Volume 39 Number 01
                 Produced: Sat Apr  5 21:16:12 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chadash Assur min Hatorah
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Davening Speed and Halachah
         [A. Krinsky]
Majority Rule in Halacha
         [Binyomin Segal]
Meut Hadorot
         [Gil Student]
Modern Orthodox
         [Binyomin Segal]
Modern Orthodox vs. Haredi and pigeonholes
         [Leah Aharoni]
Modern Orthodoxy
         [Ezriel Krumbein]
Murder 12 applies to COUNTRIES not INDIVIDUALS
         [Russell J Hendel]
National Religious
         [Shalom Carmy]
Timing Kriyat Shma
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
         [Michael Kahn]
Women learning Gemarah
         [Carl Singer]
Women learning Torah
         [Mark Steiner]


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 14:15:38 +0300
Subject: Chadash Assur min Hatorah

Most of us are aware of how the Chasam Sofer used the phrase, "Chadash
Assur min Hatorah," - the new [crop] is forbidden by Torah law - to
forbid innovations in ritual, etc.

In one of my books I mention that a recent Gadol (and I forget who)
mentioned that people seem to forget that the basic meaning of the
phrase is that the new [crop] is forbidden by Torah law ...

Shmuel Himelstein


From: A. Krinsky <adkrinsky@...>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 09:47:28 -0500
Subject: Davening Speed and Halachah

Relating to the discussion about davening speed and Tircha D'tzibura, I 
have a question.  Is anyone aware of any halachah regarding davening speed 
and the tzibur?  That is, can the Shaliach Tzibur drag the entire Tzibur 
with him?  I understand that individuals are obligated to skip parts of 
davening sometimes in order to remain with the Tzibur, but what happens 
when very few members of the Tzibur are with the Shaliach?  For example, 
what if the Shaliach gets to Yishtabach and only three or four others are 
at the same point?  Or, I have also seen cases where (even assuming people 
catch up or skip to Yishtabach) the Shaliach begins the silent Amidah with 
only three or four other members of the minyan joining him, the others 
starting a minute or minutes later.  I remember in Paris, the Rav at the 
Rue Pavee synagogue would walk around the shul to see where people were 
holding.  At first, I was so impressed, here was the Rav, showing his 
concern that I and others were far enough along before having the Shaliach 
Tzibur proceed.  Later, I realized that he was probably doing something 
else, of course--probably making sure enough people were holding far enough 
along to proceed with Yishtabach.  So, does anyone know what the halachah 
is here (and where I can find the source), for any obligation on the part 
of the Shaliach Tzibur to wait if enough of the minyan is not with him?  Is 
the Amidah not "good" if only, say, four or five of the minyan begin it 
together?  Finally, I have seen the practice of starting the repetition as 
long as six have finished the silent Amidah; is this halachically fine, or 
allowed but not ideal?  I thought that it was necessary (or only ideal?) to 
have the Shaliach with nine answering amen?

Alan Krinsky


From: <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 21:42:56 -0800
Subject: Re:  L'Chaim

> 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
> custom?

Before carrying out an execution, the sargeants of the BeisDin would
give the convicted person an alchoholic drink.  The saying of "L'Chaim"
was to show that the drink was not in preparation to be executed.



From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 18:54:23 -0600
Subject: Re: Majority Rule in Halacha

Mordechai Horowitz contends:
> Outside of the Sanhedrin their is no concept of majority rules.
> Halachic Jews don't go counting up the Rabbi's to determine what to
> follow

That is not entirely accurate. Rav Ovadia Yosef frequently uses just
such a method in his psakim. And while Rav Moshe did not resort to it
frequently he does use it occasionally. (Off hand, I think that Rav
Moshe only does it with "rishonim" while Rav Yosef does it with
"achronim" as well). Other poskim use this method as well.



From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 09:25:06 -0500
Subject: Re: Meut Hadorot

Ben Z. Katz wrote:

>The Rambam didn't believe in the notion of "meut hadorot".  He believed
>that the Talmud is authoritative because it was accepted by all Jews
>(not because the Jews then were smarter than the Jews now).  Rambam
>realized that certain aspects of human thought, eg the tendency to
>idolatry, were more of a threat in more ancient times than they were in
>his day.  See Menachem Kelner's book "Maimonides on the decline of the
>generations and the nature of rabbinic authority" SUNY 1996.

