Volume 39 Number 92
                 Produced: Fri Jun 27  5:36:03 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The 2-People-1-Glass in the Desert Incident
         [Daniel Israel]
Ancient Matrilineal/Patrilineal Family Structure (2)
         [Akiva Miller, Yisrael and Batya Medad]
A Big Mitzvah
         [Irwin Weiss]
Ethical Behavior and Halacha
         [Yakov Spil]
P'shat and D'rash
         [James Kennard]
Question re Meat and Fowl
         [Yehonatan and Randy Chipman]
Right to steal to Save ones life
         [Russell Hendel]
         [Benjamin Glicher]
Studying Chumash (2)
         [Michael Kahn, Tzadik Vanderhoof]
Textual Tanach
         [Danny Skaist]


From: Daniel Israel <daniel@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 15:08:34 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Re: The 2-People-1-Glass in the Desert Incident

> From: <rjhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
> I think the above Talmudic passage has an entirely different
> interpretation. The issue is one of possession. Since their lives are in
> danger and since they have the right to steal the water to save their
> life one position is that they should split the water (Since the
> "ownership" has been cancelled by the "danger to life" which overrides
> the law of stealing)

Respectfully, I fail to see from where we see that their lives being in
danger gives them "the right" to steal.  I agree that a threat to life
overrides a negative commandment in general (e.g. Shabbos).  But that is
not the same as a "right" to steal.  In any case, the permissibility of
stealing to save a life would be irrelevant in this case: by stealing
the water, you are effectively killing your fellow.  And we definitely
are not allowed to kill someone else to save ourselves.

Incidently, it seems to me that there is a difference between
transgressing a law between man and God to save a life, and
transgressing one between man and man.  Does anyone know what the law is
if I am starving and find myself in someone else's orchard?  What if the
person is there and specifically refuses me permission to eat?  I'm
particularly interested in how this case compares the the question of
whether danger to life is doche [pushes off] the prohibition of Shabbos,
or whether there is actually no violation in doing work to save a life
on Shabbos.

Daniel M. Israel
<daniel@...>		1130 North Mountain Ave.
Dept. of Aerospace & Mechanical		The University of Arizona
  Engineering				Tucson, AZ  85711


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 12:12:41 -0400
Subject: Re: Ancient Matrilineal/Patrilineal Family Structure

Leah Gordon wrote <<< Ms. Medad may not be aware that in nearly the
entire southern hemisphere (South America, Africa, Australia, some parts
of Asia), the traditional family structure is/was matriarchal.  Thus
one's primary ties of kinship would have been to the mother and her
brothers, and marriages were exactly "the husband joins the wife's
family...". >>>

I've always felt this to be the plain meaning of Bereshis 2:24 --
"Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and stick to his

Nothing there (elsewhere maybe, but not in this section, which describes
this most basic relationship) at all about the wife's parents, only that
the husband does leave his parents.

Akiva Miller

From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 21:51:02 +0200
Subject: Re: Ancient Matrilineal/Patrilineal Family Structure

      In college, I've learned otherwise. We were taught that
      matrilineal descent regarding legal status has traditionally been
      the norm because you always know who a baby's mother is but don't
      necessarily know who the father is.  Thus, for example, in
      slavery, I think it was the mother's status that determined the
      status of the baby.

Sorry, but how does that jive with the shvattim/tribes?  Within the
traditional Jewish People during Biblical times it seems totally
according to the father.  Wives moved in with the husband's family,
notice the grammar--plural wives and singular husband.  I'm not referring
to southern hemisphere and anthropology.  Rivka, Rachel, Leah, Tamar, 
they all joined their husbands' family.  Yosef's sons were considered
Jewish enough to establish tribes, even though their mother was
Egyptian.  When Shlomo Hamelech married too many non-Jewish women he lost
control of his progeny.  But in most cases where the descendents
continued as Jews it was because there weren't too many wives, and wives
joined their husband's family.



