Volume 40 Number 31
                 Produced: Tue Aug  5 11:20:45 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Batei Dinim (2)
         [Michael Kahn, Avi Feldblum]
Bnei Efrayim
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
B'tai din and surrounding issues
         [Shraga Rubin]
         [Joshua Seidemann]
Language and Communication
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Sabbatical Salutations
         [Carl Singer]
Three Shavuot
         [Daniel Gross]
Yoav's father
"Young Lion" Translations
         [Ari Trachtenberg]


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 00:25:12 -0400
Subject: Re: Batei Dinim

>Even though it might be lashon hara, does she have an obligation to
>make sure that nobody else is victimized by a corrupt system?

Recently, The New York Times has reported that a New York City family
court judge has been taking bribes for years from parties whose cases he
was presiding over. My father pointed out to me that people complain of
the Bes Din system so the go to secular courts. But we clearly see that
corruption exists in the secular courts. Many times its not that Batei
Dinim are corrupt but that people don't like the hallachos they are

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 03:00:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Batei Dinim

Re: What Michael Kahn wrote [see above]:

That corruption exists pretty much everywhere is likely a given, so the
arguement above is in my opinion basically meaningless. The fundimental
question that was brought up by the previous poster is how widespread or
isolated the problem is, and whether there is a mechanism for
controlling it if problems are found. Both via the media and the
appelate court system, there are mechanisms for dealing with an unjust
court or decision in the American legal system. Does similar safeguards
exist is the US Beis Din system?

Avi Feldblum


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003 22:14:19 +0200
Subject: Bnei Efrayim

Binyomin Segal writes:
      The Satmar Rav (actually the medrash itself) blames their failure
      and death on the fact that they violated the shvuos.

i don't think so.
a)  the Gemara in Sanhedrin 92B places the blame on the fact that the
Bnei Efraim (whose bones Yechzkel revived) "manu laketz v'ta'u", that is,
they miscalculated the years of the Egyptian Exile and left too early.
b)  there are several other candidates to be identified as to whose bones
were revived but none of the reasons have to do with the Vows.
c)  in my edition of "VaYoel Moshe" (1961), there is no reference in the
index to this page of Sanhedrin but I haven't flipped through all 372

Yisrael Medad


From: <BaalHaIkvei@...> (Shraga Rubin)
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 07:04:00 -0400
Subject: B'tai din and surrounding issues

In MJ49v27, Robert J. Tolchin wrote:

Without being familiar with the case in point at all, I believe that
Mr. Tolchin is confusing the tragic problem of an aguna with other,
non-related issues.

"> 4.  Assuming that all the wife's allegations are true, to what extent is
> she permitted to discuss the situation with a reporter who is planning
> on writing an expose that will bring the rabbis, Bobov, and her husband
> into disrepute? Even though it might be lashon hara, does she have an
> obligation to make sure that nobody else is victimized by a corrupt
> system?"

How does the obligation to rectify the Bobov or even Orthodox community
judicial system- an internal matter relative to where much of the world
stands- give one the right to go to a secular newspaper, who will twist
the facts as he sees fit to write a juicy story, and will not take into
account the halachos of aguna and bais din, but rather look at it from a
modern liberal twenty first century American point of view, and this is
the story that will be passed on to millions of readers- who are
Orthodox and non-Orthodox, Jewish and non-Jewish.  To go the police/
civil authority if bais din can't respond is one topic to discuss, but
how can one respond to a problem by suggesting to cause a massive
chillul Hashem? 

> 5.  What obligation does a married woman who knows her husband is
> philandering have to go to a mikvah each month?"

What does one have to do with the other?  If they are still living
together (as he is allowed to have two wives, me'de'oraisa), how can she
be machshil him into a cheyuv karais?  And even without him, it's a
cheeyuv karais on herself as well.  Why would she want to do that?  What
does that have to do with other misdeeds? 

