Volume 38 Number 05
                 Produced: Tue Dec 17  6:08:40 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ar"i greater than Moshe Rabbeinu ?
Colored-Striped Tallitot
         [Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer]
Making of a Gadol
         [Shapiro Marc B]
Moshe Rabaynus deficiencies
         [Russell J Hendel]
Political Correctness
         [Eli Turkel]
The Rambam on Kollel
         [Moshe Nugiel]
Sons, si.  Servants, no. (2)
         [Art Werschulz, Harlan Braude]
Trashing legitimate scholarship
         [Emmanuel Ifrah]
         [Ira L. Jacobson]


From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2002 23:04:45 EST
Subject: Ar"i greater than Moshe Rabbeinu ?

<< From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
>In fact there have been several people who were not only like Moshe but
>greater than him in one respect or another.  E.g. Shlomo was smarter
>than Moshe, R Akiva understood drash better than Moshe, the AriZal
>understood Hashem better than Moshe (Moshe knew Hashem from direct
>experience, the AriZal knew Him only from books and words, but he
>understood more from that learning than Moshe did - as Chazal said, `a
>wise person is better than a prophet'), and Moshiach will teach Torah to

Mr. Sero lists four people that he thinks are greater than Moshe
Rabbeinu, in certain ways.

Re the first, Shlomo hamelech (King Solomon), I can see his point -
after all, the posuk says 'vayechkam mikol odom' - that Shlomo hamelech
was wiser than any man - seemingly including Moshe Rabbeinu.

Re the second, Rabbi Akiva in drash, perhaps I can hear it too, as,
IIRC, there is a Chaza"l (ancient Rabbinic [Midrashic or perhaps
Talmudic, I believe]) teaching that Rabbi Akiva was able to expound
things from the Torah that no one else was able to.

Re the third person however, I have trouble with the claim. What is the
source for Mr. Sero's claim that the Ar"i, Rabbi Yitzchok Luria - who
lived less than five hundred years ago -'understood Hashem better than
Moshe Rabbeinu' ? The accompanying cited teaching of 'chochom odif
minovi' (a wise man is better than a prophet), does not support the
fantastic claim made, as it does not mean that every and any wise man is
better than any prophet, let alone the great Moshe Rabbeinu. All it
means is that, *at times*, a wise man can be greater than a prophet. I
believe some hassidim believe and teach what Zev mentioned, however I
don't think that it is accepted by Jewry at large. A friend who I posed
the question to (R. Binyomin Yosef) stated that to me in an e-mail that
"in the Moreh the Rambam clearly implies that that is impossible,
because the only way to understand / know HQB'H is by n'vu'ah ; see his
explanation of "v'ro'iso es ahorai ufonai lo yera'u)". I know that such
a belief fits in well with the superlative hassidic exaltation of the
Ar"i - however, not all gedolei Yisroel and Klal Yisroel exalted the
Ar"i to such an extent, to make him so paramount, despite their high
regard for him, AFAIK.

Also, re the fourth person mentioned, Moshiach, it was stated that he
will teach Torah to Moshe Rabbeinu. My aforementioned friend, however,
countered with 'how could he? Moshe Rabbeinu will not see y'mos
haMoshiach, since, according to the Rambam, the Moshiach will be well
before t'hiyyas haMeisim and after t'hiyyas hamesim, who says that he
will ?'



From: Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 10:25:24 +0200
Subject: Colored-Striped Tallitot

Colored-Striped Tallitot

Blue-colored, -tinted and -striped woolen tallitot were not completely
unknown in the 18th and early 19th century, as indicated by various
authorities (a), they were essentially unknown in the early 20th century
Europe. Woolen tallitot in Europe (b) at the turn of the century were
exclusively black-striped (c). Indeed, the introduction of more colorful
woolen tallitot appeared on the modern scene only following ^”The Six
Day War.^‘ On the other hand, blue striped silk tallitot were common
in Europe in the 19th and 20th Century (d), although the strictly
Orthodox continued to prefer wool (e).


a. See: R. Joseph Teomim, Pri Megadim to Shulkhan Arukh, O.H., Eshel
Avraham, sec. 9, no. 6; R. Yom Tov Lipman Heller, Divrei Hamudot to
Rosh, Hilkhot Tsitsit, no.25; R. Jehiel Michel Epstein, Arukh
ha-Shulkhan, O.H., sec. 9, no. 26. See also Zohar, va-Yikra, 227a; R.
Zvi Cohen, Tsitsit - Halakhah Pesukah, sec. 9, Halakhah Pesukah, no. 21,
note 51.