A word of caution on Kellner's book.  He never adequately defines
/yeridat ha-dorot/ and frequently fluctuates between definitions when
evaluating whether passages are relevant.

What he claims to prove is that Rashi, Ran, Rav Sherira Gaon, the
Mechaber and others hold of the concept of /yeridat ha-dorot/ while
Rambam does not.  However, I believe that this claim about the Rambam
can be readily disputed.  It is very likely that Rambam holds the view
of /yeridat ha-dorot/ due to historical reality, with the possibility of
exceptions of great *individuals* in subsequent generations.  See R'
Elchanan Wasserman's comments in Kovetz Inyanim pp. 199-200.

Gil Student


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 19:09:06 -0600
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodox

Bill Bernstein suggests an interesting dicotomy:
> A more meaningful distinction, I think, is between the way different
> people relate to the "outside world."  One camp (I guess commonly 
> termed
> chareidi although this is misleading) holds to the "am levadad yishkon"
> ...
> The other view is the "or lagoyim" view, that interaction is

My colleagues and I here in Chicago have noted in a similar vain that 
while the mishna (avos 3:18) has two statements:
1. humans, created in the image of G-d, are loved
2. jews, children of G-d, are loved more

some tend to focus on the first to the exclusion of the 2nd, and some
tend to focus on the second to the exclusion of the first.

that is that often MO seem very comfortable with the universal message
of Godliness but less comfortable with the message of uniqueness, while
charedim often seem comfortable with the uniqueness and less comfortable
with the universal.



From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2003 22:05:14 +0200
Subject: Modern Orthodox vs. Haredi and pigeonholes

1. In my opinion the best way to differentiate between the two types of
Orthodoxy is this: anyone who holds that "chadash assur min haTorah"
([religious] innovations are prohibited) can be considered charedi. The
common denominator between the Modern Orth. camp in the States and
Religious Zionism in Israel is that both communities are willing to
consider new developments in their spiritual world (such as Zionism,
torah education for women or, etc.) Thus, while MO and Dati-leumi are
far from identical, their outlook on problems presented by modernity is
very similar.

2. In his post Tzadik Vanderhoof wrote:

	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.

Currently, there is a 4th "type" of Israelis - Masorati (it comes up in
opinion poll demographics).  This does not denote Conservative but
rather "traditional", obviously a VERY subjective term.

Leah Aharoni
English/Hebrew/Russian translator
02-9971146, 056-852571


From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 00:30:31 -0800
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodoxy

>From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
>So while it is true that generally "charedim accept the proposition that
>the farther we recede from the days of matan torah the more we lose in
>knowledge and wisdom." It does not follow that we accept that "we fight
>a losing battle against the forces of [evil]". Progress against evil is
>cumulative, and while we may be making less headway now then we have in
>the past, we start where they finished.

I think this a variation on "If I have seen further it is by standing on
the shoulders of giants" Sir Isaac Newton, cited in The Oxford
Dictionary of Quotations.  I still remeber when my teacher Dr. Hurvitz
brought in a copy of the Teshuvos HaRid that had been recently published
and pulled out a quote that was very similar.  I believe the Rid was
trying to explain why felt able to argue with his predecessors.

Kol Tov


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 14:24:35 -0500
Subject: Murder 12 applies to COUNTRIES not INDIVIDUALS

Frank Zimmeriman and Akiva bring up the interesting question of whether
we can sell non-Jews guns.(v38n88)

Their basis of dicussion is Rambam Murder 12.

I would offer the suggestion that Murder 12 applies to NON JEWISH
COUNTRIES...so eg one can only sell weapons and eg steel to countries
who are using them for defensesive weapons or else who are committed to
fight for their Jewish population

I dont know that these laws apply to INDIVIDUALS. Indeed, countries have
a presumed status of eg have a "military budget" They are presumed to
use items to kill.

