Volume 41 Number 44
                 Produced: Wed Dec 17  6:45:25 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Double Names
         [Josh Backon]
Good Manners
         [Kibi Hofmann]
Reasons why one SHOULD demand RESPECT
         [Russell J Hendel]
Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev
         [Issie Scarowsky]
         [Chaim Tatel]
Test of Faith (5)
         [Stan Tenen, Kenneth G Miller, Ezriel Krumbein, Kibi Hofmann,
Avraham Brot]


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Tue,  16 Dec 2003 15:07 +0200
Subject: Re: Double Names

Check the list of male and female names in the Shulchan Aruch Even
Ha'Ezer at the end of Siman 129 in Hilchot Gittin. As explained by the
Aruch haShulchan and the Beit Shmuel, many of these double names are
Kinnuyim.  These are to be distinguished from "shortened" names: Thus
Zvi Hirsch (Hirsch being a Shem Kinnuy) but Herschel would be a
shortened name.

If you look in the Beit Yosef on the TUR EH 129, you'll also see Sefardi

BTW has anyone written an academic paper using these sources ?? It's
quite a goldmine on names used from the 12th-19th centuries.

Dr. Josh Backon


From: Kibi Hofmann <kibi@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 09:38:06 +0200
Subject: Good Manners

In mail-jewish Vol. 41 #37 Robert and Elaine Sherer wrote:

><<  Are we worried about putting a stumbling block in front of the blind?
>  (They might end up being even ruder when you rebuke them)  >>
>     I don't think that qualifies as a stumbling block.

That's a very brief answer. Do you have any clearer explanation, because
it's not at all obvious to me.

The gemara in moed katan 17a prohibits a father from spanking his
"older" child since he will cause him to sin (I guess either by hitting
or cursing his father). The Rama says it means over 22 and the Ritva
says it means over 13, but the implication is a person (the child) will
end up doing something bad *even through they know it's wrong* if
provoked. So maybe we can't "provoke" people by telling them off (unless
we know they'll be receptive).



From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 14:29:49 -0500
Subject: Reasons why one SHOULD demand RESPECT

Leah Aharoni in v41n36 states:
-I think everyone is in agreement that people who devote themselves to
-rigorous Torah study are "special." The problem starts when some of them
-begin thinking of themselves as "special" and even act "special."
-this is his only purpose in life.
- There is a wide gap between the respect that should be accorded to
- people who learn Torah; and the sense of entitlement (as Carl had put
- it) of certain individual yeshiva and kollel students.

Well I certainly dont want to be quoted as disagreeing with this.  But
there is one counter-concern we should be aware of. Suppose a person who
learns Torah day and night does NOT seek special respect. Suppose
further that a 2nd person less knowledgeable than him do command respect
but are giving people poor advice.

Doesnt it become the first person's OBLIGATION to seek respect so as to
overrule the 2nd person.

Rambam hints at a similar formulation in the laws of SANHEDRIN
(COURTS). >A person should not take Judgeship office unless he knows
that others are inferior to him<

Leahs view sounds safe and secure---after all why should ANYONE want
respect for ANYTHING. The answer is, that respect is not just
personal--it is also communal. People seek respect so they can be good
effective leaders and therefore people have a right or even obligation
to seek respect when others are lesser qualified.

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


From: Issie Scarowsky <issie.scarowsky@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 10:25:18 -0500
Subject: Saying Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof Kislev

I attend an Azkenaz minyan. On Kof Kislev, as we were about to say
Tachnun, one of our members, who is a follower of Chabad, stated that it
is a custom in most Azkenazi shuls not to say Tachnun on Yud Tes and Kof
Kislef. I had not heard of this custom, nor did I find it referenced in
our luach. I would appreciate hearing from list members who were in
Azkenazi Shuls on Sunday and Monday this past week as to whether or not
Tachnun was said. Thanks.



