Volume 38 Number 22
                 Produced: Tue Jan  7  5:56:51 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Censorship and R. Kitov
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Children & Alcohol - RAMBAM
         [Paul Ginsburg]
Everyone Can become a Gadol
         [Lisa Halpern]
Food Kitchens and Govt
         [Carl Singer]
Put those used Shaitels to good use!!
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Two new points on the Support-scholar issue
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Tzedakah Standing
         [Yisrael Medad]
         [Wendy Baker]


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2003 16:08:32 +0200
Subject: Re: Censorship and R. Kitov

> I'm holding in my hand a booklet called Kivs(h)ei D'Rachmana which is the
> Hebrew version from which the English chapters on Yom HaAtzmaut and Yom
> Yerushalayim in Sefer HaTodaah were translated. 

The first word of the hebrew title is spelled kaf vet shin yod, and is
(usually?) pronounced kavshei (not kivsei - sheep).

It is based on the phrase in Brachot 10a "behadei kavshei deRachamana
lama lach?" - Why are you meddling in "G-d's affairs", or
decisions. (Referring there to Hizkiyahu not wanting to have any
children, since he knew his son would turn out to be the evil Menashe).

I must admit to not having read the work itself, but I assume the title
is meant to imply that the creation of the State of Israel is a decision
of G-d, and those who object to it should "mind their own business".

Shabbat Shalom,
Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Paul Ginsburg <GinsburgP@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003 12:31:01 -0500 
Subject: Children & Alcohol - RAMBAM

The Rambam in his Hilchos Deos 4:12 suggests that is harmful for a child
to drink wine.  He also later states that a child does not have to drink
the four cups of wine on Pesach.

Can one give a child wine for kiddush? ...or for a l'chaim?

What does halacha say about children drinking wine/alcohol?

Paul W. Ginsburg
Rockville, Maryland


From: Lisa Halpern <halpern@...>
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003 22:48:16 -0500
Subject: Re:  Everyone Can become a Gadol

There have been many posts about this interesting idea concerning
whether or not "everyone" can become a gadol.  I believe, for most of
the discussion, the term gadol has been used primarily to mean "gadol
b'Torah", specifically in the context of being a Torah authority for a
broad community of Torah-observant Jews.  (I do recall at one point
someone mentioning Golda Meir in the context of "who can be a gadol", so
it is possible I am misinterpreting some posters' intentions with
regards to the use of this word.)

In Rabbi Chipman's recent post on this matter, he wrote: 

     "But, for argument's sake, to my mind becoming a gadol requires
three things: First, broad knowledge of kol hatorah kulah (snip) and in
a sense is at least in theory open to everybody.  Second, analytic power
in understanding Torah and applying it correctly ("oker harim" - "he who
uproots mountains"); this can partly be learned, but it also requires a
certain inborn intellectual power that is quite rare.  Third, what for
want of a better term I'd call "charisma" -- the ability to inspire and
attract others, for one's words to be listened to and accepted by
others.  This is important because being a "gadol" is also a social

I am curious to learn if readers of Mail-Jewish think a gadol b'Torah
could potentially be a woman.  Have posters been using the term
"everyone" to mean "everyone, both men and women" or "all men"?  Do
Mail-Jewish participants believe that "broad knowledge of kol hatorah
kulah ...is at least in theory open to everybody," - with "everybody"
meaning women as well as men?  And do MJers think that it is possible
that in the Torah world a woman might have "the ability to inspire and
attract others, for [her] words to be listened to and accepted by

Lisa Halpern


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sat, 4 Jan 2003 22:42:05 EST
Subject: Re: Food Kitchens and Govt

      Maybe so.  But the issue still remains that the government will
      never be able to provide for these individuals as well as the
      local institutions can.  I claim the last 40 years of history
      proves this.  This is why I am a big supporter of limited faith
      based initiative programs.  The Government monies can be used to
      allow us to handle the problem.  In other words, almost by
      definition, government programs to solve the problem WILL be
      inefficient and lacking

      Chaim Shapiro

Not to get into debate mode -- I don't think there are absolutes.  In
the past 40 years I've seen little effective community (faith?) based
programs.  Even an active, well financed Jewish community like
Cleveland, where I grew up, had a hard time dealing with elderly Jews
who had been "left behind" and were still living in former Jewish

My current community has a few effective "in-reach" programs, taking
care of their own -- and "their own" has a very limited definition --
but only one synagogue in our town reaches outside it's boundaries to
provide food to homeless & homebound (Jewish & non-Jewish) in the
general community -- for example, over those holiday weekends when
community-agencies are closed and didn't provide "meals on wheels" the
Young Israel in town gathered food donations and distributed them to
shut-ins.  Trying to reach out to other congregations for support has
typically been met with a "we should take care of our own" response.

Pouring money on the problem -- in this case pouring government money
into private coffers will not do much without (a) an effective
infrastructure and (b) communities that want to make things happen.

Carl Singer


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Subject: Put those used Shaitels to good use!!

This notice appeared in Lincoln Square Synagogue's email bulletin, and
I've asked the project's initiator for permission to publicize it, which
he happily gave as he is interested in getting the word out as widely as

Note that the Frisch school is in New Jersey (and LSS is in New York),
but the U. S. Mail operates nationwide...


