Volume 38 Number 36
                 Produced: Wed Jan 22 22:11:28 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

12.5% of Gedolim are Female
         [Russell J Hendel]
Benyamin/Ben-oni, WAS Baby-naming
         [Shayna Kravetz]
Children, Having Many
         [Aliza Berger]
Explicit Statements in Rambam: Rabbis Get Preferential Treatment
         [Russell J Hendel]
Golem of Prague (6)
         [Zev Sero, Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Gil Student, Gilad J. Gevaryahu,
Moshe Goldberg, A Seinfeld]
         [David Ziants]
Kol Nidrei food drive
         [Art Werschulz]
Kollel and Yissochor-Zevulun
         [Ira Bauman]
Lack of Job Training etc.
         [Esther Posen]
Lack of Job Training, Kollel and Tzedaka
         [Mike Grynberg]
Naming Babies
         [Gil Student]
         [Eli Turkel]
Synagogue charters / Shul constitutions
         [David Ziants]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 22:40:06 -0500
Subject: 12.5% of Gedolim are Female

Lisa Halpern in v38n22 raises the issue of whether a woman could be a

I already cited Golda Meir as an example of a Female (Respected) Jewish

Going back further we can cite Devorah who was (a) female (b) a
prophetess (c) led Israel to Military victory(Something not usually
associated with women).

Similarly Ester led Israel to Military victory and was a female
prophetess. In fact the Talmud emphasizes that the men did not want
Purim (because of the potential anti-semitism) but Ester pushed it thru.

So yes...women can and have been prophetesses and great leaders. 

On an actuarial note, there were 7 female prophetesses and 48 male
prophets.  That would suggest a 1/8 ratio (More than the secular world
can boast about) (This answers several later postings who also mentioned
Nechama Leibowitz but said that Female Gedolim are rare---in my book 1/8
is not raRe)

So I think Judaism is enlightened and ahead of their nonJewish peers.

Russell Jay Hendel; RASHI:http://www.RashiYomi.com/
WEB:   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RashiYomi_Job/
EMAIL: <RashiYomi_Job-subscribe@...>


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 15:17:55 -0400
Subject: Benyamin/Ben-oni, WAS Baby-naming 

Immanuel Burton writes:
>>With regards to Leah naming her children, it does indeed seem that the
>>wife decided her children's names.  However, we see in Parshat
>>Vayishlach (Genesis 35:18) that Rachel gave the name Ben Oni to Binyomin
>>as she was dying, but Jacob gave the name Binyomin instead, thereby
>>over-ruling Rachel's decision.

I learned in a shiur taught by Rachael Turkienicz the idea that the
child's two names are not opposites but synonyms. Yamin and On are both
words meaning strength or power, although many commentaries take the
word "on" to mean pain, which is certainly another possible reading. So,
with this in mind, the idea that the mother has the power to name
remains intact.



From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 11:37:03 +0200
Subject: Children, Having Many

In a discussion of lack of job training for haredim, .Tzadik. Vanderhoof
<<He marries and has a vary large family, again, based on the cultural

To which Chaim Mateh asks rhetorically:
<<I thought it's a Mitzvah (albeit a Rabbinic rather than Biblical), for ALL
Jews, to have as many children as we can?>>

I'm interested in sources and reasons on either side: (1) for having
many children being a cultural "strong suggestion," and (2) that it is
an actual mitzvah.

(A while back I asked for actual sources for the idea that Jews should have
many children because of the great numbers lost in the Holocaust, and did
not get very far.)


Aliza Berger & Dov Cooper
Betar 22/1, Jerusalem 93386  Israel
Home: +972 2 671-2955
Cell: +972 55 323-948 (A)  +972 54 722-948


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 22:40:54 -0500
Subject: Explicit Statements in Rambam: Rabbis Get Preferential Treatment

Sammy Finkelman in v38n22 states cites me and states

-> From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
-> 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

Sammy responds as follows:
> 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. 

Let me be clear and explicit: The Rambam DOES say exactly what I cited
him as saying (Citation below). In other words my original statement
stands: One does not pay Scholars for learning (gifts) but they DO get
preferential treatment

Here are the citations
Rambam Laws of Torah 5:1 -- Rabbis get preference it return of lost
Rambam ibid 6:10--Rabbis do not have to pay taxes for fortresses 
Rambam 6:10--They do not pay city taxes
Rambam 6:10 They get preference (1st take) in commercial matters.

