Volume 38 Number 93
                 Produced: Sun Mar 30  7:39:35 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Michael Rogovin]
Diversity in Orthodoxy
         [Michael Rogovin]
Kavod Hatorah and Tircha d'Tsibura
         [Meir Possenheimer]
Modern Orthodox
         [Carl Singer]
Modern Orthodox - Ultra Orthodox
         [Chaim Sukenik]
Modern Orthodoxy (2)
         [Bernard Raab, Tzadik Vanderhoof]
Modern Orthodoxy: definition (3)
         [Shayna Kravetz, Avi Feldblum, Allen Gerstl]
Rabbinical contracts and shul bylaws
         [Robert J. Tolchin]
Sources for the use of "L'Chaim"
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]


From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 12:29:55 -0500
Subject: Dating

A flyer was distributed at my synagogue (YI of Hillcrest) recently
bemoaning the state of orthodox dating/shidduch making. I urge mj
members to look at the following site:


Take a look at the "covenant"

(fortunately I no longer have to deal with this myself, but
I have two young daughters...)

Michael Rogovin 


From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 09:46:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Diversity in Orthodoxy

Michael Kahn criticizes my statement regarding the strength of orthodoxy
is that diversity in opinions was always tolerated by citing a mishna:

>This is not true! There was a machlokes in the Mishna regarding the proper 
>date of Yom Kippur and one tana forced the other tana to follow his opinion.
>(One tana forced the second tana to violate the sanctaty of the day the 
>second tana felt was Yom Kippur.)

followed by the rather incredible statement:

> Before Hillel and Shamai there was no such thing as hallachik dissent! 
> The Sanhedrin decided everything. 

With all due respect to Mr. Kahn, bringing a proof about which date one
must observe as Yom Kippur hardly disproves a general statement about a
philisophical approach to orthodoxy. At the time of the tanaim, it may
well have been necessary to establish a generally agreed upon date for
communal observance of a holy day. The calendar affects the community as
a whole. When there was a Sanhedrin, there was certainly dissent (as
others have pointed out, that was why they voted) until a decision was
rendered. But what cases were brought to the Sanhedrin? Every
machlochet? I hardly think so. Although I am not a historian of the
period (and would welcome criticism from those who are), I suspect that
even then, one would expect that different communities would develop
variations in halacha. When an issue was such that it could not be
decided locally, it made its way to the Sanhedrin, much as only certain
cases make their way to the Supreme Court in the US (l'havdil).

In any case, we do not live in the age of the Sanhedrin and cannot use
that as a standard for orthodox practice over the last 2000+
years. Until recently, variations in practice were not that big a deal
unless they impacted on the entire community. There were always
exceptions, but that was the general rule. I believe that the situation
has certainly changed over the last few decades as tolerance for
dissenting opinions, at least those in the moderate or left camps, has
been steadily declining.

Michael Rogovin


From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 21:38:04 -0000
Subject: Re: Kavod Hatorah and Tircha d'Tsibura

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

My understanding of Orach Chayim 144 3 & 4, where the Sefer Torah is not
rolled because of Kevod Hatzibur, even though there is an implied Pegam
attributable to the the Sefer, would seem to contradict your suggestion.
And how would you explain Orach Chayim 124:3 (Remoh) in a case where the
rest of the Tsibur do not davven excessively fast? (cf Mishna Berurah ibid)



From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 07:35:18 EST
Subject: Modern Orthodox

Most discussions where someone who is not (or does not classify
themselves as) a member of a group, be it Modern Orthodox or Charedi,
Lubavitch, Yeshivish or whatever, defines this group is pretty much
flawed.  Perhaps the only thing on equally shaky footing is when someone
within a "group" defines the group as a reflection of (only) their own
personal vision.  Lastly, the intellectual leadership of a group may
have a clear vision, but many people associated with said group are
neither aware of or in synch with this vision -- they may "just like the

Where I'm going with this is that it's pretty much a waste of time and a
splendid opportunity for sinas chinum to go around defining the other
guy's viewpoint -- unless of course you're in debate class.

Carl Singer


From: Chaim Sukenik <sukenc@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2003 10:42:35 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Modern Orthodox - Ultra Orthodox

In response to Yona Goodman's query:
> I am interested in hearing people's thoughts about the main values of M.
> O.
> In Israel we have Religious Zionism. In what way are the two different?

I wanted to raise a few semantic problems and propose the beginnings of
a solution.

The Israeli terms: "Hareidi" and "Dati Leumi" have clear interpretations
relating to political parties and to the timing, extent, and/or
permissibility of army service. Party politics and army service are not
issues in chutz la'aretz. Thus porting these terms out of an Israeli
setting is difficult.

The difficulty is compounded by efforts to translate these words into
English. The term "ultra-orthodox" is offensive to many "hareidim" out
of a feeling that it connotes extremism and it is offensive to may "dati
leumi" in that it implies that hareidim are necessarily more observant
and/or faithful to halacha than those who are equally demanding in
enforcing halacha but who line up (for their own halachic reasons) on
the side of religious zionism. The more direct translation of "hareidi"
as "trembling" is at best awkward and is not likely to be perceived by
the hareidi ear as an improvement over the extremist implications of

There is a similar difficulty with the term Modern Orthodox in that it
lumps together the person who takes extreme liberty with halacha
("eating fish out") with the halachically rigorous person learning in a
kollel in YU or Merkaz HaRav or any of the hesder yeshivot. It also
seems to suggest that people in the hareidi world do not participate in
the physical aspects of our "modern" world, ranging from dishwashers to
in-door plumbing. In Israel, the term "dati" has come to mean "dati
leumi". While this has its irony in implying that a hareidi person is
not dati (religious), this is a minor issue, at worst. It does not,
however, help in the question of translation into English since it would
be problematic to apply the term "religious" exclusively to the modern
orthodox world and not to the hareidi-equivalent in chutz la'aretz.

