Volume 43 Number 35
                    Produced: Thu Jul  8  5:25:58 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Avot and Torah laws
Halacha & the Political Process
         [Michael Rogovin]
         [Nathan Lamm]
Roshei Yeshiva/Pulpit Rabbis
         [Joel Rich]
Stripes on the Tallis
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
What we say during Hagba
         [Eli Delman]
Yahrzeit Program For Hannah Rachel Werbermacher
         [Yael Levine Katz]


From: Rephael <raphi@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 06:17:31 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Avot and Torah laws


Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...> asked:
> The interesting drash refered to by one of the posters that the milk
> was absorbed in the udder, and therefore is not subject to the issur
> of meat and milk is brought down, but I cannot remember where that is
> from. Anyone has the source?

It's a Mishna in Chulin. See Chulin 109A (bottom) and the discussion in

Rephael Cohen


From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 09:28:05 -0500
Subject: Halacha & the Political Process

I have refrained from replying to S Spiro's comments on my post until
now but I feel I must respond, hopefully respectfully.

>  > The halachic question of whether or not giving up any part of Eretz
>  > Yisrael has been hijacked for quite sometime by the Gush Emunim
>  > movement, among others in the religious settler camp (and its
>  <hijacked> is a loaded word, and carries the connotation that Rav Tzvi
>  Yehudah Kook ztz"l and his followers were insincere in their ideology

yes it is and was intended to convey the idea that some want their
opinion to be the only viewpoint that is acceptable discourse and that
any other view is a corruption of halacha, from politics etc., as was
implied by the original post that got us started. They may be sincere in
their beliefs, but to suggest that *only* those whose views are
different (or those who reconsider a matter based on changed
circumstances) are influenced by extra-halachic considerations while
they are not is an example of attempting to hijack or monopolize the
halachic process (imho).

>  Rav Soloveitchik's z"l and Rav Ovadia Yosef's, yobodel lehayim arukhim
>  piske din were rendered before Oslo.  

True. And the basic halachic rationale opposing withdrawal from disputed
lands was also given before Oslo. Post-Oslo events may have reinforced
the beliefs of those who felt halacha was on their "side" but it doesn't
change the halachic theory. The statement I responded to was that it was
prohibited to give up any part of the land of Israel. It was the
absoluteness of the claim which I disputed, not that there were
circumstances when one should or should not do so. 

>  But more to the point.  In the classical cases of pikuah nefesh, the one
>  that determines wheter a person is likely to die if a halakhah is not
>  violated is the expert, in most cases the doctor.  In the case of
>  Medinat Yisrael, the experts are the military,NOT THE POLITICIANS.  And
>  all the military then ( before Oslo) were very clear that from a
>  security point of view giving up land will endanger the citizens of
>  Israel and they are saying the same thing now.  This point was made
>  again and again by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, ztz"l in many of his
>  ma-amarim.

This is a very interesting issue which deserves more attention. Rabbis
determine the parameters under which a halachic decision is to be
made--that is what the legal principal is. They then turn to experts to
determine the facts in a particular circumstance. Obviously the choice
of experts is critical as many times, experts disagree and there are
many factors involved in some decisions requiring experts from multiple
disciplines. Then rabbis apply the law to the facts and issue a ruling
as to how the law should be applied in a particular case. Finally,
someone is given the responsibility for implementing the decision in
accordance with the decision. When there are differences among rabbinic
decisors, the person with responsibility must choose carefully who he or
she consults as a binding rabbinic authority and having done so, would
generally be bound by that decision. 

Applied to a government of Israel, there are a few problems. First, the
government has no binding rabbinic authority that it consults on matters
of halacha. In theory, the Prime Minister or Knesset is free to choose
any authority it wishes, though it is rare that they ever bother except
in the context of coalition discussions, and that is political deal
making, not seeking psak. Who are the experts? Generals certainly. But
notwithstanding your assertion, they are not uniform on the issue of the
territories. Diplomats? probably have a role, though somewhat
discredited after Oslo, but still relevant. Military intelligence?
Probably though its failures have also been the subject of some
discontent lately.  

