Volume 38 Number 89
                 Produced: Tue Mar 25  5:18:45 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Diversity in Orthodoxy (2)
         [Bob Werman, Joel Rich]
"feminists"--Gemara for women
         [Daniel Wells]
         [Nadine Bonner]
Modern Orthodoxy (2)
         [Ben Katz, Binyomin Segal]
Modern Orthodoxy: definition
Religious Zionism vs. YU-type Orthodoxy (essay)
         [Seth Kadish]
Tircha d'Tsibura (3)
         [Perry Zamek, <yitz99@...>, Avi Feldblum]


From: <RWERMAN@...> (Bob Werman)
Date: Mon,  24 Mar 2003 15:46 +0200
Subject: Diversity in Orthodoxy

What of alu v'alu divrei alokim haim [Both are God's words], a view that
allows differences of opinions in Hazal?

__Bob Werman

From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 08:23:34 -0500
Subject: Re: Diversity in Orthodoxy

> If anything history illistrates the oposite. Before Hillel and Shamai
> there was no such thing as hallachik dissent! The Sanhedrin decided
> everything. It was only when certain hallachos were unresolved in
> Hillel and Shamais time, with Hillel being the Nasi and Shamai being
> the Av beis Din that machlokes in hallacha became part and parcell of
> Hallacha.

and we would all agree(I hope) that we would like to live in a time
where sanhedrin is in place, smicha is reestablished etc. 
In the meantime we are not (yet) at that place and must deal with the
realities at hand. There are many after the fact(bdeieved's) that we
live and deal with(eg taking money for teaching torah).  We'll each
continue trying to do the ratzon hashem as we understand it. 

Joel Rich


From: Daniel Wells <wells@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 15:52:11 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: "feminists"--Gemara for women

> Surely any woman who would strive to learn Gemara, in the face of
> tremendous intellectual and political challenges, is a bat-Torah of the
> highest degree.

By that reasoning any goy who would strive to learn Gemara, in the face
of tremendous intellectual and political challenges, is a ben-Torah of
the highest degree....

And if a woman wanted to write a sefer Torah would you also say that she
is a bat-Torah?

> How peculiar that the desire to study Gemara, is viewed as a great thing
> in men, but as a sign of evil rebellion in women?

There are certain things in Judaism that are forbidden to women such as
writing sifrei torah and other actions that are not recommended. Thus
the SA states that a man should not teach his daughter Gemara, but if a
girl wants to learn it by herself its not forbidden.

However we then have to take a closer look at motives. A ben/bat torah
is one whose actions are LeShem Shamayim and not self agrandisment.

Some of the more famous seforim such as the "Kol Bo" in the twelth
century are claimed to be written by women. But women of such calibre
can be counted perhaps on one hand.

Is the girl learning gemorah doing so because she wants to show that she
can be as accomplished as her male counterpart? Can a person who negates
the opinions of Gedolei Torah, even if mideoraitha it is allowed, be
considered a Bat Torah? Perhaps 'Professor of Talmud' would be a more

Gender discrimination in Judaism is not based on feminine
sub-intelligence, but on a division of responsibility which has
maintained Judaism extremely well over the last two thousand years.



From: Nadine Bonner <nfbonner@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 15:19:47 -0500
Subject: L'Chaim

I don't know if this is an appropriate topic for this list, but I've
come to a dead end in my research, and this list is the best source of
Judaic knowledge I know. I work in the development office of a Jewish
non-profit. This year, our lay committee has selected "L'Chaim" as the
theme for our big fundraiser. This means we have to plan an ad book,
publicity materials, etc, around "L'Chaim." My boss is a traditional
person and likes to tie the theme in to a poskek or some Jewish
source. I have not been able to come up with any sources for the use of
"L'Chaim" as a toast. Does anyone know how this tradition was started?
Are there any historical references or sources in any text for this



From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 09:50:44 -0600
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodoxy

M.O. is more than just religious Zionism.  It is an attitude towards
modernity (that it is not all bad) and probably also relates towards the
degree of cooperation and dialog one has with non-Orthodox streams of
Judaism.  One can be a charedi and be Zionistic but not be M.O.  And
BTW, even though we attach the word "modern" to it, it is not so at all.
Any era is modern in some ways compared to what preceded it.  Rambam's
approach to Aristotelian philosophy represents a medieval attempt to
deal with modernity.