From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 08:15:44 -0400
Subject: A Big Mitzvah

I have a friend who frequently says, "It's a big Mitzvah" to do such and
such.  My initial reaction (which is frequently wrong) is to think, "All
Mitzvot are equal--or at least, how can we tell which Mitzvot are "big"
and which are not?"

But, maybe I am wrong.  Are some Mitzvot bigger or more important than
others, and what is the test for "big"?

Irwin E. Weiss, Esq.
Baltimore, MD USA


From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 19:47:17 -0700
Subject: Re: Duchening

> Does anyone know the reason for the cohanims' nigun sung during
> duchening?

The Cohen(ym) where I daven don't sing, though there is a lilt. 



From: Yakov Spil <yspil@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 15:36:24 -0400
Subject: Ethical Behavior and Halacha

>I was asking how could children of rich parents have thought the family
was poor. ..living like a poor person when one is actually rich, what's
the point there?<

It is necessary to clarify this point.  I do not believe the children
suffered unnecessarily in this possible scenario just so the father
could feign not being as wealthy as he actually was.  I think the point
was- the impression given to the children was there is money for the
things we need, but otherwise we have to penny pinch because there just
isn't enough to go around.  That teaches kids from a young age the value
of money, how it has to be saved, not flaunted.

I can say from my own growing up, that I am quite certain my father's
savings is quite substantial, because I knew he worked hard, but I never
did or do know the details .  But his hanhogo with us was always- there
is money to do necessary things, but just because we said we needed
something- did not mean we would get it.  We knew there had to be a
decision involved.  I am quite certain in reality this was not
necessary.  But to teach us the value of money you earn and how it must
be used properly- this was completely necessary, and it is a mida I hope
to pass on to my kids.

Thank you for helping me clarify the point better so it is clear.



From: James Kennard <James@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 13:30:33 +0100
Subject: P'shat and D'rash

David Farkas <DavidF@...> writes

      If children are to be captivated at all by Torah, and if they are
      to love Torah and think and dream about Torah as only a child can,
      they must be taught the Midrashim as Jews have traditionally been
      taught them for hundreds of years. Thus, Og was indeed a giant
      thousands of feet tall, Adam was indeed folded by God to fit into
      his grave, Yakov was indeed surrounded by quarrelling rocks that
      merged into one to support his head.  If we wish to hook the child
      when he is young, as we must, he must be encouraged to see the
      Biblical figures as larger than life, and imagine his ancestors in
      this light.

But this is not, I believe, why Hazal transmitted to Midrashim to us.
Hazal did not spend their time giving us "hooks" for young children, but
teaching profound truths of the Torah clothed in Midrashim. See, for
instance, how the Maharal analyses Midrashim to show what, he feels, is
their real meaning.

Therefore, passing on Midrashim as if they were merely records of what
happened, or as if they were hooks for children, misses their point and
misses the teachings that they convey.

Perhaps children will are not in danger of rejecting all Jewish
teachings when they reject Midrashim which have been presented to them
like fairy-tales (though I think it is a likely occurrence), but they
are certainly in danger of rejecting the Midrashim - Divrei Hazal -
whjen they reject fairy-tales.

Besides, what is wrong with our teaching of Torah if the P'shat (or, if
you insist, the P'shat as taught by Rashi) is it is not sufficient to
"hook" the child without embellisments?


From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 01:19:35 +0300
Subject: Question re Meat and Fowl

   We recently read Parshat Beha'alotkha.  One of the last verses in the
story about the quail and Kivrot ha-Ta'avah" (Num 11:33) begins: "the
meat was yet between their teeth...."  This verse is quoted by the
gemara in Hullin 105a -- the classical source for the separation between
meat and milk even over a certain time interval -- in Rav Yosef bar
Aha's response to Rav Hisda's question, to indicate that "meat between
the teeth is also called meat."

