Volume 38 Number 53
                 Produced: Sat Feb  8 20:46:29 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Double Mizmor at Altneushul
         [Kobi Ableman]
Everyone can Learn
         [Russell J Hendel]
Holy Places
         [Frank Reiss]
The Rav and Medinat Yisrael
         [Jonathan Baker]
Rav and Medinat Yisrael-- Part II
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Rodkinson Talmud
         [Alan Rubin]
The Terach and Avram Sagas are Intertwined, not Sequential
         [Akiva Miller]
Terach saga
         [Danny Skaist]


From: Kobi Ableman <nadkobi@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 2003 20:45:57 +0200
Subject: Double Mizmor at Altneushul

> On Friday night, I noticed that the chazan recited the mizmorim of
> "Mizmor shir leyom haShabbat" and "[Hashem] malach, gei'ut laveish"
> twice.

Prof. Rabbi Daniel Sperber wrote a chapter about this in his series
"Minhagei Yisrael".  IIRC R Sperber writes that the custom in the
Altneushul was a result of the musical accompaniement to Kabbalat
Shabbat.  The mizmorei shabbat had a double function - to finish off
Kabbalat Shabbat but also the men are 'mkabel shabbat' with them also. 
To alleviate any problem the first round of the mizmorim were recited (or
sung or performed) without the intention of taking on shabbat.
And therefore, they needed to be said another time.

Kabbalat Shabbat being a 'non' part of the service was also the reason
that the custom grew to lead it from the Torah Reading table in the
middle rather than from the prayer leader's lectern at the front of the

Kobi Ableman  


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2003 23:58:31 -0500
Subject: RE: Everyone can Learn

Michael Kahn v38n47 makes an eloquent case for effort for Torah
study. Allow me to address some of his points.

First Michael asks for the source that if one does not see a blessing in
his learnings after 5 years then he will never see a blessing.  (Michael
asks what then should such a person do).

The source for this is the contrast of two explicit verses on Levite
service (Nu08-24 vs Nu04-03)--one says the Levite serves at 25 while the
other says he works in the Temple at 30. The resolution of these 2
verses is that the learning starts at 25 while the actual service starts
at 30 (See http://www.RashiYomi.com/ex40-35a.htm) Hence we infer that
the Levite service was a 5 year degree program!

By a strange coincidence I just got a paper rejected almost the same day
that Michael came out with his posting. The paper was a critique of the
Daf Yomi program and answers the questions that Michael poses. Allow me
to summarize it. (If people are interested please email me and I will
send them a copy...or better still place it on my website).

The paper in effect answers Michaels question--what do you do after 5
years. I reviewed several traditionally difficult intellectual areas:
chess, math, music, karate etc. The secret of making masters in all
these areas is to concentrate on small exercises that develop basic
skills. It is commonly accepted that ifyou really wanted to you could
become a black belt or a chess master or an accomplished musician:
However you would have to practice small exercises developing basic
skills for long periods of time each day for several years.

I am particularly aware of pedagogy in Mathematics. The old textbooks
were like the Temple training. They taught long problems. If you didnt
get them you were no good. But the modern approach is that anyone can
make it. What is new is the emphasis on identification of basic
component skills and their practice. A similar situation exists in
karate or chess---the current theories are that if you really want to
become a chess master or black belt you can (But you have to work alot).

I therefore consider it embarassing that (a) if I wanted to become a
black belt I could find a teacher (b) If I wanted to become a chess
master I could find a teacher but (c) if I wanted to become a Gadol I am
told it depends on luck and carisma. This is simply not true!  So the
answer to Michaels question is that if I dont succeed using arbitrary
methods then I should start concentrating on small exercises on basic

Anyway those are my two cents on education -- I repeat what I said 30
issues ago---we should publicize the fact that anyone can become a gadol
(IF they put in the work for it).

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


From: Frank Reiss <freiss47@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2003 12:45:11 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Holy Places

If one is having extreme financial difficulties, there are many things
he should do, in the form of prayers, Gemilus Chessed. What about
visiting holy places? For example, If I could go now, I would visit the
Kotel.  Many do this. The obvious reasons are that this is the site of
the Beis Hamikdash, so it is a designated holy place. Other places are
usually Kivrei Tzadikim. In America, one could visit the Rebbe's grave.

In my experiece, I have found a place that I go to once in a great
while, when I am in need of some kind of special davening. I return to a
town that when I lived there, I became frum again, and met my future
wife, all in the same year. I have considered this house as a holy place
for me, in that, HaShem was extremely mercifull and kind to me, at the
time that I lived there. So when I went today, I parked a few blocks
away and as I was walking closer I was starting to cry and was shouting
out bits of Pesukim or Tehillim. It was very emotional and
'Gevaldik'. The crying continued more than I have experienced for quite
some time. (I am currently unemployed for several months, but had a very
good first interview last week). My question is, is there a madrega or
something real about my experience in Jewish terms, or is it sort of a
secular 'pop psychology' experience.



From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 10:17:14 -0500 (EST)
Subject: The Rav and Medinat Yisrael

Mike Gerver wrote:

> [1968] excuse, that "I am guilty." Indeed, he writes, he and his wife had
> planned to come to Israel for a visit of about six months.  Now, he
> says, many of his friends, both in Israel and abroad, have suggested he
> should visit Israel. But in his present emotional state, sunk as he is
> in mourning, he feels that he cannot go up to Jerusalem.  Also, he has
> teaching to do in New York, and that is important too.
> In an article that appeared in HaTzofeh, 14 Nisan 5730 (April 20, 1970),
> the Rav was said to be planning to come to Israel with 50 students. In
> an interview published in Maariv on 16 Cheshvan 5738 (October 28, 1977),
> the Rav says that, b'li neder, he will visit Israel the following
> summer. But he never visited Israel again.