From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 09:49:56 -0600
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodoxy

While I generally think of myself as charedi, I teach at a M.O. high
school and have had the opportunity to think about this question quite a
bit. Recently, I escorted some of our students to a program that was run
by RIETS. At the program, I had the opportunity to discuss this question
with a Rabbi learning in the Kollel Elyon at YU (since much of this was
a private conversation, I will not give his name). He had given a
lecture on the concept of yitkatnu hadorot, and seemed to feel that this
was a significant dividing line philosophically between MO and
charedi. In private conversation, I asked him to clarify this idea.
Basically, he understood the charedi take to be that yitkatnu hadorot
prevents charedim from accepting that there can be any positive to
progress. He gave four specific areas where this concept played itself

1. secular learning
2. zionism
3. rabbinic authority
4. women's role

We talked about it for quite some time. Perhaps the "scariest" thing to
come out of the conversation for me was the observation that NY judaism
is so strongly polarized that people really only know people that
practice like they do. Here in chicago, the jewish community is VERY

The second observation I made is perhaps obvious but needs to be said
nonetheless. There is no single charedi position on any of these
topics. (Nor is there, I assume, a single MO position). There is a
spectrum of philosophy and practice in both "camps". Nonetheless I think
it is valid to say that though the two spectrums overlap in the middle,
they each extend out in one direction. (For example, the moderate
charedi camp in the US has some very positive views of secular education
- in a practical parnassah sense. The moderate MO view is not very
different. But there are charedim who see no value in secular learning,
and there are MO who see intrinsic value in that learning)

As for zionism - while clearly there are some strong historic
differences of approach, outside a few specific camps (extremists of
both camps - satmar and kach perhaps as examples) the overall approach
on a day to day level in real life is not so different today.

When we started the conversation, I had assumed that zionism or secular
learning would be our biggest disagreement. Surprisingly, the place we
seemed to be furthest apart (and though I write about this in the
charedi/MO sense, perhaps it is fair to say that this is really where
the two of us were furthest apart) was in the understanding of a woman's
role in Jewish society. The charedi world sees the essentially
non-academic role of the European bubbie as an ideal. The modern
orthodox world does not. For the charedi that permits women's academic
Torah study (of any kind), it is mostly a compromise with the reality of
the modern world. The charedi world sees the loss of the non-academic
example as a real and important loss. The MO world sees the introduction
of academics for women as a positive development. It is essentially the
spreading of Torah to one more part of the world. It is progress.

I hope this brief summary of our conversation is helpful to others. I
look forward to comments and other insights.



From: <yitz99@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 11:03:35 +0200
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodoxy: definition

There are a small number of issues that divide the MO and Charedi
communities.  Some emphasize their signifigance and others downplay

Here they are - as I recall. These items were said in the name of a
recognized MO Rav - I forget which one.  Add your own or contest them as
you like!

1. The primacy of Das Torah.
2. Women's equality issues.
3. The religous signifigance of Medinat Yisrael.
4. Secular education.

The differences between MO, 'religous zionism', 'chardal' lie in the
opinions held about particular issues.


From: <skadish@...> (Seth Kadish)
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 18:53:22 +0200
Subject: Religious Zionism vs. YU-type Orthodoxy (essay)

This question has become a central one in my life over the past several
years: on the one hand I am deeply attached to what YU represents, but I
currently live in Israel and work within circles where English-speaking
"YU-type" olim are hardly to be found at all.  I have found the
differences between a modern/centrist/YU "derekh" versus Israeli
Religious Zionism to be vast, to the extent that they create very deep

I strongly agree with the moderator that this topic has the potential to
"degenerate" instead of becoming the kind of discussion that increases
avodat Hashem.  It may not be the best thing for a Torah mailing list.
But on the other hand, offline, I have written an extensive essay on it
which I would be happy to send to people privately, and engage in
personal discussions with those who are interested.