Russell Jay Hendel; RASHI:http://www.RashiYomi.com/
WEB:   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RashiYomi_Job/
EMAIL: <RashiYomi_Job-subscribe@...>


From: Zev Sero <Zev.Sero@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 18:35:05 -0700
Subject: Golem of Prague

Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...> wrote:
> The Golem of Pargue, you are referring to was invented by Rabbi Yudel
> Rosenberg (1859-1935) about 100 years ago. [...]
> One can read the biography of Rabbi Rosenberg at:
> http://www.rabbiyehudahyudelrosenberg.com/biography.htm
and then quoted an article claiming that
> So popular did this "super-hero" become that we find it difficult to
> believe that the story had no basis in either fact or legend before
> Rosenberg introduced it in a book published in Warsaw in 1909!" 

Anyone who looks in the biography linked to above will note that "the
tradition that the Maharal created a Golem antedates R Rosenberg's
birth.  Already in 1837, references about the Maharal and the Golem
appeared in print.  The early printed accounts indicate that these
accounts had an oral history before being recorded."  The article then
goes on to cite sources from 1837, 1841, 1842, 1864 and 1856.  It is
clear, then, that Rosenberg did not invent the golem in 1909.

To claim that Rosenberg invented the Maharal's Golem seems as ridiculous
as claiming that Stoker invented Count Dracula, and to claim that he
invented the golem is like claiming that Stoker invented the vampire.
Both took existing legends and elaborated on them to produce popular
works of fiction, in the process inventing details which subsequently
became part of the legend.  And there is good reason to believe that, in
Rosenberg's case, the legend on which he based his book had a factual

Zev Sero

From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 22:08:22 EST
Subject: Golem of Prague

Zev Sero writes:
<<To claim that Rosenberg invented the Maharal's Golem seems as
ridiculous as claiming that Stoker invented Count Dracula, and to claim
that he invented the golem is like claiming that Stoker invented the

My claim was that Rosenberg invented the Golem of the Maharal in the
sense that he made him a popular corporal person. This was based on the
material I have provided-this is not my discovery-I was just the
reporter. The Golem as a metaphysical being dates back, in Jewish
sources, to the Talmudic time. In essence Rosenberg story made a
footnote of a legendary material into a household name amongst the Jews.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 15:56:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Golem of Prague

Gilad Gevaryahu wrote:
>The Golem of Pargue, you are referring to was invented by Rabbi Yudel
>Rosenberg (1859-1935) about 100 years ago. See an article about the
>whole story by Sid Leiman.  Shnayer Z. Leiman,  The Adventure of the
>Maharal of Prague in London: R.  Yudl Rosenberg and the Golem of Prague,
>TRADITION, Vol. 36, No. 1, Spring 2002, p. 38, fn. 8.

R' SZ Leiman did not conclude that the Golem was invented by R' Yudl
Rosenberg.  That is actually impossible because the first mention of the
Golem was in 1837, before RY Rosenberg was born.  Here are RSZ Leiman's
words from the above-cited article, p. 33:

"Did the Maharal create a Golem? If our only evidence for the Maharal's
Golem came from the writings of R. Yudl, we would perforce conclude that
the Maharal's Golem is imaginary. In fact, the tradition that the
Maharal created a Golem antedates R. Yudl. Already in 1837 (before
R. Yudl was born), legends about the Maharal and the Golem appeared in
print. The early printed accounts indicate that these legends had an
oral history before being recorded. They probably go back at least to
the second half of the eighteenth century. Unlike R. Yudl's version,
these accounts never speak about blood libel, and they know nothing
about a Cardinal Johann Sylvester.  Nonetheless, the gap between the
death of the Maharal in 1609 and the first printed account in 1837 is
striking. There is certainly no evidence contemporary with the Maharal
that he-the Maharal-created a Golem.  Rationalists dismiss the late
accounts out of hand; mystics hold on to them dearly, though they often
seem unaware of just how late and thin these traditions really are."

Gil Student

From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 18:50:52 EST
Subject: Golem of Prague

Gil Student wrote:
<<R' SZ Leiman did not conclude that the Golem was invented by R' Yudl
Rosenberg.  That is actually impossible because the first mention of the
Golem was in 1837, before RY Rosenberg was born.  Here are RSZ Leiman's
words from the above-cited article, p. 33:>>

When I said that R. Yudl Rosenberg "invented" the Golem of Prague, based
on the knowledge attained from, inter alia, listening RSZ Leiman's
lecture about the subject and reading his article, I meant that after
Rosenberg's story came out, a footnote about a metaphysical creature
became Basar VaDam and acted in History, and became a household item in
Israel. So R. Yudl created a great deal of the liveliness of the Golem.
Maybe I should have used the word "re-invented" him, but many of the
features used by Rosenberg are brand new. In fact the story about the
Golem narrated by Rosenberg is brand new, other than the concept itself.
So the verb "invented" is still the most accurate word to describe the
literary creation of R. Rosenberg.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Moshe Goldberg <mgold@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 13:31:47 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Golem of Prague