But individuals do not have any such status! So eg I can sell steel to
non Jewish corporations. Similarly if a non-jew purchases a gun and
states that it is for his own protection and we have no reason to
believe he is involved in murder then there is no reason not to sell it
to him.

On another vein the issue of THERE IS A SLIGHT POSSIBILITY HE IS USING
IT FOR DEFENSE has come up. The issue of minority-reasons in sales is
well established. A famous talmudic dictum states MAJORITY DOES NOT
DETERMINE SALE REASONS.  So eg Sales 16:5 gives the case where a
Merchant sold a goring ox to a person; the purchaser tried to pursue
(Because you cant use a goring ox for ploughing). The merchant won the
case since OCCASIONALLY this purchaser bought meat from him for eating.
Thus we see that MAJORITY reason does not operate in Jewish law of

I hope the above 2 points add to this discussion.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.com


From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 10:34:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: National Religious

> Has anyone noticed that while its name is the "National Religious Party"
> (NRP), it's Hebrew name is MaFDal, "Miflagah Datit Le'umit" - literally,
> "the Religious National Party"?

In Hebrew, the first word would indicate what is either more important
or more distinctive about the group.

In English, the first word is an adjective modifying the second.  In
Germany, for example there was a National Liberal party in the 19th
century and the National Socialists later on.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 14:22:46 +0300
Subject: Timing Kriyat Shma

Russell J. Hendel states:

"Using this standard we have that Kriat Shma takes exactly 100 seconds
(Since there are 209 hyphenated words in Shma (248 actual words)). Thus
I would suggest that we simply require Chazanim to allot 100 seconds for
shma (And a similar approach to davening)."

I wonder what looking at a stop watch to be sure that exactly 100
seconds have passed will do to kavanah. I just hope that Russell's
suggestion was made tongue-in-cheek.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 21:26:47 -0500
Subject: Re: Various

Re famale torah learning it was argued that:

>... try replacing "girl" by "black" and "male" by "white", and you find
>a sentence which could appear in any >Jim Crow-era Southern newspaper.

According to your logic, how do you differentiate between women sitting 
behind the mechitza and blacks sitting in the back of the bus?

>The Rambam didn't believe in the notion of "meut hadorot".

Isn't the idea of "niskatnu hadoros", in the gemara?

>Outside of the Sanhedrin there is no concept of majority rules.

Didn't the Beis Yosef write his Shulchan Aruch by following "majority rule", 
i.e. by following the majority opinion that we find between the Rambam, 
Rosh, and Tur?

>The idea that the Rav was not a gadol in his own right is apikorsus.

Is disrespect for a Torah scholar a violation of one of the 13 ikram? Isn't 
that a requirement for apikorsus?


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 13:57:41 EST
Subject: Re: Women learning Gemarah

      In this day and age, when boys and girls do all kinds of things
      together that the orthodox community objects to (including going
      on unsupervised dates, kissing, sexual relationships, eating
      non-kosher food, drugs, smoking, etc.) it seems a bit silly to get
      bent out of shape over them learning gemara together.

Although this is clever sounding -- I think this is not quite closed
logic.  The "boys and girls (who) do all kinds of things together ...."
are not reflective of those young men and women in many communities, and
any implication that girls (or young women) who learn Gemorah reflect
these other behavior traits is unfortunate.  Finally, using prohibited
behavior as a logical reason for accepting permitted behavior demeans
the latter.

Carl Singer


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 20:34:30 +0200
Subject: Re: Women learning Torah

> Does anyone *ever* question the motivations of men who want to learn /
> become observant ??  Is it ever said of any man that his reasons for
> wanting to learn are *suspect* ?

    The Talmud does this all the time--here is one of many examples:
"Anyone who studies Torah for an ulterior motive [shelo lishmah], the
Torah becomes poison [sam hamavet] for him ." [Ta`anit 7a, cf. tosafot
7a for the appropriate definition of shelo lishmah as "leqanter" meaning
"to dispute" in the sense of challenging rabbinic authority.]

Mark Steiner


End of Volume 39 Issue 1