b. Sephardic tallitot generally lack stripes. As to the origin of
stripes in Ashkenazic tallitot, see: Daniel Sperber, Minhagei Yisrael,
Vol. V, Mossad Ha-Rav Kook, Jerusalem, 1995, pp. 207, note 5. Sperber
argues that the stripes stem from the Latus Clavus, the colored stripe
on the togas worn by Roman senators. Cloaks found by Yigal Yadin in the
Judean dessert and the fresco of the Synagogue at Dura Europus confirm
that such striped garb were worn by Jews as well.

c. This conclusion is based on informal interviews with a dozen or so
octo- and nonagenarians who grew up in various parts of Europe at the
beginning of the century. None ever remember seeing or even hearing of
blue striped tallit. See also: Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 5, Tallith,
p. 743, end of the second paragraph; painting Day of Atonement in the
Synagogue (Poland: 1878) by Maurycy Gottlieb (1856-1879), Tel-Aviv

d. See: picture 19th Century silk tallit in Encyclopedia Judaica, supra
note c; picture of silk tallit katan presented by Alfred de Rothschild
(ca. 1860) to Sir Henry Irving for his portrayal of Shylock, in Alfred
Rubens, A History of Jewish Costume, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London,
1973, p. 10.

e. Although Rema, Mapah, O.H., sec. 9, par. 1 indicates that non-wool
material is valid for a tallit, Maimonides (Yad, Hilkhot Tsitsit, sec 3,
no. 1) and R. Joseph Caro (Shulkhan Arukh, O.H., sec. 9, par. 1)
dissent. Most later authorities argue that one should be strict in
deference to the latter view and should at least prefer wool for a
tallit gadol. See Mishnah Berurah, no. 5 and a host of other sources and
responsa cited in R. Zvi Cohen, Tsitsit - Halakhah Pesukah, sec. 9,
Halakhah Pesukah, no. 9, note 25.

Excerpted from: And Wine Gladdens the Heart of Man - A Book Review of
Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition by
Roald Hoffman and Shira Leibowitz Schmidt, A.A. Frimer, BDD - Journal of
Torah and Scholarship, 7, English section pp. 87-96 (Summer 1998).

Dr. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan 52900, ISRAEL
E-mail: <FrimeA@...>
Tel: 972-3-5318610; Fax: 972-3-5351250


From: Shapiro Marc B <shapirom2@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 06:25:01 -0800
Subject: Making of a Gadol

Many people have been contacting me about what you posted, so please
post this as well. I don't know how many rabbanim support R.
Kamenetsky, and he didn't give me many names. He just make it clear that
there are those who agree that there is nothing wrong with the book. As
I told you, however, I think I can speak for him when I say that he is
not asserting that R. Sternbuch or other rabbanim agree with everything
in the book.

   No doubt they too feel that certain formulations were wrong, should
be worded differently, or even omitted. But they do not believe that
because of this the book itself is pasul. Just because you have a few
disagreements with an author does not mean that you should destroy him
or his work. A few errors in judgment by Rabbi Kamenetsky does not make
him a heretic!


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2002 23:20:37 -0500
Subject: RE: Moshe Rabaynus deficiencies

A minor correction. Prophecy MEANS knowing God. Moses was the greatest
prophet and hence he knew God better than anyone else (including the
AriZal). Rambam explicitly makes this comment in the laws of foundation
of the Torah chapter 1.

Zevs statements about others being smarter than Moses are correct (R
Akiva, Solomon and possibly Arizal).(I recall reading someplace that
Solomon only surpassed Moses in natural knowledge but Moses surpassed
Solomon in knowledge of God--but I looked this up and couldnt find
it--anyone know of a source)

My brother, the Honorable Neal Hendel of Beer Sheva once pointed out to
me that Moses lacked basic leadership skills. He inferred this from the
fact that his father in law, Jethro had to advise him on the basic
leadership skill of DELEGATION.