>" 6.  She claims her children won't talk to her because of what she has
> done to her husband and because she went to secular court for a divorce.
> How does this square with kivud av ve-aim?"

Who said that they are justified, but what does this have to do with a
bais din problem?  How is this different from children failing to talk
to their parents for any reason in the world?

Shraga Rubin


From: Joshua Seidemann <quartertones@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 05:51:32 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Caleb

Does anyone have an inkling as to why the name Calev is not used
popularly (I don't think I've ever met one, except maybe a Caleb in the
mid-west)?  Through Chumash and Rashi he seems to come across as an
estimatable character.  Is it because the non-vowelized consonants would
also spell "kelev?"


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003 22:00:38 +0300
Subject: Re: Language and Communication

 Jay F Shachter <jay@...> objects to Bob Tolchin's statement.

"The point of language is communication."

Jay relates to this statment *as if* Bob had written

"The exclusive function of language is to communicate previously unknown
factual information"

and goes on to refute this patently more extreme statement.

It seems clear to me that one can communicate emotions and social
niceties, as well as factual information. I don't see why this
constitutes a "redefinition" of communication which, in Jay's words

> impairs your ability to use language to make meaningful distinctions.

Jay further writes

> No one who actually observes how language is used could possibly believe
> that "the point of language is communication".  That people can believe
> such nonsense is impressive evidence of the power of language, the only
> mechanism whereby we can believe things that are contradicted by our
> senses.

This obviously bombastic statement seems to me to apply only, if at all,
to the way I suggested above that Jay understands the statement "the
point of language is communication". A simple broadening of what may be
considered the subject of "communication" renders Bob's statement
entirely unobjectionable. It certainly is in no way in the realm of

Jay's intemperate language and tone of superiority and ridicule bothered
me.  Thanks to both the participants and the efforts of the moderator,
discussions in Mail-Jewish are distinguished by a high level of
discourse, and of mutual respect among posters. Participants often
disagree, sometimes sharply, but very rarely resort to the type of
denigration of other postings we see in Jay's communication. I
personally found Bob's exposition well-written, cogent, and convincing,
but even if I didn't, I would not think the language of Jay's attack on
it appropriate.

Saul Mashbaum

[There were a few similar emails sent in, Saul's was well written and to
the point, so I have sent this in. I will use this to remind people that
it is a good idea to try and reread your submission before you send it
in, and especially if it one that people may take in a manner that is
not in accord with the atmosphere we want to keep here. I try and
maintain a certain level here, but will tend to err on the side of
letting things out to the list and letting list members respond at times
(it helps keep me on track as to what members of the list want or don't
want, rather than just my feelings on the matter. Mod.]


From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 07:04:29 -0400
Subject: Sabbatical Salutations

>When I say "Gut Shabbos" to someone I mean something
>very specific, I wish you a good Shabbos.  I say this for a variety of
>reasons: to affirm that I keep Shabbos, to affirm common group
>membership, to differentiate myself from those who say "Shabbat Shalom"
>like the Reform and Conservative in town.

Since the Reform & Conservative synagogues in our town (Passaic, NJ) are
not proximate to my Shabbos locales, I can't speak for that --- but this
differentiation point may well be specific to certain communities

[This is another submission that generated a number of replies. I
understood Bill to be making a statement only about the specifics of his
locale. Clearly in many other places (including any place I have lived
in), Gut Shabbos, Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom may all be used basically
interchangeably within the halachic community. If there is anyone from
Bill's locale on the list who would either confirm or deny Bill's
assertion, that could be of value to post. Those posts that have come in
saying that they are religious and they use the terminology "Shabbat
Shalom" I will allow Carl's posting here, along with this comment, to
publically state that in many / most locations, Shabbat Shalom is likely
an acceptable greeting within the Orthodox Jewish community. Mod.] 

   When someone says "Shabbat Shalom" to me, he's usually an Israeli --
some say it derech hagav, others to make a point.  .... I wonder what
point is being made by the frum Jews in town who simply don't answer at
all -- silence can be a very loud form of communication.

