Volume 41 Number 86
                 Produced: Sun Jan 18  7:05:14 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Academic Status to Rabbinic Degree
         [Yisrael Medad]
Date of Yom HaShoah, etc.
         [David Olivestone]
Day School Tutition
         [Roger Jefferson]
Karaite Chanukiah?
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Meaning of NA(PLEASE)-was Akaydah order or Request
         [Avraham Etzion]
Mesorah (2)
         [Alex Heppenheimer, <chips@...>]
Murdering the language
         [c. halevi]
Parental Responsibility
         [Ira Bauman]
Tehillim according to one's age
         [Jonathan Shaffer]
Yocheved Question
         [Stephen Phillips]


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 20:50:52 +0200
Subject: Academic Status to Rabbinic Degree

I have before me a Weekly Portion sheet of a prominent Torah institution
here in Israel.  It states that it trains "young Rabbis to take the
Israeli Rabbinate's rigorous Yadin Yadin examinations [equivalent to

My questions are:
a)  as I am not a Rabbi nor a Dr., is there general agreement on this list 
that Yadin Yadin is a Ph.D. equivalent?
b)  can one truly compare a Rabbinic and an Academic degree?
c)  are the two courses of study quite different?
d)  Is Yoreh Yoreh a MA then?
e)  Is this Torah institution being fair with its donors by this promotion?

Yisrael Medad


From: David Olivestone <davido@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 12:55:06 -0500
Subject: Date of Yom HaShoah, etc.

In Vol 41 # 74, Warren Burstein writes:
>>> I asked about the date of Yom Hashoah when Nisan 27 falls on Sunday. 
Since then, I checked with someone who works at Yad Vashem, and it is
going to be postponed this year, presumably to avoid Chillul Shabbat from
people getting ready for ceremonies on Motzaei Shabbat.

Someone else told me that the authorities are discussing postponing Yom
Hazikaron (and Yom Haatzmaut) this year for the same reason.>>>

Does anyone have, or know where to get, definitive information about how
the actual day of observance of these three days is determined, or, as
seems to be the case, is it decided each year as the calendar demands?

I ask because we (the OU) are preparing an 18-year calendar of Jewish
holidays and I am looking for some elegant and brief way of saying in a
note that the actual observance of these days may vary from their actual
dates, and why. Any suggestions? (Offline, if you prefer, to

David Olivestone, Director of Communications and Marketing, Orthodox


From: Roger Jefferson <rogerjefferson1975@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 09:34:37 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Day School Tutition

I live in Silver Spring Maryland and my children go the Torah School
where tution has been raised by nearly 2000 this year to 9100 for any
kid above kindergarten. The only reduction for mulitiple kids is 200 per
kid.  The cost according to Mr. Frankel who is the adimistraive head is
only 7000 per kid which means that all people that pay full tuition
subsidies others.


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 15:42:02 +0200
Subject: Re: Karaite Chanukiah?

> On page 960 of the current facsimile edition of the Leningrad Codex,
> there is an illustration of a carpet page: 474 verso.
> This carpet page shows what, for all intents and purposes, appears to be
> a Chanukiah, with a central column and four arms on each side.
> My question is, is this illustration actually a Chanukiah, and if so,
> and given that the Karaites did not accept Chanukah, why is it present,
> and what does it mean?

As a total `am-ha'aretz looking at that image, I would say it is just a
geometric design. Without your comments, that the design is reminiscent
of a Chanukia, I would not have seen one there in a million years (but
maybe a tree or a bush).  Sorry :-)



From: Avraham Etzion <atzion@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 19:03:56 +0200
Subject: Re: Meaning of NA(PLEASE)-was Akaydah order or Request

Russel Hendel claims that 'na' is a soft sense of request. I am not
convinced that this is so. The proofs he offers are not to the
point. The point of Rashi is that God begs of Abraham to accept the
challenge of the Akeda in order rhat no one can claim he wasn't worthy
of being chosen. It was not a mitzva- command but a baqasha-
request. Whether one agrees with this or not is irrelevent. That is the
plain pshat of Rashi.

