Volume 42 Number 40
                 Produced: Fri Apr  9 17:15:29 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chaye Adam and Kitzur (2)
         [Larry Israel, Martin Stern]
Ester was a rape victim
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Kosher Versions of non-kosher & Reaction to Forbidden Items
         [Douglas Moran]
Punishing School students on Saturday
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Yetziv Pisgam/Ain Dorshin
         [Stan Tenen]


From: Larry Israel <VSLARRY@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 04 22:18:07 +0200
Subject: Re: Chaye Adam and Kitzur

Would have been funnier if Rav Danzig hadn't died more than fifty years
before the Kitzur Shulhan Aruch was published.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Apr 2004 06:55:21 +0100
Subject: Re: Chaye Adam and Kitzur

on 31/3/04 12:04 pm, Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...> wrote:

>> When Harav Avraham Dantzig was asked why he called his work "Chaye
>> Adam", he replied: The Shulchan Aruch had a work written on it called
>> the "Kitzur Shulchan Aruch".  I didn't want that to happen to my work,
>> so I called it "Chaye Adam."  Surely no one will write a work called the
>> "Kitzur Chaye Adam"
> Um, certainly apocryphal.  R' Avraham Danzig (1748-1820) long predated
> the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (1864).

The story probably referred to the popularity of such works as the
Kitsur Shelah rather than Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and may not have been
apocryphal after all.

Martin Stern


From: <rjhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2004 02:41:56 GMT
Subject: Ester was a rape victim

Levy and Avi (v42#36) discuss why Ester was allowed to marry
Achashveirosh (The argument being that she was obligated to die)

Avi correctly cites the Talmud that she was passive--or to use the
legally correct term--she was raped.

In commenting on this Talmudic passage I point out that "rape" does NOT
require total passivity in action (The classical example of Tosafoth is
tying someone up and throwing them on another person thereby killing
him; the thrown person is considered HELPLESS=TOTALLY PASSIVE (eg he
need not go the the exile cities for accidental murder).

Rather RAPE requires HELPLESSNESS. This is pointed out beautifully by
the Rambam who holds that DIE RATHER THEN KILL is an obligation (Other
authorities hold it to be a permission). But, continues Rambam--if the
person went and e.g. killed rather then die THEN EVEN THOUGH HE HAS
not sentenced to death because he is HELPLESS(Because he would be killed

Returning to Ester note that she DID DO things...eg she bathed in oil
for 6 months(Obviously afraid that if she didnt so bathe she might be
executed for insulting the King).

The main point is that she was HELPLESS (the alternative meant
death). In passing there is a famous Texas case where someone illegally
entered a womens apartment with a gun.  The story goes that because she
consented he put down the gun. He argued that she consented (Since the
gun was down). She argued she was raped. It is the story of Ester--the
court awarded the case to her.

I think it is important in our complex age to emphasize to women that
violence is not a prerequisite for rape---Jewish law is very clear that
women have the right to make judgements that they are about to be raped
and act accordingly.

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


From: Douglas Moran <dougom@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Apr 2004 10:18:11 -0600
Subject: Re: Kosher Versions of non-kosher & Reaction to Forbidden Items

>From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
>Steven Oppenheimer, DDS (<oppy49@...>) wrote:
> >It would seem that taking pride in detesting non-kosher items or
> >forbidden activity is not the preferred approach.  The realization
> >should be that as a Jew, alternative behavior is required of us, and we
> >act accordingly in the service of HaShem.
>When someone asks me with astonishment: "you mean you've never eaten
>shellfish?" I respond: "have you ever eaten X?" (where X varies by the
>culture of my questioner and my take a couple tries). When they say "no,
>it's disgusting", I explain that I have my own reasons for not being
>interested in eating shellfish, even when some of it looks quite tasty.
>On the other hand, I have no problem agreeing with my non-Jewish friends
>that claim eating raw clams is cause to gag.

