Volume 45 Number 39
                    Produced: Tue Oct 26  6:09:16 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

History & YU/ HTC
         [Gil Student]
         [David I. Cohen]
         [Batya Medad]
Tefillat HaDerech
         [Gershon Dubin]
Tfilas Haderech
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
Who is Modern Orthodox (5)
         [Mordechai Horowitz, David I. Cohen, Art Werschulz, Jonathan
Baker, Nathan Lamm]
Who is Modern Orthodox (was: The State of YU)
         [Gil Student]
YU and the MO future
         [Mordechai Horowitz]


From: Gil Student <gil.student@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 12:20:38 -0400
Subject: Re: History & YU/ HTC

>It's a letter written by Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman... responding to 
>a questioner, that the only yeshivot in the USA able to issue student 
>visa's are YU and HTC, both of which are places of spiritual danger, 
>and thus there is no point in escaping from Europe's physical danger 
>at the price of entering there.

See also Kovetz Shiurim, vol. 2 pp. 75-78

Gil Student


From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 10:57:58 -0400
Subject: Psak

>From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
>David Cohen responded to Tzvi Stein:

>> Unless you know, through your own learning, what the correct psak is,
>> then, at the very least, you should question your own posek as to
>> whether you have to follow the posted psak.

>But the reason for the psak was given: People don't know how to take
>maaser properly. So if a person *does* know how, why follow it?

Because it might be a case of "lo plug" of not making distinctions
between those who know and those who don't , to prevent the all too
common situation where a person thinks that he knows, when he doesn't in

I don't know whether this would be such a case, and, therefore, one does
not have to follow the poster psak, but at least one should query his
own posek.

David I. Cohen


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 23:52:03 +0200
Subject: Stern

> I'm not sure that I understand the sentiments above.  Are we expecting
> Stern College to somehow screen / test / admit students based on their
> hashkofa -- several thoughts come to mind.
> 1 - Would such screening be legal for a public university?

Even when I went to stern, almost (gevalt!) 40 years ago, we were told
that a couple of non-Jews were accepted, because Stern accepted public
funds, and there was a law.  The dormitory is something else and could
have regualtions, l'havdil wasn't there an opposite-type problem in



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 18:29:10 GMT
Subject: Tefillat HaDerech

From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>

<<Under what circumstances does one say Tefillat HaDerech? Is the
requirement based on the travel time, or is it based on the travel
distance. Does the presence of very busy roads have any bearing on this?

Please cite sources.>>

I can't cite sources, but Rabbi Yisroel Reisman addressed this several
years ago in one of his Navi shiurim.  Bottom line is that it's a
machlokes acharonim if it's time or distance, for several issues besides
tefilas haderech.  CYLOR.

(If you can't get hold of the tape (it's in Melachim I around 100 or so)
contact me off list and I'll put you in touch with him.)



From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 09:26:51 -0400
Subject: Tfilas Haderech

>I live in Davis, CA, a 6 mile wide town surrounded on all sides by
>fields. Travel to the nearest town in any direction involves travelling
>through at least 5 miles of fields. This is generally done on a very
>busy 65 mile per hour highway in a car,

I had an analagous situation that I discussed with serveral LOR's of
some standing.

I lived in Brooklyn and travelled often through Manhattan traffic for
130 miles to the closest thing the USA has to Alpine roads, twisty
curves up, quite scary, often icy, and often accident-clogged.  In
either direction, waiting to say tfilas haderech until out of the town
limits means not having said it for some of the scariest parts of the
journey.  Thus, I asked.

The answer I received several times was that the Takanos Chazal was made
for the specific conditions listed in Halacha, not as a "magic charm" to
make me feel better about driving.  For that purpose, I could say
Tehilim or something, but the takana stands as made, even though today
several of the conditions seem unsuited to the times.  For example,
flying over water elicits a tfila, while flying overland does not.  Not
related to the degree of danger by todays standards, obviously.

Incidentally, I have heard that Rabbi Joseph Breuer ruled otherwise, and
held that it should be said immediately upon entering the car, before
moving at all.

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 20:22:47 -0400
Subject: Who is Modern Orthodox

Many people have pointed out my typo in the article.  For some reason
when I meant to write Richard Joel, President of YU, i wrote Joel Roth,
Dean of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.  My apologies for the
mistake and my thanks to all who pointed it out 

From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 12:01:09 -0400
Subject: Who is Modern Orthodox

Mordechai Horowitz's denigration of YU President Richard Joel (who is
Joel Roth??) is wrong on so many levels (nad not just his name) that it
is hard to know where to begin:

Let's start with the "pluralism" canard.  Joel never said that halacha
"has a vote not a veto" ( and I can attest that he is personally shomer
mitzvot, and not just the ritual ones) . What he actually said is that
Jews can disagree on whether (for example) Torah was given at Mt. Sinai,
we will never convince the other of the truth of our own beliefs, but
nevertheless, let's see if there are areas we can work together for the
betterment of klal yisrael.

Hillel is not a religious organization -- its mandate is to develop a
connection with Jewish college students and Judaism, in some
fashion. His idea was to get them to "do Jewish" in some fashion.  You
may not agree that such an organization should exist ( and that we can
just write off the thousands of Jewish age college students who have
little or no connection to their being Jewish) but I cannot see how that
in any way conflicts with the Rav's strictures on denominational
dialogue and cooperation.

David I. Cohen

From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 10:40:59 -0400
Subject: Who is Modern Orthodox

The article "Who is Modern Orthodox" made several references to "Joel
Roth".  Since R. Joel Roth is a Conservative Rabbi, the author is
presumably referring to Richard Joel.