David Narotsky, a student at Frisch, is collecting gently used wigs for
cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who cannot afford to buy their
own wigs.  Volunteers from the American Cancer Society or participating
hairstylists fit and style the wigs for recipients.  If anyone has a wig
(sheitel) to donate or if anyone is in need of a wig, David may be
contacted at <Davnar315@...>


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 02 11:11:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Two new points on the Support-scholar issue

-> From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
-> Let me try and add 2 new points that have not been brought up before.
-> First: Rambam is not telling us to abstain from giving Scholars
-> money. Rather Rambam is requiring that money not be given as gifts
-> but rather in the form of business preferences. eg If I need a
-> computer

No, he is not saying that either.  His complaint is, I believe, against
the whole idea of using the Torah as a spade to dig with (which is where
in Pirkei Avos his comment is attached to - Perek 4, Mishnah 5) Getting
advantages in business is ALSO making it a tool to dig with, nor is it
the type of examples and precedents he cites. Also, the Vilna Gaon (or
was it the Chofetz Chaim?) didn't want this and would close his shop
when he thought people were giving him too much business.

The Rambam himself did not take advantage of any business propositions
and if he wanted them, they would have come to him, and he couldn't see
people as much as they wanted to see him. Earlier, he had been a partner
in a business but the person supporting him was his brother and his
brother would have done it for him even if he was not as a Talmud
Chachum and that is why it was okay with him. He was adamant about not
taking advantage of his Torah learning for money, and that the thrust of
his comments in Pirkei Avos where he felt complelled to repeat this.

The only thing he ever said about helping someone in business was that
that was the highest level of Tzedakah. It is also true that one of the
justifications for paying Rabbanim - there are two of them, I believe -
is that you are giving Tzedakah. The Vilna Gaon (if I am right as to who
this was) pitied himself for having to live on Tzedakah and wouldn't
consider his situation any other way. I think some people did try to
help him in business, but the trading efforts some people made hima
partner in failed.

The other justification is that when someone is paid, he is being paid
for the income he forgoes.

There is another issue also that is somewhat related to this: the issue
of paying someone for what he does on Shabbos and that is why it is
customary for the Rosh Hashonah to also say Selichos so at least some of
it was on weekdays. (A Chazan isn't really paid for Torah, but it is
more of a skill, and the same thing is true of a Sofer or Ba'al Koreh.)

It is NOT a good thing that Rabbonim are paid or paid so much. Many
years ago, Rabbi Moshe Soled ZT'L who died in 1992, tried to do
something about getting Jewish education for children for free.  (Shifra
Hiffman was working for him at the time - this was prior to 1971, when
he was in the Bronx)

The truth is, if teaching Torah was a more amateur activity, theer would
be a lot more of it going on, and now we have taken a path where it
costs way too much. Perhaps people in Kollel could do this, or do this
for a year or two after they finish and between sessions. Then no one
would have to say everybody who learns is being supported because there
is the possibility of him becoming a Gadol. Somewhere (I think in Pirkei
Avos) someone who learns and tecahes is considered much greater than
someone who simply learns - in fact that is the main reason, but
nowadays, nobiody considers Gemorah Halachah at all, and the
justification for learning fulltime is simply fulfilling the Mitzvah of
"V'dartah bum" - in other words, preoccupying yourself and talking of

Teaching Torah used to be paid very little, as seen in the Silbermann
translation to the Rashi of Bereishis 49:7 - the Brochah [blessing?]
that Yacov gave Shimon and Levi. He said he would scatter them among the
Jews and the Rashi translation they have there has "for you will find
the very poor - the Scribes and elementary teachers - were all of the
tribe of Simeon". This was written in 1935 and reflects the thinking or
situation of some 50 years before let's say. All people here will admit
that at that time, when the teachers were paid little, the education in
Torah was the greatest.

I said the translation of Rashi and not rashi himself because I think
that in this place Rosenbaum and Silbermann must be mistranslating
Rashi, simply because the idea seemed so natural to them. The way I read
Rashi, poor people, scribes and elementary school teachers were three
separate categories, and what they had in common was that these people
had to wander from place to place but Silbermann seems to have it Rashi
writes poor people and then explains himself by adding that members of
the tribe of Shimon were scribes and what we would call today elementary
school teachers. Silbermann seems to indicate that the original source
of this Rashi comment is Tanchuma and Bereishis Rabbah 98 and maybe
somebody can look there and see what it says. This, by the way is a
Dovor acher - another interpretation of some wortds in the Posuk (the
alternative being that the two tribes would be separated from each

Anyway, at a minimum though we see, that somebody associates low money
with Malamdim, at least for the period of 100 years ago and more if not
for the time of Rashi and the time of Bereishis Rabbah - abd Berishis
Rabbah would see it as pertaining to the first days after Yoshua (if
Silbermann is right about the Rasghi and what bereishis Rabbah contains)

This idea of accustoming scholars to get money is actually destructive
to Torah learning - if you want Torah ti be known to more than an elite.


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 05 Jan 2003 01:23:20 +0200
Subject: Tzedakah Standing

Joel Rich wrote in Volume 38 Number 16:

      1. The minhag for giving tzedakah at that point IIRC is brought
      down by the magen avraham based on the arizal(I'll check when I
      have sfarim available)

several months ago I brought down all the versions of giving tzedakah
during that pasuk according to the Kabbalah so it should be on file.

[Vol 36 no. 77. Mod.]

Yisrael Medad


From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Subject: Re: Yeshivish

On Sat, 5 Jan 2003, Steven White  wrote:
> In MJ 38:11, Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...> writes:
> > The one thing I CAN'T STAND about Yeshivish is when people use the
> > pronoun "by" for just about every other pronoun ("at", "with", "for",
> > etc.)!  They even do it to non-Jews causing very puzzled reactions. >
> Since Yeshivish (adj. form of proper noun?) is based on English, I think
> most Yeshivish speakers think they are saying or hearing "by."  However,
> I think the word they are actually saying is "bei," a German word via
> Yiddish to Yeshivish.  "Bei" doesn't translate all that well into
> English; it means about the same as French "chez," which means something
> close to, but not quite, "at," "with," or "for."

Or perhaps, "according to" as in "bie mir is du sheyn"

Wendy Baker

End of Volume 38 Issue 22