Volume 45 Number 63
                    Produced: Sat Nov 13 21:30:01 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

         [Avi Feldblum]
I LIKE/LOVE this parsha question
         [Sara Eisen]
Is saint veneration a Jewish custom?
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
A Jewish custom?
         [Edward Ehrlich]
         [Carl Singer]
Putting on Tallis & Tefillin prior to entering shule
         [Carl Singer]
Shmuel Shraga Feigenzohn and _Sha`arei Homat Yerushalayim_
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 21:15:19 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia

A quick note, partially following up to my note inside the last issue
regarding the posting with the special characters.

The world of email has clearly moved to where more and more graphics
and/or special characters are now imbedded in messages. A simple example
is that many mail clients, especially if they use Microsoft Word and the
mail editor, will substitute a special character for both " and '. I read
and edit the postings on a pure text based application, and have been
replacing the special characters with a guess at what they originally
were. This made sense 15 years ago when the majority of the list were
reading via text based clients. Now, I would suspect that only a small
portion of the list are using pure text based clients.

So, if I get a message with special characters, I'll bounce it to my
Microsoft based email address, and if it displays there, I'll pass it
through to the list. If it comes out like nonsense to you, please let me
know, so I will get a sense of how many people this might impact in a
negative way, and then I'll decide whether I go back to the old way, or
let it continue going through.

[Quick update - The next message was such a message, and when the
original message was sent to my Outlook account, it showed up fine. But
when I tried bouncing the digest, it did not work. I see now that the
original message had both a text version with the "special" characters
and an HTML version. Outlook correctly parsed the HTML, but does not
handle it within the issue where the HTML is stripped off. A good try at
least, and now to make the changes below.]

Avi Feldblum


From: Sara Eisen <dseisen@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 00:12:48 +0200
Subject: RE: I LIKE/LOVE this parsha question

The shoresh (root) alef/hey/bet for the word love is used only 4 times
prior to this perek in which it appears no less than 3 times and they
all revolve around Yitzhak and reflect some amount of pathos:

1. Bereshit 22:2 - When commanded to perform the Akeda, Avraham's
love for Yitzhak is first expressed by Hashem.
2. Bereshit 24:67 - A bereaved Yitzhak is comforted by his love
for Rivka.
3. Bereshit 25:28 - Yitzhak loves Esav.
4. Bereshit 25:28 - Rivka loves Yaakov.

It seems to me that the words "ka'asher ahavti" echo the words "asher
ahavta" pronounced by Hashem at the Akeda. The only conversation ever
recorded between Yitzhak and his father was on their way to Har HaMoria.
It is telling that there is no mention of Avraham's love for Yitzhak
from Avraham's point of view - the statement comes from Hashem. It is
not a huge leap to say that Yitzhak associates love with sacrifice and
loss as this may be the first time that Yitzhak senses the passion of
his father's love for him as an individual as opposed to another of his
many dependents and followers.

The next usage of love appears at the end of the following parsha in the
wake of his mother's death. Once again, love for Yitzhak is experienced
as part and parcel of loss; he no longer has his mother's love and he
needs to supplant it with the love of a wife.

The next two usages of love are also not free from a sense of tragedy,
when each parent elects to favor a different son.

When Yitzhak requests his hunted meat from Esav, it brings us
strinkingly back to when this word was first used in conjunction with
Yitzhak (and in fact, for the first time in Tanach), "asher ahavta."
Love for Yitzhak quite literally translates into sacrifice. In Yitzhak's
experience, love is demonstrated through sacrifice. The meat that Esav
hunts for him is a tangible manifestation of love as Yitzhak seems to
understand the concept. Clearly, "ka'asher ahavti" does not refer to the
meat per se; rather, to the sacrifice that was made for him.

B'virkat HaTorah,
Sara Eisen


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 20:30:52 EST
Subject: Is saint veneration a Jewish custom?

 Ira L. Jacobson (MJv45n59) wrote:

     << Issachar Ben-Ami wrote extensively about this practice in his
      (English translation published 1998.)>>

<I admit that I never read this book, but am I the only one who is
horrified by the choice of titles?  To think that we Jews have SAINTS?>

The word Saint in English, from Latin sanctus ref. to "any of certain
person of exceptional holiness of life, formally recognized as such by
the Christian Church, esp. by canonization" (The Random House Dictionary
of the English Language, 2nd edition, 1987, p.1692, first
definition). This definition, connecting the 'saint' to Christianity
might be the reason for the question. In my view: Yes, we do have saints
in Judaism.

Saint in English translate into 'Kadosh' and/or 'Tzadik' in
Hebrew. People who trust God are labeled 'kedoshim' in Tehilim (34:10);
the Shunamit tells about Elisha 'I know the he is a man of God he is
kadosh' (II Melachim 4:9). These two examples show that in Biblical time
some individuals or groups were called 'kedoshim' for their quality,
sanctity or morality. A definition of sorts of a 'kadosh' can be found
in Yechezkel (18:5-9). In a sense these two terms 'Kadosh' and 'Tzadik'
are interconnected, having more in common between them than what
separate them. Among Chasidim, when the Rebi dies he always gets the
letters tz[=tzadik], k[=kadosh], l[=livracha] after his name such as
'Tzadik ve-Kadosh Li-Veracha'.

Judaism always had venerated persons which were called 'tzadikim'. An
example will be Shimon ha-tzadik (Avot 1:2) who made miracles such as
predicting the exact date of his own death (Menachot 109b). Even today
people go to his grave site in Jerusalem to pray.