As a start, I would propose that a better translation of hareidi is
"insular orthodox". I think this descriptor gets closer to the heart of
the real distinction in world view. I am less satisfied with using the
term "open orthodox" as its counter-point, but that's the best I can
think of.

I look forward to other people's ideas and input on these questions.

Chaim Sukenik


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 16:27:48 -0500
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodoxy

From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
>....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

Thanks for a very interesting discussion. Certainly, the four issues
noted are the four practical expressions of the ways in which the
charedi world and the MO world diverge. But I think that the overiding
philosophical issue is the one you allude to in the earlier sentence:

"...accepting that there can be any positive to progress."

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the charedim I've spoken to all seem
to accept the proposition that the farther we recede from the days of
matan torah the more we lose in knowlege and wisdom, a situation which
is fated to continue at least until the coming of the Moshiach. Not only
do we fail to progress but we fight a losing battle against the forces
of ignorance and atheism, and therefore, our only response can be to
hold tight to the practices of earlier generations which were ipso facto
closer to the origins of our traditions, and therefore, more authentic.

I believe the MO attitude is that we can learn from earlier generations
and actually add to knowledge as time progresses. I believe this is the
fundamental divergence between the two "camps" and the source of all of
the practical differences we see today. Comments?

From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy

>I am interested in hearing people's thoughts about the main
>values of M.O.
>In Israel we have Religious Zionism. In what way are the two different?

I would be of the opinion that "Modern Orthodoxy" is a much broader
category than "Religious Zionism" and is thus different than anything in

In addition to my short "answer" to Yoni's question, I'd like to pose my
own, somewhat related, question.  Does anyone else share my impression
of Israel that there are an extremely small number of "pigeonholes" that
all Jews must cram themselves into?  From my time there, I got the
impression that there were basically three... (1) Chareidi, (2)
Religious Zionist, or (3) Chiloni.  These are very narrow categories,
with fairly strictly proscribed views on such things as what political
parties you vote for, your views on working versus kollel, going to the
army, the "settlements", etc.

It seemed like there were actually quite a number of people who *didn't*
fit into any of these 3 pigeonholes, including a lot of "Anglo" olim,
but no matter how many of them there were, Israelis couldn't relate to
anyone without first cramming them into one of these 3 pigeonholes,
whether they fit or not.

It reminds me of the old joke about a car being stopped at a checkpoint
in Northern Ireland.  The soldier points his gun into the car and
demands, "Are you Catholic or Protestant?!".  The driver answers,
"Jewish".  This throws the soldier for a loop for a second, then he
demands, "Catholic Jewish or Protestant Jewish?"


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 13:07:30 -0400
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodoxy: definition

<yitz99@...> writes (slightly emended):
>There are a small number of issues that divide the MO and Charedi
>communities.  Some emphasize their significance 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 religious significance of Medinat Yisrael.
>4. Secular education.

I heard a wonderful shiur given by Rabbi J.J. Shechter at our shul last
year, in which this was the list that he gave as well - although he
spoke of #1 more broadly as the question of how the various streams of
Judaism relate among themselves. Perhaps this is whom Yitz heard?


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 06:43:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodoxy: definition

Items 2-4 (above posting) have been identified by quite a number of
major Modern Orthodox thinkers as the critical differences between what
is called Modern Orthodox and Charedi Orthodox. Rabbis Shlomo Riskin and
Saul Berman discussed this in a lecture at Lincoln Square Synagougue,
more than 10 years ago that I attended. As others have pointed out, the
Edah web site has quite a few articles that address this issue. If I
remember correctly, item 1 above was addressed somewhat differently, as
it was more the framework within which each stream approached any series
of issues such as numbers 2-4 above.

Avi Feldblum

From: Allen Gerstl <acgerstl@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 13:00:46 -0500
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodoxy: definition

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

I suggest the addition of:

5. Chumras (halacha stringencies)(I shall resist the temptation to write 
about chumras as the MJ search engine indicates numerous entries on this 
topic and I am sure that Avi would prefer to spare the bandwith)



From: Robert J. Tolchin <tolchin@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 15:40:50 -0500
Subject: Rabbinical contracts and shul bylaws

Can anyone point me to sources where I can find forms for rabbinical
contracts and shul bylaws?

[There has been discussion on this earlier in this volume, issues
between 13 and 36. Mod.]


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 11:29:45 EST
Subject: Sources for the use of "L'Chaim"

Nadine Bonner asks (v38n89) <<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?>>

The sources I consulted, that is, Ben Yehuda, Gur and Even Shoshan
dictionaries point out to "Shibolei Ha-Leket" (Berachot 140) as the
source of saying L'Chaim for a toast. Note that there were traditions to
say L'Chaim after someone sneezed and on other occasions as well.
"Shibolei Ha-Leket" was written by Zedekiah ben Abraham Ha'Rofe in the
13th century (EJ 2:939)

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


End of Volume 38 Issue 93