Just a couple of thoughts on this topic:

One rabbi I know likes to tell people like that mentioned above to think
of it as a discipline, or as being similar to a dietary requirement that
one might have because of one's physiological needs.  So, for example,
people don't give you trouble when you avoid dairy products because you
are lactose intolerant.  And more similarly, people seem to understand
when folks say, "I just don't eat red meat," or "I'm a vegetarian," or
some such.  Being Kosher *is* a discipline; the only difference is,
instead of being physiologically-based, or from a choice, it's because
we hold to a set of values set out in the Torah.

My second point is this: a rabbi once told me that, as a ger, I should
be proud (and patient with my lapses), because it is so much harder for
me, who grew up eating so many non-Kosher items, to give them up, than
for him, who never once had (as he put it) a glass of milk with a
baloney sandwich.  His point was that giving something up that you
really love is a big deal.  Speaking personally, dropping most shellfish
and pork was not a problem.  Shrimp was *very* hard to give up, along
with some other types of forbidden fish (e.g., unagi, which is an eel
served in sushi restaurants and which tasts a *lot* better than you
might thing).  But the toughest thing, honestly, is separating milk and

Just my own point of view on this topic.



From: <rjhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2004 03:04:21 GMT
Subject: RE: Punishing School students on Saturday

In v42n36 the issue of punishing students on Saturday (without
necessarily having them violate major shabbath laws is discussed).

First: Let me address this from a secular point of view. American law
REQUIRES that schools accomodate religious preferences.  Clearly
punishing misbehaving students IS a legitimate part of schooling. It
immediately follows that by American law, schools must accomodate
religious students even when they are undergoing punishment.

Two other questions remain: First the issue of THEY WOULD DO IT
ANYWAY. The THEY WOULD DO IT ANYWAY argument can at most be used in
OUTREACH situations. A rabbi knows someone is not religious and invites
them over Friday night knowing that they will probably drive.  Here the
argument is that this person is estranged from Judaism and needs
closeness. Personally I dont buy this heter(permissability). My mother
for example NEVER invited people to her childrens bar mitzvahs if she
knew they would drive.

A second issue is "why not". After all there is no technical violation
of the Sabbath law.

Actually however this can be answered on two levels. The reason you cant
eg keep your grocery store open on Shabbath (and let people pay you
afterwards) is rabbinic--you may start to take notes. So too
here...going to school is a situation that naturally leads to
writing...hence it is prohibited EVEN when the specific reason for going
does not require writing.

Furthermore there is a Rabbinic obligation to be joyful on the
Sabbath. Clearly then it is prohibited to be involved in "punishment"
which by definition is contrary to joy.

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


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 09:10:39 -0500
Subject: Re: Yetziv Pisgam/Ain Dorshin

At 04:58 AM 3/31/2004, Elie Rosenfeld wrote:
>My answer is based on the famous mishnah of Ain Dorshin which indicates
>that certain very deep and inscrutable sections in the torah/tanach are
>not to be translated or taught in too open a matter.  One of these is
>the "maaseh merkava", the description of the heavenly chariot and image
>of Hashem's glory, in Chapter 1 of Ezekiel.  Now, this chapter is
>actually read as the haftarah on the *first* day of Shavuos.  Thus, as
>per Ain Dorshin, the haftarah was not *allowed* to be translated that
>day, so the meturgaman had the day off, if you will.  Therefore, at the
>haftarah on the *second* day of Shavous, we recite Yetziv Pisgam to
>re-introduce and praise the meturgaman who was conspicuously absent the
>day before!

First, I'd like to thank Elie Rosenfeld for his posting, and point out
that this response is not on Yetziv Pisgam, but rather is a response to
his comments on Ain Dorshin.

Ain Dorshin, Chagigah BT, has been the subject of my research for the
past 15 years. The phrase "Ain Dorshin" is usually translated "Do not
discuss."  The rest of the standard translation of the Mishna follows
from this title.  However, with this approach, the Gemara is hard to
understand as a commentary on the Mishna, and Rashi's comments are even
more difficult to understand.