The essay is called: "Normal People in Normal Places: A Plea for Change
in Religious Zionism."

Seth (Avi) Kadish
Karmiel, Israel


From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 09:30:49 +0200
Subject: Re: Tircha d'Tsibura

Our esteemed moderator suggested the following:

>[A]s I see it, it is the Rabbi's job to set the pace
>of davening, in particular Shema and Shemona Esrah. Thus I do not see it
>as a 'Tirche' that the Tsibur needs to wait for them, but rather a lesson
>for the Tsibur what pace they should allow their davening to take.

I would argue that setting the pace is an issue for the ba'al tefilah.

It would certainly be appropriate for the Rabbi to indicate to ba'alei 
tefilah the pace he would like them to maintain, but it would seem that the 
proper time for this is before tefilah -- by saying something along the 
lines of "Try to get to Barchu no earlier than 12 minutes after Baruch 
She'Amar" (or something to that effect).

The issue of waiting for the Rabbi at the end of Shema or Amida is one of 
respect (kavod), and the Rabbi may choose to forgo that privilege ("Please 
start Hazarat HaShatz when you see the majority of the congregation has 
finished the Amida.")

What if the Ba'al Tefilah davens significantly slower than the rabbi? 
Should he speed up his davening in order to avoid tircha de'tzibbura?

Perry Zamek

From: <yitz99@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 09:52:59 +0200
Subject: Re: Tircha d'Tsibura

>> can the Rabbis of many, if not all Shuls, justify haviing the Tsibur
wait for them to finish Shema and the Amidah, which at least on days
when Musaf is davenned can take perhaps five to ten minutes in all?<<

I suggest that the importance of 'kavod hatorah' takes precedence over
the aversion to 'tircha d`Tsibura'.

The concept of 'kavod hatorah' is covered in mesechta m`gillah. Ayen

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 05:26:19 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Tircha d'Tsibura

On Mon, 24 Mar 2003, Perry Zamek wrote:

> I would argue that setting the pace is an issue for the ba'al tefilah.
> ...

I agree that the ba'al tefilah is the one directly setting the pace for
the tsibur. However, my own experience when I am the ba'al tefilah,
especially if it is not in my own shul, is that I tend to set my pace to
that of the Rabbbi. I find that the Rabbi will often indicate where he
does NOT want one to wait for him. The Rabbi of the shul here in
Allentown uses a slower pace for Ashrei than for the rest of pesukei
d'zimra. So, instead of saying the last pasuk (or next to last pasuk) in
a slightly louder voice that the ba'al tefila can here, it is a few
pasukim earlier that he says aloud, and then does not say the end pasuk
louder until he has caught back up with the tzibur.

> The issue of waiting for the Rabbi at the end of Shema or Amida is one of
> respect (kavod), and the Rabbi may choose to forgo that privilege ("Please
> start Hazarat HaShatz when you see the majority of the congregation has
> finished the Amida.")

Agreed, the basic requirement on the side of the ba'al tefilah is based
on Kavod HaRav. The reason I believe that it is often not an issue of
tircha d'tzibura on the part of the Rav is education of the tzibur. I
would add based on your comments that the education of the tzibur in
Kavod HaRav adds to why it is permissable. If the Rav takes it from the
point of positive education of the tzibur to real tirche d'tzibura, I
think you likely have a much deeper problem.

> What if the Ba'al Tefilah davens significantly slower than the rabbi?
> Should he speed up his davening in order to avoid tircha de'tzibbura?

I believe that is the case. I tend at times to like to say Shema
slowly.  As long as I am doing that as a private individual, that is my
perogitive.  If I am a ba'al tefila in a place where I see that I am
saying Shema slower than the Rabbi, I will try and speed up to finish
just before the Rabbi if possible. If I was not willing to do that, then
I would not accept the offer to be ba'al tefilah.

Avi Feldblum


End of Volume 38 Issue 89