Avraham Etzion


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 09:39:58 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Mesorah

In MJ 41:77, Tovia Lent <sld11@...> asked:

>A unifying theme that started in shoftim after the first 
> generation post Yehoshua is the recurrent near universal 
> worshiping of idols with the resultant punishments meted out by
> Hashem.


> My question is how as it possible for the Mesorah to be 
> transmitted during this long period. Even the written torah was
> mostly forgotten until a hidden scroll was found By Hizkiyah. 
> What are we to think of the remembering of the Oral Law.

Several points:

1. There's actually a critical distinction between the idol worship that
took place during the era of the second Beit HaMikdash versus
earlier. You mention the backsliding during the era of the Chashmonaim,
but that involved wholesale rejection of Judaism in favor of Greek
culture, not any kind of attempt to synthesize them. On the other hand,
during the earlier era, most people who worshipped idols were otherwise
Jewishly observant; to them, avodah zarah was no worse a sin than, say,
lashon hara or talking in shul is to many people nowadays. (This is what
the Gemara (Yoma 69a) means when it tells of how the Sages successfully
"convinced" Hashem to abolish the yetzer hara for idolworship.)

2. Much of what we think of as avodah zarah - for example, Michah's idol
(Shoftim 17) and Yeravam's golden calves (I Melachim 12:28ff) - actually
amounted to worshiping Hashem in an unapproved manner, rather than
denial of His existence or worshiping another power. [In other words,
these were violations of the commandments about not making statues
(Negative Commandments 2-4 in the Rambam's Sefer HaMitzvot), but not of
the commandments to believe in Hashem (Positive Commandment 1), not to
believe in any other power (Negative 1), or not to worship idols
(Negatives 5-6).] This is why, for example, the verses in I Melachim
ibid. criticize Yeravam for, among other things, introducing a holiday
on the 15th of Cheshvan: if what he did was flat-out idol worship
anyway, would it have been any better if he set up a holiday in its
honor at the "proper" time?

3. The number of people involved in idol worship at any one time was
generally fairly small. [Thus, for example, when Yehu "invited" the Baal
worshipers to a grand assembly, they were all able to fit into one
building (II Melachim 10:21), and eighty soldiers were enough to
dispatch all of them (ibid. verse 24); note that this was not long after
the reign of Achav and Izevel, who had done more than any other royal
couple of the Ten Tribes to foster idol worship in their kingdom.] Since
"all Jews are responsible for one another" when they are able to protest
but fail to do so (Sanhedrin 27b), the Torah often gives the impression
that most of the populace was implicated in these actions. (This is also
true of other sins: thus Hashem tells Yehoshua that the Jewish people
collectively had sinned, stolen, etc. (Yehoshua 7:11), when actually it
was only one person, Achan, who had committed the crime.)

(See R' Yitzchak Isaac Halevi, Dorot HaRishonim, Tekufat HaMikra, for an
extensive discussion of this issue, with proofs from various verses in
Tanach; the above points are distilled from his arguments.)

So all told, none of this would necessarily have been a barrier to
dissemination of the Oral Law among the populace. (Strictly speaking,
anyway, when we talk about the chain of mesorah, we're referring to the
leaders of the generation, such as David, Eliyahu, Yeshayah, etc., and
their disciples. Even if it were true that all of the rest of the
population was corrupt and ignorant of Torah, then as long as they
didn't interfere with the activities of the Sages - which was indeed the
case throughout most of this era, except for the reign of Achav (in the
Ten Tribes) and the first half of Menashe's reign (in Yehudah) - the
leaders could still have sat in their "four cubits of halachah" and been
able to learn and teach successfully.)

Incidentally, it's not so clear that the written Torah had been
forgotten before the discovery of the Torah scroll during Yoshiyahu's
(not Chizkiyah's) reign. Some commentaries do explain it that way, but
others attribute the furor over the discovery to the fact that the
scroll was found rolled to Devarim 28:36, an ominous passage.