From: Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 06:48:27 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Shaatnez

Gil Student asked: "Will the sha'atnez checkers on the list let us know
which types of clothing have an incidence rate of sha'atnez of 10% or

This website has alerts for shatnes in clothing:

Chaim Tatel
Shaatnez Inspection Service of Greater Seattle


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 18:07:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Test of Faith

>From: Michael Toben <tobenm@...>
>A question concerning the Akaidah has been on my mind for some time,
>maybe somebody can help me with it. Avraham is tested for a tenth time
>and last time. He has to prove his faith in Hashem despite the fact that
>he is instructed to do something he believes is wrong; wrong in Hashem's
>eyes, wrong morally (and Halachicly- if the Avot kept to the whole
>Torah) and emotionally. That is if he is really ready to carry out the
>absolutely absurd, evil, and revolting decree, he will have proved his
>perfect faith! I have to say this - with trepidation - that I think/feel
>that Avraham failed the test! Just as he challenged Hashem concerning
>Sdom and Amorah, he should have done the same in this case.  This would
>not have shown any lack of faith, only great strength of character to
>challenge Hashem to follow his own moral system.


The answer depends on what you understand about Torah.  If the pshat of
Torah is shorn of the other three levels, then there is indeed a moral
problem here, and your analysis is certainly worthy of serious
consideration.  But this is a secular and Christian perspective.  Our
Torah is not limited to the simple understanding alone.  There are
deeper levels.

At the deepest level, we each have to let go of our egos when we
acknowledge the infinite Infinity of God.  Letting go of our egos -- in
the extreme -- is called "ego-death", and psychologically, an ego-death
experience leads to a rebirth.  This is impossible to understand without
having the experience. It's a little like the sexual experience. It's
impossible to explain it to a person who hasn't reached puberty.  This
is why we're advised not to study the Sod level of Torah or Kabbalah
until we have had children, a steady job, have learned a bit of Gemara,
and are near the age of 40, when we can be certain to have reached full
maturity, and begun to face our own mortality.

 From this perspective -- that is, from a non-literal, non-historical
perspective -- Isaac, as Abraham's beloved son, represents everything in
the world of Abraham's future.  Isaac, as Abraham's beloved son,
represents Abraham's ego-investment.  Thus, the willingness to sacrifice
one's beloved son is a metaphor for the willingness to surrender one's
ego -- make one's self utterly bitul -- before Hashem.

Psychologically, this is the ultimate test, and the ultimate initiation.
Abraham proved he was willing to give _everything in this world_ that he
loved most dearly, simply because God asked.  He never did actually
sacrifice Isaac.  God did not want the life of Isaac to be
sacrificed. But God did want to give Abraham the opportunity to be
utterly bitul.  This is an extraordinarily high, if not the highest
possible, reward for a life well-lived in the Light of God.

If you don't understand what I've written, wait ten years and ask again. 
<big smile>


From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 20:44:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Test of Faith

Michael Toben asked <<< I think/feel that Avraham failed the test! Just
as he challenged Hashem concerning Sdom and Amorah, he should have done
the same in this case. >>>

I've heard this comparison asked before, with several answers. But the
only one that comes to mind right now is that by Sdom and Amorah, HaShem
simply told Avraham what He was planning to do, so Avraham felt free to
ask a few respectful questions. In very sharp contrast, when HaShem told
Avraham to sacrifice his son, that was a command, and to question it
would have been insubordination.

Akiva Miller

From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 00:30:32 -0800
Subject: Re: Test of Faith

I don't know if I should quote this because; "chochma bgoyim tamin,
Torah bagoyim al tamin". However, I think it gives a good answer to your
question. Alan Dershowitz wrote book called, The Genesis of Justice.  I
did not read it, but when he was interviewed about the book he quoted
President Clinton on this question. President Clinton's answer was that
in the case of Sdom Hashem invited Avrohom to the discussion therefore
he could give an opinion in the case of the Akeida Hashem gave him a
command to follow. It would not have been appropriate in that situation
to argue.