The Mishna begins in standard translation,

"Don't teach [the laws of] nakedness (forbidden unions) among three
[people], "Nor Maaseh Bereshis between two [people], Nor [Maaseh]
Merkavah by [even] one [person] -- unless [that person] was a scholar
who could arrive at an understanding on his own."

The Gemara moves from the laws of nakedness (incest, forbidden unions)
to B'reshis, to Merkavah, and to the story of Rabbi Akiba and his Pardes

It should be noted that many of the words that produce this translation
are interpolated. The first line does not refer to "people", but rather
only to the number three.

In fact, Ain Dorshin does not mean "Do not discuss." Instead -- in order
for the Gemara and the Rashi to make sense -- Ain Dorshin should be
translated "A Discussion of No-Thing". "No-Thing" is, of course, Ain
Sof, and is a reference to Hashem/Elokim.

And the word translated "nakedness", and interpreted as "forbidden
unions" or "incest" does not appear to refer to anything sexual or
physical, but rather, appears to refer to the mathematical concept of
nakedness, i.e., abstraction without any adumbration or gratuitous
elements whatsoever.

And "dorshin" itself, when interpreted as its normal meaning, "discuss",
can be understood as a mathematical discussion when broken up into the
two roots, "dor" and "shin", i.e., "generate distinction". ("Dor" =
generation, "shin" = tooth, prong -- distinction)

Understood this way, the first line of Ain Dorshin would be better

"The discussion of No-Thing generates distinctions in threes."

To a person who does not understand geometry, and thus does not "get"
geometric metaphor, this translation is both confusing, and appears to
be at odds with the conventional translation. (But it's consistent with
the Gemara and the Rashi.)

What does it mean? It means that anything that has any structure beyond
that of a point, is a whole, and all wholes are like circles
(geometrically, metaphorically), and are defined by three points.

What does this have to do with anything? Interpreted as a logical
progression of geometric metaphors, Ain Dorshin provides the information
required to interpret B'reshit at the prophetic level, and to make use
of this meditation/experience as a Merkabah by which a qualified person
-- such as Akiba -- might reach Pardes.

In other words, what's "not to be discussed" is the use of the Sod level
(the letter-text) of B'reshit as a vehicle (Merkabah) for Pardes. This
is also what ties Ain Dorshin to Ezekiel.

Is there any confirmation for this logical approach? Yes. The Gemara
says so. In commenting on the translation with regard to not discussing
"forbidden unions" in a class of three students, the Gemara asks, "My
tama?" -- "What is the reason?"

The gemara then responds,

S'bara hu -- "It is [simply] logic," and then goes on with further
explanation, based on the standard translations.

The word for "logic" that is used here, S'bara, is spelled
Samek-Bet-Resh-Alef. This itself is a direct reference to B'reshit
(Bet-Resh-Alef.....), and Bet-Resh-Alef is preceded by Samek, "to
sustain".  In other words, the Gemara is telling us that the Mishna is
here to sustain the logic of B'reshit.

When interpreted this way -- as geometric logic -- B'reshit can be
understood as the letter-by-letter steps and stages that define the
meditation that produces the Merkabah that takes Akiba to Pardes.

Since this is geometric logic, I don't expect anyone to understand it
without seeing the geometry, and checking that the geometry produced by
this logic does what I'm suggesting it does.

You can find my logical geometric interpretation/translation of the
beginning of Ain Dorshin, and some of the geometry it produces, at

As applied to B'reshit, this logic leads to the first possible
distinction in an undifferentiated homogeneous isotropic pre-creation
"cosmic jello" (Ain Sof) in the form of an outbreath and an inbreath,
logically reduced to the huqim ("boundaries") of a point and a line.

If anyone would like to review these ideas in detail, please get in
touch with me directly and I'll walk you through them.

If you're in the NY/NJ area, and would like to be invited to a briefing
on these findings -- when we schedule one, probably just after Pesach --
please let me know via email.

If anyone would like to know "who holds by this," please ask.

If you're in the Boston/Providence area, you're welcome to attend our 
weekly "Sharon Colloquium" study group, which is currently working on Ain 
Dorshin and related materials.

Be well.



End of Volume 42 Issue 40