The reality of course is that it is impossible to accurately predict the
future and unlike Star Trek, we do not have the luxury of examining
alternate universes where we can play out each scenario and then choose
the one with the best outcome. At the end of the day, the rabbis can
determine the halachic parameter (pikuach nefesh overrides keeping
land--at least according to some) but they do not know whether giving up
land saves more lives or not. The generals don't really know either. In
any case the generals do not have decision making power and neither do
the rabbis. (And rabbis have not always had the best political
judgment--how many lives would have been saved if Europe's rabbis had
not forbidden emigration in the early 20th century?) The ultimate
decision as to what risks to take in order to save lives is a political
calculation and, as in any issue of psak, it is the person or entity
that implements a decision that ultimately is responsible for making the
judgment, not rabbis or experts who are advisors.

Mr. Spiro may not realize it but he accepts this approach on a daily
basis. The Israeli government makes decisions every day about pikuach
nefesh that are accepted by the population. They are political decisions
but have serious halachic life and death ramifications. (At least until
recently) more Israelis have died in road accidents than in terrorist
attacks. Israelis suffer, and sometimes die, from disease, obesity,
food-borne illness, malnutrition, domestic violence, workplace injuries,
etc. More money could be spent to combat these causes of injury and
death but is diverted to other things, like support for education,
cultural institutions, tourism, parks, etc. We allow the government to
make these decisions, and no one I know of says that it is illegitimate
for these decisions to be made by politicians rather than traffic safety
experts, health professionals, risk management experts or rabbis. That
is because matters of government, including national defense, are
political matters that the king, or in contemporary times, the
democratically-elected government, has the power to decide.

Neither I nor Mr. Spiro knows what will save more lives. We still have
the territories and lives are being lost. Lives are also being
saved. Israelis are free to elect the government that reflects what they
think is right, but having done so, the government must then protect
their lives in civil, military and geo-political spheres in its best
judgment, subject to the verdict of history. May God protect and bless
the government of Israel (and all governments) and empower the leaders
with wisdom to protect lives and promote peace and freedom. 

Michael Rogovin


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 07:05:21 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Kastner

Jeanette Friedman Sieradski writes:

"By the way, I am living proof of the Kastner transport, my mother, a
POLISH Jew, was on that train--so much for the additional lies people
tell about that incident--that only Kastner's family from Kluj was on
the train."

No one doubts that more than Kastner's family got out- there were over a
thousand people saved, including, I believe, the Satmar Rebbe. The
questions raised about Kastner go much deeper than that, including the
question of exactly what his dealings with the Nazis were both during
and after the war, and what other "arrangements" he had with them
concerning pacifying the Jews, getting his family out, and the
like. Then he became a bigwig in the Israeli government and Mapai, and
the questions grew.

Ben Hecht, of course, is the most famous source (in English, at least)
of these questions, and ties it together with what happened to Joel

Of course, the situation of all involved was so wretched that I wouldn't
presume to make solid judgments for or against anyone. But truth in
history is most important, warts and all.

I assume, by the way, that Ms. Sieradski's mother was living in (or a
refugee in) Hungary/Romania at the time. Am I incorrect?

Nachum Lamm


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 12:25:11 EDT
Subject: Roshei Yeshiva/Pulpit Rabbis

R'YBS is quoted in "The Rav" by way of R' B Rosensweig as asking "when
you were a student at the Yeshiva, who were your heroes? and he did not
even wait for me to answer. He said: Rabbis Leo Jung, Joseph Lookstein,
Herbert S Goldstein. And then he said, tell me who are the heroes of
your son and my grandson?  Certainly not these people. Their models are
the Roshei Yeshiva, the people who represent learning and scholarship"

I'd be interested in the chevra's take on:
1. Is this accurate?
2. If so what caused the change?
3. If so is it permanent?
4. Most importantly what are the plusses and minuses of the emphasis on
either of these 2 groups of Rabbis by the laity?