Kol tuv,

From: <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 20:17:44 -0800
Subject: Re:  Mesorah

	It is not clear what the circumstances were and what the
revelation was in regards to the Scroll found at the time of the Beis
haMikdash cleanup and refurbishing. So one can't really tell what the
level of religiosity was then, though don't forget the saying about the
children then knowing all about Taharos.

There is not a monotheistic view on what the penetration level of
`avodah zorah` was or as to what it really being referred to.  I have
heard lectures where it was maintained not that many people were
involved and the problem was that it was tolerated Others I've heard
held that the Nach should be taken at its word that it was entrenched
and widely practiced. Then there are those who say that the `avodah
zorah` was not believed but practiced as a cover for immoral behavior.

But I don't recall anyone saying that Judaism practice was
abandoned. They were able to do it side-by-side.



From: c. halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 09:36:23 -0600
Subject: Murdering the language

Shalom, All:

Someone wrote: >> "Thou shalt not kill" conveys "Lo Tirtzach" perfectly;
"You shall not kill" doesn't quite do so.<<

At the risk of beating a deceased equine, many people have noted that
"Thou shalt not kill" is a mistranslation. If we could not kill, we
could not make war or execute a murderer.  The correct translation
should be "Thou shalt not murder."

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 10:58:35 EST
Subject: Re: Parental Responsibility

> How can support to one's own child be considered anything aside from
> required maintenance?  

As a father, I can say that teaching my children the skills and values
necessary to pursue a career are very important as well as being
commanded by halacha.  Seeing them become successful and financially
independent of me is very gratifying and a confirmation that I have done
the job correctly.

I also see the support of my children as non-voluntary until a certain
point.  If however , at a certain point of their lives when their peers
are starting to earn their own living, he or she decides to adopt a
lifestyle wherupon they would be dependent on the generosity of others
(e.g. their parents) I would not be surprised if that is what halacha
would label tzedaka.  

Ira Bauman


From: Jonathan Shaffer <Jshaffer@...>
Subject: Tehillim according to one's age

Does anyone know the source/basis for saying on behalf of one who is ill
the kapitel Tehillim that matches the person's age? This seems to be a
regular practice in some Chabad shuls, but I have not seen it
elsewhere. Thanks.



From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 19:11 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Yocheved Question

In Bereishis 41:50 it says that Yosef had 2 sons "before the years of
famine came." Rashi explains (I think basing himself on a comment of
Reish Lakesh in Masseches Ta'anis 11a) that this phrase was inserted to
tell us that marital relations are not permitted during a famine.

Later on in Bereishis 46:15 Rashi, commenting on the number of the
children of Leah being noted as 33 and there being only 32 names, says
that it included Leah, the daughter of Levi, who was born as they were
going into Egypt.

I had a question on this. How come Levi continued to have children (i.e.
Yocheved) after the famine had started (it was now, in fact, 2 years
into the famine)?

I checked first in the Torah Temimah who raises this question (having
quoted the comment of Reish Lakesh). He brings Tosefos on the comment of
Reish Lakesh. Tosefos says that the prohibition only applies to one who
conducts himself "BeChasidus" [with piety] and that Yosef was just such
a person.

The Torah Temimah doesn't like that explanation because of what it says
in Devarim 33:8, "And of Levi he said, Let your Thummim and your Urim be
with your pious one," indicating that Levi was indeed a man of piety.

The Torah Temimah's own explanation is that the prohibition doesn't
apply to someone who is suffering because of the famine. Someone like
Yosef, however, who was living in the lap of luxury needed the
prohibition so that he could share the "Inui" [suffering] with his
fellow Israelites.

Then I looked at the Sifsei Chachomim on Rashi's original comment and he
gives as an explanation which is based on the comment made in Ta'anis
11a, "Childless people may have marital relations in years of famine."

I am therefore still left with a question. Levi wasn't childless; he had
Gershon, Kehas and Merari. So what does the Sifsei Chachomim mean?

Stephen Phillips.


End of Volume 41 Issue 86