Volume 42 Number 62
                 Produced: Wed May  5 22:53:35 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chasidim and Non-Kosher Animals
         [Tzvi Stein]
Chassidim with dogs
         [Irwin Weiss]
Listening to Music the Whole Year
         [I. Balbin]
Not mourning excessively
R. Akiva and Bar Kochva
         [Alex Heppenheimer]
Soviet Jewry / and Rabbis
         [Elazar M Teitz]
Soviet Jewry issue
         [Irwin Weiss]


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 00:27:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Chasidim and Non-Kosher Animals

I have heard of this chasidish aversion to "non kosher animals" but it
doesn't make sense to me.  Surely in Europe, chasidim had contact with
horses, which are non-kosher.


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Subject: Chassidim with dogs

In response to several inquiries.....
1) I live in Baltimore.
2)One family follows R. Menachem Goldberger (who's Rebbe was R. Twerski,
I think)
3) The other family, I am not sure...


From: I. Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 09:16:56 +1000
Subject: Re: Listening to Music the Whole Year

> From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>

> Personally, I never understood R. Moshe's logic of assuring music
> during the whole year, because it would seem then that the halacha of
> not listening to music during sefire and the 3 weeks would not makse
> sense.  I'd appreciate if anyone knows the explanation for this.  >

I am not sure what you want from Reb Moshe per se.  Tzvi actually has an
issue with the Mechaber.  Reb Moshe Paskens like the Mechaber and
against the Ramo.  Reb Moshe does this (if my memory serves me
correctly) because of a question he has on on the Gemoro/Rambam which
doesn't fit into the Ramo.  (Incidentally, I later found an answer to
this question in one of the lesser known Meforshei HoRambam).

Leaving that aside: Tzvi's question is, if not listening to Music is
required as a Zecher L'Churban practice, how can we have a practice not
to listen to Music during the 3 weeks as a Zecher L'Churban
practice. For one, there are other things we do in the 3 weeks, but in
addition, certainly the Mechaber knew that there were opinions which
held that you may listen to music. It's like saying, according to those
who hold that you can't touch your beard, how come there is a Mishna
called Eilo Megalchin. It is practice in Yerusholayim to have weddings
which have just voice+drums as the music, Zecher Lechurban, as
above. During the 3 weeks, they wouldn't have weddings at all. It is
quite easy to extend one's level of mourning (whatever form that takes)
from the Zecher LeChurban of a full year (if you hold by that) to extra
for the three weeks (and indeed extra for the 9 days and extra for Tisha
B'Ov itself).


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 22:10:36 -0500
Subject: RE: Not mourning excessively

Shalom, All:

On the topic of mourning excessively and whether we should ban music
year-round, I wrote of Rabbi Yehoshua's words -- >>that just as it is
impossible not to mourn for the Bayt Hamikdash (Temple), it is
impossible to mourn too much, because it is forbidden to impose a
hardship upon the tzibbur (community) that the community may not

Tzvi Stein replied, >>Nevertheless, we do find that certain mourning
practices for the Destruction of the Temple do apply year-round, such as
leaving a part of one's house unfinished (one square tefach).  So it
becomes a question of "where do you draw the line?"<<

The "line in the sand" answer according to R. Yehoshua (in the Talmud
Yerushalmi) apparently is that we limit our mourning to such gestures as
leaving a tiny part of one's house unplastered, leaving out a small
ingredient in a feast and, in a woman's case, not putting on all her
ornaments. (I won't pretend I know this by heart: I'm quoting the Sefer

It appears that just as R. Yehoshua told people who were mourning for
the Bayit Shayni (Second Temple) they should not refrain from eating
meat, drinking wine or eating bread, and just as he told them the above
cited approved methods of mourning for the Bayit Shayni, **he did not
prohibit music during the course of the year.**

Therefore I remain puzzled by those who say we should never listen to
music, due to mourning for the Bayit Shayni.

[See Isaac's submission above, Halacha is determined by how the Mechaber
and Ramo pasken (and the entire responsa process) not by ones
undertanding of an incident in the Talmud. One can discuss whether the
difference of opinion between different poskim is related to their
understanding of one gemara vs another, but there is nothing to be
puzzled about those who hold one should never listen to music due to
mourning for the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. It is based on a
Gemarah, it is brought down in the major compilation of halacha and
discussed in the responsa literature. The opposing opinion (that there
is no general ban in practice) also has it's basis in the major
compilations of halacha and the following responsa literature. Mod.]

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Tue, 4 May 2004 12:23:08 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: RE: R. Akiva and Bar Kochva

In MJ 42:60, David Eisen <davide@...> asked a number of
questions about R' Elazar ben Azaryah, the famous Seder in Bnei Brak,
the deposition of Rabban Gamliel and elevation of R' Elazar, and so

Different historians would doubtless give different answers to his
questions. The answers below are based on R' Yitzchak Isaac Halevi's
(RYIH) analysis, in his historical work Doros HaRishonim.