When I lived in Philadelphia (approx 20-25 years ago) our shule had a
number of Israeli families, mostly university faculty on various short
term assignments at Penn.  As Iraeli's many said "Shabbot Shalom" -- in
a quid pro quo as my friendship evolved with one of them, he and I
"switched" only in greeting each other.  He would say "Gut Shabbos" to
me and I, in turn, would say "Shabbot Shalom" -- and we each would
revert back to our "home" greeting as we spoke with others.  That I
remember this 2 decades perhaps points out how important something a
simple as a greeting can be.

In Edison, our next door neighbor, a non-Jewish Italian always said
"Good Shabbos" to all of us as we walked past his home (he lived a few
doors from the shule and thus many of us walked by.)

Nowadays my walk home from shule takes me partly along a main street and
there will be non-observant Jews shopping along same.  Some will greet
me with a "Good Shabbos" and I think that it is most important to
respond in kind.

Carl Singer


From: Daniel Gross <gross@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 12:29:42 -0400
Subject: Three Shavuot

Hi all, 

I am new to this list. Just thought to add my "2 cents" re the 3 shavuot:

I remember a lecture on "meta halacha" by Rabbi Benjamin Hecht (of
Nishma: www.nishma.org) given here in Toronto. During his lecture Rabbi
Hecht discussed halachic methodology and as an example cited the gemara
of the 3 shavuot:

A key question he raised was whether "the shvua that Gd has sworn in
Israel" should be considered an aggadic text or a halachic text. If it
is in fact aggadic text then based on the meta halachic rule that one
does not learn halacha out of aggadic text it may be that these shavuot
may actually not be the basis for a halacha lemaase.

I am also wondering. In case we do consider the midrash text to reflect
a halachic ruling, what status would the "3 shavuot" halacha have:
Deoraita, Derabanan, an injunction miphi Haneviim, halacha lemoshe

As a side comment: The text in Ketubot starts with a little story that
Rav Zeira avoided Rav Yehuda since Rav Yehuda disapproved of his wish to
move to Israel (according to rashi). The gemara explains that this was
because Rav Yehuda held everyone going to Israel "over ase" because of a
pasuk in Yirmia.

Does Rav Zeira agree with Rav Yehuda but is willing to be "over" an
"ase"?  Does he disagree with Rav Yehuda as perhaps suggested by the
gemara stating that Rav Zeira learns other things from the passuk in

Finally, also, what type of "ase" is being alluded to by the passuk in
Yirmia? Is it a mitzvat ase deorita (such as lulav, matza), or is it a
horaat shaa (mipi neviim). Note also Tosaphot tells us that the Passuk
in Yirmia is said for Galut Rishon but explains that the passuk also
applies to Galut sheini. Is this because its also Babel (as explicitly
stated in the passuk) or is it any other Galut from then on. Could
tosaphot have told us that?



From: <nzion@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 13:00:19 +0300
Subject: re: Yoav's father

Dear All

In Divrei Hayamim I 4:14 we have Serayah having a son named Yoav. I
recall a source that this is Yoav ben Tzruyah and his father's name was

>       The situation is further intriguing in that nowhere are we told
>       what Yoav's father's name was.
> was it not Nachash?
> Yisrael Medad


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003 22:51:34 -0400
Subject: "Young Lion" Translations

A friend recently showed me an interesting translation in the NCSY
bencher.  In the last paragraph of birkhat hamazon, the phrase "k'firim
rashu vra'evu vdorshey h' lo ichseru kol tov" is translated "Even young
lions suffer want and hunger, but those who seek the Lord will not lack
any good thing."

Now, it is true that one translation of "k'fir" is a young lion, but
isn't a more straightforward, if less politically correct, translation
from the word kofer (i.e. one who doesn't believe in G-d): "unbelievers
become poor and hungry, but those who seek the Lord will not lack all

Does anyone know the source for the NCSY bencher translation?



End of Volume 40 Issue 31