   This year, I suddenly thought of a problem with this, so obvious that
I was amazed I had not thought of it before: namely, that quail, being a
bird, is not considered "meat" on the de-oraita level but, as is well
known, is prohibited only by Rabbinic ordinance.  How, then, can it be
that this is seen to be the Torah proof text for the laws of milk and

    A cursory search (Rashi, Tosafot, Maharsha, and Torah Temimah) did
not turn up anyone who dealt with this question.

    Any ideas?
    Yehonatan Chipman

P.S.  An interesting psychological observation.  The above insight came
to me while sitting at the Shabbat table on Shabbat Beha'alotkha where,
for the first time in my entire life, I was in fact eating quail (which
has been availsble at my butcher shop for several years; it's raised at
a moshav in the northern Negev).  This illustrated something about the
relatonship between our (or at least my) thought processes and our
awareness of the concreteness of things.


From: <rjhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 22:04:13 GMT
Subject: RE: Right to steal to Save ones life

Gershon Dubin (n89) wrote concerning The 2-People-1-Glass in the Desert Incident
Russell wrote:
<<Since their lives are in danger and since they have the right to steal
the water to save their life>>
Gershon responds:
>Who said they have any such right?  In fact, the Gemara describes this
>question as one that King David asked and was answered that, for anyone
>but a king, there is no such right.

They do have the right. Danger to life supercedes ALL laws (Except 3)
and hence anyone has the right to steal to save ones life (Hence my

See Rambam Personal Torts (Chovayl OMazik) Chapter 8 for an explicit
statement on this (Note: Rambam notes that even when you steal to save
ones life you are still obligated to pay....  but the prohibition of
stealing has not been violated)

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


From: Benjamin Glicher <bagman@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 21:40:40 -0400
Subject: Shtender

Does anyone have instructions on how to build a Shtender


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 01:06:23 -0400
Subject: Re: Studying Chumash

>There is an education method, gaining
>popularity in Israel, that has the children learn the entire Chumash
>pshat before learning any m'forshim and drash.

The Brisker rov famously held that children should be taught Chumash with
poshut(simple) pshat, but that the simple pshat is Rashi!

From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Re: Studying Chumash

> From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
> Very true.  The result is that many adults never manage to untangle the
> stories, especially since male adult learning is usually gemara only, or
> mostly.  Pshat is sometimes confusing, but midrashim sometimes
> conflict/contradict each other.  There is an education method, gaining
> popularity in Israel, that has the children learn the entire Chumash
> pshat before learning any m'forshim and drash.

I would definitely welcome that!  It has always been very irritating to
me to listen to kids and even adults who clearly don't have the
slightest idea which stories and halachos are explicitly written in the
Torah and which are from the Midrash or Talmud.  I think that
distinction is vitally important to know.  It's a very valuable tool in
learning to be able to examine the grammatical details of a word in
Chumash and understand how it relates or hints to the Midrashic
interpretation.  This comes up too in the study of Talmud... often a
verse is presented alongside an interpretation but the teacher does not
really explain the grammatical roots of the connection.


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 08:39:33 +0200
Subject: Textual Tanach

<<    in adult discussion that it is awkard to try and constantly
      identify what is textual and what is midrashic overlay, I do think
      this is a major problem in the education of children in Tanach,
      where there is no distinction made. I believe it is very important
      to know what is in the text, and what is a midrashic statement.  >>

I was taught that you are not allowed to learn text only Tanach.
Textually Ruth never converted, nor showed any interest in Judaism, just
in being with Naomi.  One has the impression that if Naomi had become a
Bhudist Ruth would have followed.

In Chap 4, (verse 10 I think) Boaz announces that he married "Ruth the
Moabite".  Since it is a biblical (I think) prohibition to refer to the
origins of a convert, she must not have been a convert.  The
intermarriage was acceptable and the child was Jewish, with a Jewish
father and non-jewish mother.  So, you are not allowed to learn tanach

I am not really familiar with Artscroll, But The text I picked up
happened to be theirs.  In the translation of the pasuk Artscroll left
out the words "Ruth the Moabite".  So they also realized the
implications of the straight text.



End of Volume 39 Issue 92