So what is the different between Judaism and Christianity on this issue?
The difference is great. The Catholics have developed a whole procedure
to elevate people into sainthood, based on miracles they performed etc.
called canonization. No such procedure exists in Judaism. It is worth
mentioning that in theory, Catholics do not pray to these saints, only
ask for their intercession. In reality, these saints in Christianity get
human statues built based on their images, or pictures of them placed in
churches, and the average person prays to him/her. If he/she is
sophisticated he/she may know that they are asking only for
intercession.  Judaism strictly prohibits human statues or images in the
house of worship. The only time I heard of such pictures was in the last
couple of years when some Lubavitch meshichstim put the picture of the
late Rebbi up front next to the Aron Ha-Kodesh. That is not Judasim!

Over the years Judaism had many 'Kedoshim.' For example: Shel'ah
Ha-Kadosh, Alsheich Ha-Kadosh, Or Ha-Chaim Ha-Kadosh. All the above
people are called 'Kadosh' for their outstanding scholarship and piety.

The practice to venerate grave sites of Tzadikim is known and practiced
today in Judaism, called in Hebrew 'le-hishtateach al kivrei avot' but
we do not pray to them, we rather pray that they intercede on our
behalf. It is common to go to Yerushaaylim, Tzefat, Teveria and Hebron
to prostrate on Kivrei Tzadikim.

In my view this became much more pronounced in Judaism with the
emergence of Chasidut. Chasidim will visit the grave site of their Rebbi
frequently. Uman grave site of the Bretzlav Rebbi is a good
example. Many Chasidim hold that kivrei tzadikim einam metam'im, that
is, even a Cohen is allowed to go to a grave site of a Tzadik (including
their Rebbi) since such grave sites do not defile a Cohen. Procedures
for walking thru a cemetery inside a box to the grave site of the Rebbi
was developed, in order to avoid the defilement of Cohanim to graves of
common Jews.

In summary, statues of any kind are tabu in Judaism, but 'kedoshim' and
'tzadikim' were venerated since Biblical times, and with the emergence
of Chasidism, such practices became more common.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 03:55:21 +0200
Subject: A Jewish custom?

I share Ira's objection, but the attitude that some Jews have towards
tzadikim is in many some ways similar to Catholic veneration of their
saints. In Israel, many traditional Jews (some shomeir mitzvot and some
not) will go to a tzadik's grave and pray there in the belief that
prayer at a tzadik's graves is more "effective". Certain tzadikim are
associated with health while others may be connected with getting a good
"match". These are folk ways which may not be sanctioned by halakha, but
they certainly exist.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 20:51:36 -0500
Subject: Love

Very good!  Batya.


I love my children (at times.)
I love chocolate ice cream.
I love my country.
I love doing crossword puzzles.
I love my grandchild.
I love the smell of freshly mown grass.
I love my nieces.
I love my mother's pletzel (onion rolls.)
I love fresh garden vegetables.
I love my wife.

The problem / question is whether "love" or the word (words) for love in
other languages have the same denotation and connotation.

In English (my second language) I could substitute "enjoy" for some of
the above -- I enjoy fresh garden vegetables.  Or "prefer" -- I prefer
chocolate ice cream.  Or "adore" -- I adore my grandchild.  Or "like" --
I like the smell of freshly mown grass.

Some languages have more alternatives and more sharply tuned words in
this domain words that may be more or less appropriate for the context.
Other languages have less alternatives.  Additionally there may be
accepted gradations (love, like, fond)

Clearly our language patterns impact our thought processes and exact
translation is challenging.

Carl Singer


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 21:02:15 -0500
Subject: Putting on Tallis & Tefillin prior to entering shule

> Please note Shulchan Aruch OH 25:2 where the Mechaber states that one
>should put on tefillin at home ant then go to shul and put on the talis
>gadol and daven shacharit (the Rema"h adds that one should put on the
>tallis gadol before teffilin at home and then go to shul).  Both the
>Mishna Brurah and the Aruch Hashulchan comment that today either because
>of fear of the goyim or filth in the streets common practice is to put
>on tallis and tefillin in the chatser (courtyard) of the shul and then
>walk into the shul itself to daven.  I imagine that this is the source
>of the custom Mr.Singer cites.
> Natan R. Kahan

Yes, I recall the S.A.  -- BUT what is the reason / source.

Is it putting on Tallis & Tefillin as early as possible (not forgetting
lest interrupted later on, etc.)  or is it to enforce some prohibition
against putting these on in shule.  AND if the latter for what reason --
and I can think of only three basic reasons -- I'm sure there are many

1: so as not to enter shule while not wearing both Tallis and Tefillin
(i.e., it is improper to enter the shule while not wearing Tallis &

2: So as to not say the brochus for Tallis & Tefillin while in shule /
during davening,

3: so as not to disturb others.

Carl Singer


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 20:49:34 EST
Subject: Shmuel Shraga Feigenzohn and _Sha`arei Homat Yerushalayim_

Although I do not know the story behind the publication of the summary
of "Mevo Ha-Yerushalmi" of Zacharia Frankel in the Vilna edition, I
found it worthwhile to mention that it is not the only summary of this
book. In the last 20 years or so a new edition of the Yerushalmi has
been coming out `im perush Toldot Yitshak, `im tosafot, hidushim
ha-nikra Tevunah meha-ga'on Yitshak Aizik b.R. Dober
Kraslilshtsikov. By: "Makhon Mutsal me-esh" she-`a. y. irgun "Al tidom"
in Bene Berak. Yitshak Aizik b.R.  Dober Kraslilshtsikov also wrote a
summary of the same book, but the publishers decided not to publish it
so far and it is still in a manuscript form and my hunch is that it will
never be published. I have no idea if there is a connection between
these two summaries.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


End of Volume 45 Issue 63