Art Werschulz
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>

From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 07:30:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Who is Modern Orthodox

Joel Roth is the head of the Talmud department at JTSA (the Conservative
rabbinical school).  Richard Joel is the new head of YU.

And "halacha has a vote not a veto" is Reconstructionism, not Pluralism.

   - jon baker    <jjbaker@...>     <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -

From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 09:47:49 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Who is Modern Orthodox

I'd like to respond to Mordechai Horowitz' post.  (First, it should be
stressed that Joel Roth is a prominent Conservative rabbi; the new
president of YU is Richard Joel.) I find this post confusing: The poster
seems to be defending a wide view of YU's mission and Torah Umadda, yet
many points here are simply wrong and reflect a negative view of these.

> Modern Orthodoxy should be about keeping shabbos and kosher but
> otherwise holding strong to the values of secularism." (Quoting the
> original article.)

This is simply not true. Modern Orthodoxy doesn't promote "secularism
with mitzvos," it promotes full halachic observance and Jewish
values. Where secular (better: outside) values do not conflict with
these, they are to be embraced.

> [Richard Joel] also believes in pluralism. Pluralism means that halacha
> has a vote not a veto on the life of the Jewish community. As the head
> of Hillel, an organization that may be hostile to Orthodox Judaism on
> many cases, he actively promoted non halachic Judaism.

This is incorrect on many levels. Joel ran Hillel, he didn't create
it. Hillel's purpose is to promote Jewish life on college campuses, and
serves Jews from all backgrounds. It's thus not correct to assume what
his personal belief regarding "pluralism" is based on this; it's also
quite incorrect to describe the organization as being "hostile to
Orthodoxy." If anything, it's the only Orthodox life many students can

> By that I mean the University is treated as essentially seperate from
> the Beit Medrash. Torah UMaddah means we need to integrate the two. We
> should have Bible as literature with Rashi...They should be able to
> study both in the same class room with the same Rebbe. They should be
> studying evolution and Breishit together...

Leaving aside the fact that, on the one hand, this is done, to an
extent, at YU, and, on the other, the fact that few of the Roshei
Yeshiva the poster claimed as "holding strong to Modern Orthdox values"
would approve of this, this distorts YU's mission. For seventy or more
years, YU has claimed that while it aims to teach both subjects and
hopes to impart the point that they are complimentary and both
necessary, it has also stressed that the "synthesis" will not occur in
the classroom. It's up to the student, educated in both fields, as well
as numerous extracurricular projects, to accomplish that.

As I said, I'm not sure if my response fits the post.  The poster seems
to, at the same time, proclaim a conservative definition of Modern
Orthodoxy that would exclude Richard Joel, and yet promotes a vision of
education far more liberal than any Modern Orthodox figure has claimed.

From: Gil Student <gil.student@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 12:13:11 -0400
Subject: Who is Modern Orthodox (was: The State of YU)

Mordechai Horowitz wrote:
>The university follows a haredi model of secular education.  By that 
>I mean the University is treated as essentially seperate from the Beit 

I did not know that there is a haredi model of secular education.
Haredim generally do not believe in the value of a secular education at

>Torah UMaddah means we need to integrate the two.  We should have 
>Bible as literature with Rashi.  Students at YU should be familiar with how
>biblical intrepretion have affected western civilization, western
>literature and culture.  They should also be experts on traditional

There are courses like this! Bible is a department in Yeshiva College
and its professors are some of the leading exponents of Torah U-Mada.

>They should be able to study both in the same class room with the same

That is a difficult task because of the increasing specialization of
expertise that is seen throughout academia. The time spent acquiring
expertise in Talmud and Halachah generally precludes becoming an expert
in the academic study of the Bible. Can one become a semi-expert?
Yes. But the use of a semi-expert as an instructor lowers the level of
the academic study.

>They should be studying evolution and Breishit together.  

What makes you think they don't? Do you know who teaches biology at YU?

>They should be studying the relationship between Torah and Science, 
>not treating them as totally separate entities, where you ignore Science in
>Morning shiur and laugh at the Rebbeim in Biology 101.

No, not all professors are talmidei chachamim. But the head of the
Biology department is one of the roshei yeshiva.

Gil Student


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 21:05:53 -0400
Subject: YU and the MO future

The following is a few paragraphs from a good link with some interesting

[It is from an article in the Commentator, the YU student newspaper. The
Article is titled: Ideology on Parade: Torah u-Madda at the Richard Joel
Investiture, and is by (copied from the bottom of the article: Avraham
Bronstein, YC' 03, will be completing semikha at RIETS and an MA at BRGS
this year. He is currently teaching Jewish History at MSTA and maintains
a popular and influential blog (www.thebronsteins.com).

I agree with Mordechai that the full article is interesting
reading. However, most of what is interesting in my opinion, are not the
two paragraphs he chose to quote. Mod.]

**** Quoted Paragraphs from Article *******

On the other hand, for many at Yeshiva, that is as far as Torah u-Madda 
goes. One of the preeminent rabbinical leaders on the RIETS faculty both 
in terms of scholarship and influence, once defined the concept to the 
Commentator as "a yeshiva, mit [sic] a cafeteria, mit [sic] a college, 
in the same building." Clearly, he and his students do not necessarily 
see any ideological link between their Torah studies and their academic 


Instead, President Joel seems to prefer to leave the Beit Midrash in the
background where it contributes indirectly by promoting the environment
that produces either the intellectual perspective or the moral/ethical
direction that produces Torah u-Madda in the rest of the university. In
such an arrangement, the Beit Midrash contributes to the development of
Torah u-Madda in the university at large while remaining free of it
itself, appropriately symbolized by the Roshei Yeshiva marching in the
processional wearing their own garb, eschewing that of the academy.



End of Volume 45 Issue 39