>A.  During what decade did the famous Seder in Bnei Beraq take place?

>B.  During what decade did the succession struggle take place in
>Yavne between Rabban Gamliel and R. Elazar Ben Azarya (REBA)?

RYIH places the Seder around the year 82 and the succession struggle
about two years later. He works backwards towards this as follows:

* An external (Christian) source records a short persecution of Jews in
the year 86. RYIH identifies this as the time when Turnus Rufus (the
Roman governor of Eretz Yisrael) plowed under the site of the Beis
HaMikdash and threatened Rabban Gamliel with execution (Taanis 29a), and
therefore also as the time when the Sanhedrin was forced to leave Yavneh
and move to Usha (Rosh HaShanah 31b).

* The period that began with R' Gamliel's deposition and ended with his
restoration lasted a couple of years. (The Mishnah and Gemara
consistently call it "bo bayom" ("on that day"), which would imply that
it all took place in one day; but RYIH marshals evidence to prove that
this is impossible, and hence that the phrase "bo bayom" must mean more
broadly "during that period.")

* Rabban Gamliel was deposed after the third time when he had publicly
clashed with R' Yehoshua. The Gemara (Berachos 27b) states that the
first incident, involving the date of Yom Kippur (Rosh HaShanah 25a-b),
had occurred the previous year. Hence, these three incidents spanned a
period of between one and two years.

* By this time, R' Eliezer was no longer in the company of the other
Sages, following the incident described in Bava Metzia 59b. (Note that
his name is not mentioned in the events surrounding the succession
struggle, or indeed in either of the previous two incidents with Rabban
Gamliel and R' Yehoshua.) Hence, the Seder in Bnei Brak must have
occurred earlier.

* The proximate cause of the dispute involving R' Eliezer was that he
felt that the normal "majority rule" shouldn't apply under the
circumstances. This would presumably have been at a time when the normal
complement of Sages were unable to assemble, and in turn, this points to
the period after Domitian became emperor (Sept. 81) and threatened to
issue genocidal decrees against the Jews. (Titus was no tzaddik either,
of course, but he was suffering during his rule from a gnat pecking at
his brain (Gittin 56a) and was therefore relatively harmless.)

So in short, according to this reconstruction, the sequence of events
would have been roughly as follows:

80-81: Rabban Gamliel, R' Yehoshua, R' Eliezer, and R' Akiva travel to
Rome to plead the Jews' case before Titus. (Their trip is mentioned
somewhere in Sifri, if I recall correctly. It should not be confused
with a later trip, mentioned in Sukkah 41a, when R' Eliezer was replaced
by REBA; according to RYIH that took place after Nerva's accession in
Sept. 96, shortly before Sukkos.)

Sept. 81: Domitian becomes emperor. Sages, seeing the danger, return to
Eretz Yisrael and disband most of the Sanhedrin, keeping only a
"skeleton crew" on hand.

Pesach 82: The leading Sages have their Seder in Bnei Brak.

Spring or summer 82: R' Eliezer clashes with the other Sages concerning
the issue of majority rule, and is expelled from their company.

Tishrei 82: Rabban Gamliel and R' Yehoshua argue about the dates of Rosh
HaShanah and Yom Kippur; R' Yehoshua defers to Rabban Gamliel.  (Had R'
Eliezer still been around, he might have been able to mediate the

Sometime in 83: The incident with R' Tzadok's bechor (Bechoros 36a).

Sometime before fall 84: The incident concerning Tefillas Arvis
(Berachos 27b-28a). Rabban Gamliel is deposed and R' Elazar ben Azaryah
is nominated as his replacement.

84-86: The doors of the Beis HaMedrash are thrown wide open, and
everyone gathers to help finalize various issues previously left open.
Eventually, Rabban Gamliel reconciles with R' Yehoshua and is restored
to his position.

86: The Romans force the Sages to leave Yavneh and relocate in the

>C.  If REBA became the Nasi of the Sanhedrin after the decade of the
>years 70 - 80, how could he have been only 18? After all, he was an
>adult prior the Hurban - see TB Shabbat 54b and especially Tosafot
>al atar.

RIH addresses this issue as well. He argues that the plain meaning of
the Gemara there doesn't require us to assume that he was an adult
before the Churban: supposing that he was still a child and that his
guardian, acting on his behalf, separated 12,000 newborn calves as
maaser beheimah, the point would still be valid - that he was extremely
rich and had a lot of cattle.

>D.  With respect to REBA's statement in the Hagada of "Amar REBA,"
>some girsaot read Amar LAHEM REBA," i.e., attributing the statement
>that is quoted in the Mishna in the first Pereq of Berakhot as
>having being said at that famous Seder.