> One can read the biography of Rabbi Rosenberg at:
> http://www.rabbiyehudahyudelrosenberg.com/biography.htm

However, this very reference of Rabbi Rosenberg's biography, a draft by
Aaron Brody, does not agree that he invented the story:

# The tradition that the Maharal created a Golem antedates
# R. Rosenberg's birth.  Already in 1837, references about the Maharal
# and the Golem appeared in print.[123] The early printed accounts
# indicate that these accounts had an oral history before being
# recorded.[124]
# "During the reign of Rudolph II there lived among the Jews of Prague a
# man named Bezalel Low, who, because of his tall stature and great
# learning, was called der hole [the Great] Rabbi Low.  This rabbi was
# well versed in all of the arts and sciences, especially in the
# Kabbalah.  By means of this art he would bring to life figures formed
# out of clay or carved from wood, who, like real men, would perform
# whatever task was asked of them.  Such homemade servants are very
# valuable; they do not eat; they do not drink; and they do not require
# any wages.  They work untiringly; one can scold them, and they do not
# answer back.
# "Rabbi Low had fashioned for himself one such servant out of clay, placed
# in this mouth the Name (a magic formula), and thereby brought him to
# life.  This artificial servant performed all of the menial tasks in the
# house throughout the week: chopping wood, carrying water, etc..."

   Moshe Goldberg -- <mgold@...>

From: A Seinfeld <ASeinfeld@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 03:29:39 -0600
Subject: Re: Golem of Prague

This assertion seems to be false. One does not have to look far for
pre-1909 references (legendary?) to the golem. For example, R. Yisroel
Salanter (1810-1883) famously observes: "The Maharal of Prague created a
golem, and this was a great wonder. But how much more wonderful is it to
transform a corporeal human being into a mensch!"

Alexander Seinfeld


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 09:47:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Kol Nidrei food drive


Wendy Baker <wbaker@...> writes:

> About two years ago I had an idea that would help many people of all
> kinds and might help with "Chaverim Kol Yisrael" while sensitizing
> all synagogue Jews to the needs of the poor and hungry.  
> Try this: On what night do the most Jews in the US attend synagogue?
> Of course, the answer is Kol Nidre.  Why not have every synagogue,
> no matter its affiliation, have a Kol Nidre food drive where every
> person can bring a donation of non-perishable food to the synagogue
> before the services.

Our shul (Cranford NJ) has been doing this for a number of years.  It's
not that hard to organize.

Notice needs to go out in advance to remind people.  We put it in our
second pre-HHD mailing (the first mailing deals with gashmiyut-issues
such as financial matters, tickets, and the like, whereas the second
deals with ruchniyut-issues, such as msgs from the rabbi about the
importance of the season).

Of course, since a lot of mailed material is going out that time of the
year, it's important to announce the food collection from the bima.  If
you have a telephone auto-dialer system, a shul-wide email list, or a
shul website, these might also be good places to publicize.

You also need to make sure that you have a sufficient number of food
bins in the lobby.  If you do a Kol Nidrei Israel Bonds campaign, you'll
also want to coordinate same; people drop off cans of food and pick up
their pledge forms.

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: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 22:04:33 +0200
Subject: Re: Heimish?

A number of posters specifically defined "Heimish" as "Chasidish".

I used to hear this in the wider context of being of a Eastern European
"Yiddish" orientation, so "Litvish" (Lithuanian) could also be called
"Heimish". There is supposed to be a certain "free" spirit associated
with a "heimish" congregation.  A "Yekish" (Germanic) congregation would
be its opposite (for example pacing up and down whilst davening in a
Yekish shul is definitely not on, whilst this certainly could be a
feature of a heimish shul) .

I guess the car-hire owners would go (or their ancestors would have
gone) to the first type of shul(?)

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel

From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 22:24:22 EST
Subject: Heimish

As the original questioner posted, the word heimish means like (in / at)
the home. The key to understanding it, however, I think, is to realize
that it is not a reference to the house one lives in - rather to 'der
alter heim' - a Yiddish expression for 'the old country' / the old
family homestead in Europe / in a shtetl - the place where the users of
the expression or their forebears came from - a place nostalgically (if
not always totally accurately) thought of as where Jews lived in
accordance with age-old rythms and traditions - before changes brought
up about by the many migrations, persecutions, upheavals, etc., of
recent times......

