'I don't desire this'
[piece of non-kosher meat; rather, say "I desire this [non-kosher meat]
but My Father In Heaven has decreed upon me [that I am not allowed to
eat it."  The Rambam explains that this ONLY applies to non-rational
commandments, and that person's attitude toward rational commandments is
that they should be appealing on the levels of our intellect, emotions,
and common sense.  The Rebbe clarifies that, based on this Rambam, when
performing rational commandments [like giving tzedakka], we should be
motivated by our desire to accomplish the goal which the Torah or the
Rabbis have revealed to us as the reason for it [i.e., to help our
impoverished fellow Jews].  It would be very far from the teachings of
Chabad chassidus and the late Rebbe in particular to say that we should
strive to observe rational commandments as though they are also

It may be that the Rabbi at your local Chabad shul is taking another
statement of the Rebbe out of context.  On the verse "Zot chukat
Ha-Torah" ("This is the decree of the Torah..." Numbers, 19:1) the Rebbe
comments that the verse would have made more sense if it said "Zot
Chukat Ha Para" (This is the decree of the Red Heiffer).  The Rebbe goes
on to explain that the allegorical meaning of this verse is the notion
that even within rational commandments, there are aspects which cannot
be understood logically.  This notion is also based on the Rambam, who
explains in various places that it os not be possible for human beings
deduce all the "reasons" for the particular details of each commandment,
even the rational ones.  For example, why must the tefillin be perfectly
square, why must the straps be black, etc., etc.  Therefore, the Rabbi
of the synagogue you attend has misunderstood the sources he is using,
and does not see them in the larger context of other important sources.

Nachum Klafter


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 13:40:44 +0200
Subject: Righteous Gentile

Yehonatan Chipman wrote:

>During World War II, a whole group of Mir yeshiva bochurim were saved
>from the Holocaust by escaping all the way across Russia & crossing
>over to Japan. (This was thanks to visas issued them by the Japanese
>ambasssdor to Lithuania, a true righteous Gentile, whose name I
>unfortunately don't remember.

Yehonatan is referring to Chiune Sugihara who might have saved up to
10,000 Jews during the Holocaust.  He was actually the Japanese
vice-Consul and defied his own government by issuing thousands of visas
to Jews who were technically not qualified to receive them.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 12:29:11 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Torah as Historical Record

>From: <Shalomoz@...> (Shalom Ozarowski)
>In v36n80, Ben Katz wrote:
><< There are many historical asides that do not
> have any mitzvah ramifications to the best of my knowledge.  Moshe tells
> us 3 times about the historical backgrounds of certain peoples (what
> they used to be called, where they came from).  In fact, at least one
> historical reference is problemmatice [in understanding] Mosaic
> authorship of the Torah (the reference to Og's bed; see the comments of
> Ibn Ezra to Deut 34:1). >>
>The business about og's bed in parshat dvarim (3:11, "hinei arso eres
>barzel") sparked a lot of discussion at our shabbat table that weekend.
>our understanding was that, now that og & his people had been conquered,
>this giant bed became a museum piece of sorts and was in fact a
>well-known item in the city ("haloh hi b'rabat bnei amon!" exclaims
>moshe).  what do you see in that reference as problematic to Mosaic
>Torah authorship?  

        The problems (not insurmountable) are that the bed is spoken of
as if it were some ancient relic, not a recent acquisition by a museum.
Also, Moshe never was in rabat; is this the sort of thing he would
divine via nevuah?

>I'm not sure how it's relevant to the ibn ezra on authorship of the end
>of sefer dvarim.

        Ibn Ezra himself quotes this verse in his comments on Devarim
1:2 when he refers to the "sod hashneim asar" (referring to his opinion
regarding Joshua's authorship of the last 12 verses of the Torah).  Note
how Ibn Ezra holds a more extreme position than either opinion regarding
the Torah's authorship in Baba batra 14 b (where one opinion is the
Joshua wrote the last 8 verses of the Torah) and that a small minority
of rishonim such as Rav Yehudah Hachasid and others also held similar
opinions.  See March Shapiro's article on the 13 principles of faith in
the Torah Umada Journal a few years back (regarding the 8th principle
that the Torah is Divine) and my article in the Jewish Bible Quarterly
regarding Rav Yehudah Hachasid's Torah commentary (Vol. 25 No. 1, 1997,
pp. 23-30).

shana tova.
Ben Tzion 
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@...>


End of Volume 37 Issue 7