>Could the mahloqet concerning this girsa relate to this chronological

Well, according to RYIH's analysis above, this couldn't be valid: the
Seder would have taken place some two years before REBA's miraculous
change of beard color. But even if we don't accept this particular
reconstruction, I find it a little difficult to see how it would be
possible to say that the Seder occurred at the same time as REBA's
elevation: it's clear from the Gemara's retelling of the events that R'
Eliezer wasn't around during any part of the succession struggle (note,
for example, that his name wasn't placed in nomination), so that alone
suggests that the two events happened at different times.

I confess that I don't have any proper answers to Mr. Eisen's last
three questions.

Kol tuv,


From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 21:24:00 -0400
Subject: Re:  Soviet Jewry / and Rabbis

Under this heading, the comment was made:

> I think that all of the efforts, from the behind the scenes efforts of
> Chabad and the Rebbe and the mainstream efforts of Birnbaum, and the
> more radical efforts worked together synergistically, and actually
> achieved the goal.  In that sense, it was K'lal Yisrael, working
> together.

It elicited the following response:

> major historical error.  the main opponents of an activist struggle
> were the Rebbe and Rabbi E. Teitz.  they tried to halt anything
> "public", demos, petitions, rallies, etc.  No talk of emmigration.  No
> targeting Russian officials.

        The reference to "Rabbi E. Teitz" is only partially correct.
The family name is right, but it wasn't Rabbi E.  It was my father,
HaRav Pinchas Teitz z"l, whom the writer meant.  His position, too, is
presented in an only partially correct manner.  He was in favor of the
protests and demonstrations of SSSJ.  He felt, however, that those
considered leaders of the American Jewish community, and most especially
rabbanim, should not be part of such activities, because of the adverse
effect it had on the Jews in the Soviet Union, and on their ability to
conduct a semblance of Jewish life.

        He made his first trip (of 22, in 20 years) in November 1964,
for the express purpose of seeking to determine what effect American
demonstrations would have on Soviet Jews.  In his subsequent trips, he
was able to open channels for supplying the essentials of conducting
Jewish life: siddurim, chumashim, taleisim, t'fillin, m'zuzos, arba'ah
minim.  He was instrumental in the beginning and the expansion of the
t'shuva movement behind the Iron Curtain, giving spiritual and material
assistance on a broad and unpublicized scale -- unpublicized, since he
was keenly aware that publicity would mean the end of his effectiveness.

        He distinguished between activities which could help Soviet Jews
and those whose main function was to give their participants the feeling
that they were contributing, though it might even be counterproductive.
A case in point: the main event in Moscow Jewish life was the
celebration of Simchas Torah in the Moscow choirsynagogue, essentially
the only one in operation in those days.  It was an occasion for Moscow
Jewry, especially the young, to come and identify as Jews.  When
announcement was made of a rally to be held in New York on Hoshana Rabba
"in sympathy with the Soviet Simchas Torah event," he pointed out to the
organizers that they were giving the Soviets justification for
cancelling the gathering in Moscow, on the grounds that it was being
utilized abroad for anti-Soviet propaganda.  An advertisement in the New
York Times, pleading for its cancellation, was placed by him and by
HaRav Moshe Feinstein z"l, who was in agreement with my father's
position on demonstrations.

        (If anyone is interested in learning about his activities behind
the Iron Curtain, there is a fascinating and detailed description in his
biography, "Learn Torah, Live Torah, Love Torah," by my sister, Dr.
Rivkah Teitz Blau.)

Elazar M. Teitz


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Subject: Soviet Jewry issue

WIth regard to Yisrael Medad's comments, as follows:

    My prior comment: I think that all of the efforts, from the behind
    the scenes efforts of Chabad and the Rebbe and the mainstream
    efforts of Birnbaum, and the more radical efforts worked together
    synergistically, and actually achieved the goal.  In that sense, it
    was K'lal Yisrael, working together.

His response: major historical error.  the main opponents of an activist
struggle were the Rebbe and Rabbi E. Teitz.  they tried to halt anything
"public", demos, petitions, rallies, etc.  No talk of emmigration.  No
targeting Russian officials.

My rejoinder: I was wrong on several accounts: 1) The rally with the
arrests was 1971, not 1970 as I noted.  (Tough to remember 33 yrs ago).
2) I stated that it was several elements working together to achieve the
goal, and I left out the most important element-------the hand of

I certainly cannot compete with Yisrael's personal knowledge of the
leadership. This was a grassroots movement, with great leadership, and I
was a mere blade of grass.  I claim no personal knowledge of strategy or
anything significant. I was 17 when I was arrested.  I did not belong to
JDL, Chabad, or any other major organization.

But, I do think that the success was achieved through many types of
efforts, and while Chabad and JDL and SSSJ may not have met and planned
together, their efforts were joint in the sense of the common elements
of the goal.  As we say on Rosh Hashanah: V'yei'asu chulam, Aguda Achat,
La'asot R'tzoncha, B'levav Shalem.---May we all work together, as one
entity, to do G-d's will, with a complete heart.  (I apologize for the
rough translation and also for the transliteration, which I am very bad
at doing).



End of Volume 42 Issue 62