R' Rakeffet said in 1993:

: Oddly enough,  the Soloveitchiks in the United States are staunch
: Zionists,  but those who went directly  to Israel from Poland are
: virtually Neturei  Karta.   At one  point,  someone told  him his
: granddaughter (by Rav Aaron and  Tovah Lichtenstein)  whom he had
: never seen,  looked  just like his late wife.   The  Rav cried at
: that,  and resolved to go visit Israel.   The RCA looked into the
: possibility and  ramifications,  with all  the speeches  he would
: have had to give at various institutions.  They found that if the
: Rav went to Israel,  his own  relatives would have been compelled
: to demonstrate against him.   He decided  not to go,  rather than
: cause a machloket (dispute) within his own family.

(whole lecture at http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker/rav3)

    Jonathan Baker


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Feb 2003 21:54:36 +0200
Subject: Re: Rav and Medinat Yisrael-- Part II

Concerning Mike Gerver's Rav and Medinat Yisrael-- Part II, was there no
reference to Menachem Begin requesting that the Rav become Israel's
Chief Rabbi?


From: Alan Rubin <arubin@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 21:27 +0000 (GMT Standard Time)
Subject: Rodkinson Talmud

I have just come across the translation of part of Talmud Bavli
(Babylonian Talmud) by Rodkinson. There is a translation of Moed and
Nezikin posted on the site http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/index.htm

I was not aware of the existence of this translation. Does anyone have
any knowledge of this translation, its provenance and standing?

Alan Rubin


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2003 00:48:52 -0500
Subject: Re: The Terach and Avram Sagas are Intertwined, not Sequential

In MJ 37:47, Avi Rabinowitz wrote <<< The creation and Eden accounts are
intertwined... The Torah indicates that it is using the same technique
in the Terach and Avram sagas:... >>>

I'd like to offer everyone a similar observation I noticed last year.
These thoughts came to me as I was examining the "Genealogical Table /
Abraham's Family" in the ArtScroll Chumash, page 77, at the end of Lech
Lecha. You might follow me better if you have that chart or a similar

It occurred to me that we normally think of the Avos as a gradual
refining of Avraham's nature: Avraham Avinu was the first to recognize
G-d. The best of Avraham went into Yitzchak, and the rest went to
Yishmael, whose descendants remain eternally apart from Yisrael.
Likewise, the best of Yitzchak went into Yaakov, and the rest ended up
in Esav, another eternal rival of Yisrael. And Yaakov was the refined
perfection of the generation, after the chaff had been winnowed away.

Such is the genealogy of the Patriarchs. But if we look at the genealogy
of the *M*atriarchs, a very different picture emerges.

Terach, who has been discussed in previous issues of Mail Jewish, had a
tzadik of a son, named Avraham. Does this mean that his other sons were
consigned to the scrap-heaps? Oh no, not by a long shot.

Another of Terach's sons - Haran - fathered Sarah Imenu. And Haran's
genes were not used up either: His son Lot would produce Ruth and David
HaMelech many generations later.

And Haran's other daughter (Milkah) married Terach's other son (Nachor).
Among their children was Besuel, who fathered Rivka Imenu. And Besuel's
genes were not used up: His son Lavan fathered both Rachel Imenu and
Leah Imenu.

These two genealogies work in very different directions. The story of
the Fathers, it seems to me, is one of separating "the ochel from the
p'soles", the wheat from the chaff. The story of the Mothers, in very
sharp contrast, is one of integrating the best of what is available.

 From one perspective, Terach started out towards Canaan, but for some
reason never completed the trip. But that doesn't necessarily make him
out to be a no-good-nik. He must have had an awful lot of good
potential, because even if he did not realize that potential himself, it
surely flowered beautifully in his descendants.

In closing, I'd like to quote from Rav Volbe, of Yeshivat Be'er Yaakov,
who has a series of lectures he gives to chasanim of his yeshiva, to
help them prepare for married life. One of the points he makes is to
explain what is meant by the concept that women, in general, tend to
have "bina yesera" - more "understanding", whereas men's strength tends
to be in the "daas" - knowledge department. He explains the difference
between these synonyms is that men tend to be better at analyzing a
thing, that is, distinguishing how a thing is different than other
similar items. In contrast, he feels that women tend to be better at
comparing things, that is, identifying how a thing is similar to other
things which at first glance seem to be different.

These genealogies of Terach seem to fit the distinction Rav Volbe makes.
The Patriarchs are a refinement, repeatedly smelting out the impurities.
The Matriarchs are a synthesis, bringing the best of the outside inward.
HaShem worked both procedures simultaneously, to get from Terach to the
Twelve Tribes.

Akiva Miller


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2003 09:11:44 +0200 
Subject: Terach saga

> <<From: Avi I Rabinowitz <air1@...>
> The Torah completes the Terach saga by telling us that he left with
> Avram (one can read this into the enigmatic: "vayetzu itam" [this could
> also mean the Tower of Bavel exodus]); since he is the head of the
> family, it is told as though he initiated the trip (chazal state
> explicitly that the Torah was careful of the kavod of Avram, hiding the
> fact that he left his father, and so it is in line with this to imply
> that Avram did not leave Ur and drag his father but rather his father
> left and took Avram; then the Torah goes into detail "Lech Lecha" etc
> telling us how it came about that Terach took his family and left.  >>
So Avram was told to leave his "father's house" which he did by taking his
father's house with him ??

That still leaves me with the nagging question of what happened to Avram's
brother Nachor  We know he wound up in Haran, but he didn't leave Ur  with



End of Volume 38 Issue 53