Therefore I think that it is more of a reference to 'pre-modern' Jews -
perhaps we can use the term 'chareidim' as well - and not particularly
to hassidim. So then, it is possible for a Litvak to be Heimish too !



From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 22:42:42 EST
Subject: Re: Kollel and Yissochor-Zevulun

I recently read an essay wherein the author made a point that the
Yissochor-Zevulun relationship may simply be an arrangement between two
sh'votim but not meant to be a model for klal yisroel.

In my own meager research I see that the original source in Medrash
Rabbah (ber. 72:5) and in the Tanchumah describes the relationship as a
commendable one.  Zevulun's name precedes Yissochor's in Vayechi and
Vezos Habrachah because of it.  However, Zevulun is described as
businessmen and international traders who shared their mercantile
successes with their brothers.  This arrangement may not translate
similarly to the other shvotim who sustained their families with labor
intensive farming and may not be expected to work twice the hours and
give up their leisure time and learning for another tribe.  The
Yissochor-Zevulun model as a paradigm for all klal yisrael is not
compelling.  The Sforno in Vayechi (49:13) endorses it , the Ibn Ezra
pointedly ignores it, and Nechama Leibowitz says that Rambam
emphatically rejects it.

Nowadays, endorsements of the model seem to come almost exclusively from
those in the Yissochor encampment (rebbeim, kollel administrators,etc.).
Might they be Nogeah B'davar (have a personal stake in the matter) and
therefore suspect.  Your comments please.

Ira Bauman             <Yisyis@...>


From: Esther Posen <eposen@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 15:14:08 -0500
Subject: RE: Lack of Job Training etc.

G-d in his infinite wisdom could have provided for all of us, those with
and those without job training.  People in need exist in G-d's plan as
an opportunity for us to do chesed.  Incidentally, at a time when many
highly trained individuals who at one time made six figure incomes are
out of jobs, it is ludicrous for us to still believe in our own planning

Esther Posen


From: Mike Grynberg <mikeg@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 10:29:43 +0200
Subject: Lack of Job Training, Kollel and Tzedaka

While I do feel that we need to support people learning in Yeshiva, I
only feel the need to support the exceptional scholars, or helping out
the people that decide to take off a year to learn Torah, to recharge
their spiritual batteries.

 I do not believe people should intentionally place themselves in a
position of not being able to support themselves and expect others to do
so. While you can claim that Hashem blessed me with X dollars, and I
should therefore help them out, who is to say he would not bless the
perpetual yeshiva student with the same means?

I do not believe that Hashem placed us on this world to spend our whole
lives in Yeshiva. We are meant to live a Torah life, not just learn
about it. I think even a Kollelnik would admit that it is preferable to
build the sukka and live in it during sukkot than just to learn Masechet
Sukkot, even though "talmud Torah k'neged kulam" (loosely translated -
learning Torah is equivalent to all the mitzvot).

We could take the literal meaning of "talmud Torah k'neged kulam" and
say that *any* mitzva is secondary to learning Torah. We should not
visit the sick, or help others. We should not put on tefillin get
married or have children, after all, learning Torah is equivalent to all
these mitzvot.

So we do have some agreement that *learning* Torah is not the ideal by
itself, it is a means to an end. It enables us to live within the world,
interact with it, within the framework of mitzvot and serving Hashem.

While we do need leaders, and we need to cultivate leaders, and we do
need people for Chinuch (education), and soferim, I think the supply far
surpasses the demand. Even if you argue it does not, I think you would
agree the financial requirements of the Kollel community surpass the
financial resources of the Kollel COmmunity. When me and my wife were
living in Bnei Brak, almost no-one came to our door collecting for
Tzedaka, and indeed Bnei Brak is one of the poorest Israeli cities. Once
we moved to Gush Etzion, two or three people a night was not uncommon
for our working, largely national-religous neighborhood.

Even if you still believe that it is my responsibility to support these
people, I would like to understand what makes their cause worthier than
a woman with 5 children whose husband was killed in a terror attack? Or
a person collecting money for a life saving operation for their

We are back to the priority issue of Tzedaka, should we support someone
who by choice does not earn money and cannot support themselves, or
should we support those people struck by tragedy, who have no other
recourse than asking us for financial assistance?

Just to clarify, I do believe that some people should do nothing but
learn Torah, and be supported by the community, we do need
leaders. People that can Pasken and innovate, carry Halacha forward to
meet new challenges.  However these people are the exceptional ones, the
ones that have an aptitude for learning Torah, the ones that can really
succeed, the ones that can delve into the theoretical and with equal
ease apply it to the practical as necessary. But whole communities do
not fall under this definition.