I think you make a mistake to describe the decree as revolting.  We are
commanded not to do it (Human sacrifice).  However what determines, in
Judaism, what is pleasing and what is revolting is the will of Hashem.

There are other instances of a navi commanding people to do what would
otherwise be an averah. Eliyahu on Har HaCarmel violated shechutei
chutz, the prohibition against offering a sacrifice outside the Beis
Hamikdash after the building of the Beis Hamikdash in Yerushalayim.  In
Milachim I chapter 20:35 a navi tells someone to hit him. The other
person is punished for not listening to the navi. Also Hashem tells
Hoshea to marry an unfaithful woman. There may be other.  These come to
mind right away.

Sure all of these instances are difficult to understand.  Just by saying
that Hashem knows better does not make it seem more logical. But that is
all probably part of the idea of free will and our struggle to become
better servants of Hashem.

Kol Tov

From: Kibi Hofmann <kibi@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 09:01:23 +0200
Subject: Test of Faith

I think there is a clear difference between the Akeidah and the story of
pleading for Sodom. In Bereishis 18:20-21 Hashem does not command
Avraham to do anything, He simply informs him of how great the sin of
Sodom is and that He intends to "see to it". Avraham was free to act
however he felt to that news, but it seems likely the information he was
given was supposed to spur him to argue *for* the people of Sodom
(otherwise why bother telling him at all?) Similarly Hashem told Moshe
he was angry with the Jews for the sin of the Calf and he was going to
destroy them, so that Moshe could start arguing for them. It's a bit
like (lehavdil) a man who gets angry and says "If you don't hold me back
- I'll kill that guy!" - he doesn't really want you to say "OK, I'm not
holding you back".

With the Akeidah, Avraham received a clear, unequivocal instruction (at
least as far as bringing Yitzchak to the altar was concerned, the actual
neck-slicing was only implied...) so Avraham wasn't being asked his
opinion, he was being given an order. There is no indication that Hashem
was interested in an argument at that point.

Also, I'm not sure how reasonable it is to suggest that Avraham would
argue against Hashem to "challenge Hashem to follow his own moral
system".  Avraham had reasoned his way through to the existence of G-d,
and presumably reasoned out the mitzvos (Hashem's own moral system) by
some deep thinking process we can't duplicate. Still, his basis for
moral imperatives would still be that "Hashem wanted it so". If Hashem
stated that He wanted it the other way, it was Avraham's job to change
his view, not try to fix the facts to fit the theory. I am not heaven
forbid suggesting this was easy - it was after all arguably the greatest
test in an incredibly great man's life. Still, if we are going to take
sides, I'd say, for whatever my opinion is worth, Avraham got it right.

AFAIK the argument for Sodom is not counted as one of the trials of
Avraham. Perhaps it wasn't such a difficult thing for him to always
argue *for* life - it fit in well with his philosophy. Having to do
something you can't easily explain away - that's the leap of faith.


From: Avraham Brot <abrot@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 11:54:21 -0500
Subject: Test of Faith

I have long thought about the question raised by Michael Toben about the
Akeda. My thoughts are that the Torah says that Hashem tested Avraham,
but it doesn't say what "grade" he received. I believe that had Avraham
challenged Hashem outright, based on moral grounds, and Hashem's
promises to him, he would have received an "A". On the other hand, had
he refused or ran away (like Yonah) he would have received a failing
grade. I believe that Avraham's response earned him a grade somewhere in

In support of this view is the fact that Hashem did not speak to Avraham
directly to tell him that he should not, in fact, kill Yitzhak, but sent
a Malach instead. Also, the command to perform the Akeda is the last
time that the Torah reports that Hashem spoke to Avraham. I interpret
these two facts as signifying that Avraham was somewhat "downgraded"
following his response.

Avraham's greatness is clear and I am not trying to take anything away
from him. But I believe that the "test" proved to Hashem that several
more generations are needed before Matan Torah.

Avraham Brot
Petah Tikva


End of Volume 41 Issue 44