Russell Jay Hendel;Ph.d. http://www.RashiYomi.com/


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 08:48:34 GMT
Subject: Political Correctness

Rabbi Carmy writes

< The Hebrew (translation of Lonely Man of Faith) was produced without
permission of the Rav. For all I know the translator just skipped the
page (similar occurrences are frequent in the secular world) or they may
have felt that it was too much hutzpa to print a translation on their
own (with at least the minimal excuse that they were mezakkeh the
community by making important ideas accessible) and to pirate the
dedication as well!>

I don't know any more of the translators intentions does then does R.
Carmy. I was recently reading a review of "Hararei Kedem" by R.
Shirkin. The review was by Shlomo Pick and appeared in Hatzofe in March

Besides listing R. Soloveitchik as head of the Bet Bet in Boston and
ignoring any mention of YU he points out that many of the divrei Torah
appeared in Mesorah and even works written by RYBS himself in Moriah. He
mentions rumors that the OU partially funded the sefer itself but no
mention of the OU or any other source is indicated. The only outside
sources mentioned are things like references to the Brisker Rav.

He also makes a big deal over the spelling, in Hebrew, of Soolveitchik,
which I didn't really agree with.

The point is that in order to "sell" Rav Soloveitchik in some communties
some people find it necessary to hide all sorts of information about

Eli Turkel, <turkel@...>


From: Moshe Nugiel <mosheand@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 08:09:50 +0200
Subject: Re:  The Rambam on Kollel

In his defense of Kollel-niks being supported by tzadaka, Michael Kahn

<<I think that with regard to the "Kollel man with ten kids who asks for
tzadaka," such a person can be assumed to be a talmid chacham and would
actually get kadima (precedence) when it comes to receiving tzadaka

It's not clear to me what this assumption is based upon.  My experience
in the yeshiva world in Israel is that at many institutions, just about
anyone who wants to can "sit and learn," and get a small stipend,
without having to show any aptitude whatsoever for or advancement in
Torah ability.  I suppose the yeshivas which allow this practice justify
it by saying that it keeps them out of the army, or off the streets,

I repeat this is not true of all yeshivas, but probably the majority, so
I believe the above assumption is baseless.  Maybe it's different in

Moshe  Nugiel


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 10:35:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Sons, si.  Servants, no.


Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi writes: 

> Come to think of it, is there any other servant in the entire Torah
> who got such a good write-up as Eliezer? (No fair counting Yosef,
> who was only a temporary servant/slave.)

and our esteemed moderator adds:

> As far as the written Torah goes, it is an interesting exercise for the
> reader to identify what write-up Eliezer gets (hint: how many times is
> the servant of Avraham identified to be Eliezer?) 

Good question.  Of course, in Bereisheet Ch. 24, the text *never*
specifically identifies the servant as Eliezer, although this is easily
inferred from the fact that the servant is referred to as "the elder of
the household".  This shows the level of bittul (self-abnegation) that
Eliezer attains.  Thus, as Yeshaya points out, Eliezer is truly sui
generis.  In l'shon ba'alei statistics, he's an outlier, and hence not a
representative data point.

Art Werschulz
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7061, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325

From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 08:37:38 -0500
Subject: RE: Sons, si.  Servants, no.

For irony fans, Pirkei D'Rabby Eliezer (R'Eliezer ben Hurcanus (sp?))
writes that Eliezer was none other than Og Melech Habashan (ok, he
hadn't made melech yet)!


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 01:37:26 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Trashing legitimate scholarship

In mail-jewish Vol. 38 #02, Carl Singer noted the:
> on-going problem of editing (or should it be called censorship) --
> people who have old (shall we say original) versions of seforim find
> that newer editions have conveniently removed or revised items that
> would be not be politically correct today.  This practice trashes
> legitimate scholarship.

A few years ago, I bought a reprint of the Leipzig edition of
Maimonides' responsa ("Kovetz Teshuvot Ha-Rambam"). The book originally
had three parts: (i) responsa; (ii) letters related to the banning of
sciences at the time of the Rashba ("Iggerot Kena'ot"); (iii) epistles
of Maimonides.

I was as happy to buy this book as I was depressed when I saw that part
two had not been included in the reprint.

What if people discovered that at the time of Rashba some gedolim
endorsed the study of sciences and philosophy!


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 16:15:27 +0200
Subject: Re: Vayyeshev

>Don Yicxaq Abarbanel (this appears to be the correct pronunciation of
>his name, according to the best evidence -- sometimes the hamon `am are
>right) lists

If the reference is to Abarbanel vs. Abravanel, that may well be so.

But if you think that Yitzhaq should be pronounced Yicksaq, I'd really
like to see a good reference.



End of Volume 38 Issue 5