Mike Grynberg


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 11:26:13 -0500
Subject: RE: Naming Babies

Immanuel Burton wrote:
>I once heard that the wife has the deciding vote for the name
>of the first child, the husband for the second, the wife for the
>third, and so on.  Has anyone else heard this?  I'm afraid I have
>no idea where to look this up.

Some rishonim (see Radak, Maharam miRothenburg, Da'as Zekeinim on
Bereishis 38:5) say that the custom in the time of the Avos was the
exact opposite.  The father had the right to name the first child; the
mother, the second; etc.  Ramban (ad loc.) disagrees with the proof.

The way Immanuel describes it seems to be the standard custom today in
yeshivishe and chassidishe families (at least in the NY area).

Gil Student


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2003 13:08:17 GMT
Subject: Solowejczyk

I am currently reading the recent biography of the GRIZ (R. Velvel
Soloveitchik). It has loads of pictures and many interesting stories.
Of course it is also politically correct. Hence, the section on the
family has a description of R. Moshe Soloveitchik, his brother, written
by R. Meiselman but no discussion of any children. On the other hand the
discussion on the older brother, Yisrael Gershon, centers on his son
R. Moshe Soloveitchik of Zurich.  Also with the myriad of pictures in
the book of family and other gedolim there is no picture of RYBS of
Boston/YU. I add the description since there are many pictures of RYBS
of Jerusalem who was the oldest son of the GRIZ (obviously both cousins
were named after their mutual great grandfather - the Bet Halevi).  Also
in the beginning is a family tree including the Netziv. However, the
Netziv's children show R. Chaim Berlin and a daughter while R.  Meir
Bar-Ilan disappears.

The Hebrew spelling of Soloveitchik used is with two -alephs and a
tzaddi near the end. Interestingly in a newpaper article of the hesped
for R. Chaim Soloveitchik it is spelled with a tet-shin at the end
instead of the tzaddi.

In Latin letters the official letterhead of the Griz was Solowejczyk.
What I found most fascinating was a picture of the tombstones of R.
Moshe Soloveitchik and his wife Pesha. The one for RMS is all in Hebrew
and uses the spelling of two alephs and a tzaddi. However, the one for
his wife (whi died some 25 years later) has her name (modern spelling)
and date of death also in English and soloveitchik is spelled in Hebrew
with vav instead of aleph.  Thus, two tombstones right next to each
other have different spellings of Soloveitchik in Hebrew.  I have no
idea of the reason, except to venture that with the time the spellings
were modernized. But in any case it is clear that the spellings changed
many times over the years and the family did not insist on the modern
spelling for RMS. My assumption is that in both cases it was the sons
that decided.

Prof. Eli Turkel,  <turkel@...> on 01/13/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 23:43:46 +0200
Subject: Synagogue charters / Shul constitutions

I hope that a general word about Israeli shul charters is not out of
place here.

Many shuls in Israel are registered as Amutot or non-profit
organisations. This way, the shul can sometimes receive various
financial benefits from public sources, and being an Amuta is a
pre-condition for applying for tax-exemption status. Typically, the
membership of the Amuta is comprised of shul members who agree to pay a
certain sum (for example towards the building costs) above the standard
membership fee.

By law, an Amuta has to have a takanon (a charter) - but if it doesn't
have its own takanon, it can rely on the "takanon hamatzooi" - a
standard very general takanon laid out as an appendix to the Chok
HaAmutot (Amutot Law).

The takanon would state out how one becomes a member of the Amuta,
general shul membership fees, Amuta member discounts, the various
committees and governing bodies of the Amuta, how decisions are made,
etc. The takanon itself can be changed by a general meeting of the Amuta
membership, which has to take place at least once a year. For it to be
effective, the takanon, or changes thereto, has to be registered in the
relevant office of the Ministry Of Interior.

Additional things that a shul might want to write in its takanon might
be, for example, general membership costs and structure, the nusach of
the shul, who makes halachik decisions, the type of extra activities the
shul is allowed to support apart from tefillot and shiurim, hiring out
the shul-hall to members or non-members, ..  and there are probably many
more things. Of course many of these decisions need not be written in
the takanon, but can rather be delegated to the various committees that
the general meeting of the Amuta decides to form.

I am reasonably sure what I stated above is correct, but it has been a
few years since I looked into this subject in detail and my memory might
have faded since then. I am sure that there are more reliable sources
that can confirm or refute the above.  I also don't know whether
anything has changed in these matters over the last years.

David Ziants

Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


End of Volume 38 Issue 36