Joel Rich


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 09:51:41 -0400
Subject: Stripes on the Tallis

I have no idea of the origins of the custom, but looking into the future...

Imagine a half-million or so men crowding into the Bet Mikdash on some
(hopefully soon) erev Pesach, each with a korban Pesach, a Chagiga, and
some additional "owed" sacrifices, and each of these animals has to be
done in the name of the proper owner, with the correct intentions, and
with the thought of when and where it may be eaten, all different for
each type of sacrifice.  How can all this be tracked correctly?

Bar codes, of course!

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Eli Delman <eli.delman@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 10:50:39 -0400
Subject: RE: What we say during Hagba

>While on this subject, does anyone know the source for people pointing
>their pinkies at the Torah while saying "V'zos Hatorah?" Thanks

Try these:





From: Yael Levine Katz <ylkpk@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 21:09:29 +0200
Subject: Yahrzeit Program For Hannah Rachel Werbermacher

Yahrzeit for the Maiden of Ludmir

Se'uda Shelishit and Melave Malka Shabbat July 10, at 7-10:30 pm,
8 Gideon st. Jerusalem

Unveiling at the Mount of Olives, Sunday July 11, at 6 pm.

Dear Friends

Hannah Rachel of Ludmir, better known as "The Maiden of Ludmir", is
popularly known as one of the few "woman rebbes" in the history of the
hasidic movement. Various authors have sought to describe her
activities: leading Sabbath "third meal" gatherings in her own study
house, healing the ill, wearing tallit and tefillin, and studying
talmud. Her activities aroused controversy within the Jewish community.

           In the middle of the nineteenth century, the Maiden of Ludmir
left the shtetl of her birth and immigrated to Palestine, where she
settled in Jerusalem, living out the remainder of her life unhindered as
Rebbe of her own court. During this last phase of her life, Hannah
Rachel was known to pray daily at the Kotel ha-Ma'aravi in tallit and
tefillin, leading pilgrimages to holy sites, and to hold large teachings
at her Shabbat tisch.

          In a new scholarly book published last year, Nathaniel Deutsch
found evidence of her life in the Kollel Volin community in Jerusalem
and identified a grave that is very likely to be hers on Har
ha-Zeitim. This came as very welcome news to those of us who were hoping
to find this grave that disappeared from our eyes.

          When we went to visit the grave we found that it was unmarked,
as are many others in this cemetery, and a fund, inspired by R. Zalman
Schachter-Shalomi, was started. The stone will be finished shortly and
an unveiling is planned on her yahrzeit on 22nd of Tammuz which falls
this year on July 11th.

         We would also like to honor her and the inspiration she brings
to a generation that prides itself on promoting women to Torah
excellence and spiritual leadership, in a way that will echo her
practice and hasidic way of life. We are holding a third meal on Shabbat
afternoon, July the 10th in Jerusalem and following it with a
farbrengen-jahrzeit on Motza'ei Shabbat. The event will take place at
the garden of Ruth and Michael Kagan, 8 Gideon st, Jerusalem and will
include niggunim with Sara Friedland Ben Arza, and Divrei Torah and
speeches by Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Dr. Melila Helner Eshed, and the
creators of the play "The Maiden of Ludmir" from the Han Theater among
others. The program will be in English and Hebrew.

The unveiling will take place in Har ha-Zeitim on Sunday, July 11, at 6

Directions: Turn off the road before it gets to the parking lot for the
Seven Arches Hotel and go down the narrow road. When the road widens
park the car and go through the gate that is labeled "Vohlyn
Yashan". The grave is overlooking the Temple Mount. There are stairs
leading to the gravesite.

We are still looking for someone to video the events after Shabbat ends.

Many Blessings
Ruth Gan Kagan
8 Gideon St.
Jerusalem, Israel 93606
Tel: 972-2-6716636


End of Volume 43 Issue 35