Volume 46 Number 02
                    Produced: Mon Nov 29  6:49:55 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Coming Late
         [Joel Rich]
Coming late to  shul
         [Martin Stern]
New ATID Website & Blog
         [R. Jeffrey Saks]
         [Yisrael Medad]
         [Ruth E. Sternglantz]
Relationship between Halachic development and Kabalah
         [Michael Poppers]
Tamar and Yehuda
         [Akiva Miller]
Tsadikim & tumas meis
         [Perets Mett]


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 11:21:11 EST
Subject: Coming Late

It sounds like there are 2 major responses

1. Other priorities -I'm OK with this as long as one has halachically
evaluated them(usually with a 3rd party) -eg taking care of a sick
parent versus wanting to read the NY Times

2.Lack of desire - I wish I knew how to set a soul on fire. A number of
suggestions were made (intellectual-read a book like Kavanah,
experiential-daven with people to whom "it works") (FWIW standing next
to avi mori vrabi ZLL"HH and reading R" Soloveitchik ZT"L on tfila are
responsible for whatever small success I have with tfila btzibbur/tfilat

Did I miss anything?

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 09:30:16 +0000
Subject: Re: Coming late to  shul

on 28/11/04 3:14 am, Robert Tolchin <tolchin@...> wrote:

> I've been watching the dialogue on the topic of coming late to shul, and
> feel compelled to interject my two cents - as a person who basically
> never comes to shul at the appointed time.
> What strikes me is the utter abandonment of the concept of dan lekaf
> zechut (judging your fellowman with benefit of the doubt). Folks here
> are quick to condemn latecomers, judging them inconsiderate at best, and
> ignorant and/or deliberate violators of halacha at worst. The
> motivations of latecomers have been questioned; their excuses
> rejected. For example, the excuse that someone has small children at
> home to deal with is rejoined by pointing to an individual who's always
> on time who has many small children at home.

Robert is absolutely right that one should always judge one's fellow,
wherever possible, with benefit of the doubt. It is only when this
becomes impossible that one might be justified in rebuking him.

However, I am sorry he missed the point I made someone with many small
children. What I said was that I would have understood why my shul
neighbour with 7 children aged up to eight came late to a weekday
shacharit but was surprised that he almost never did so. It was not
meant to be a criticism of those in similar circumstances who were
delayed. With his problems, of which I would imagine people in his
community must be aware, coming late or bringing fractious children is
understandable. May his problems speedily be resolved with a complete
cure for all.

Similarly, someone might be late for a weekday minchah or ma'ariv
because of an unexpected traffic jam. It is those who are persistently
late, in the absence of specific crises, at every tefillah -shacharit,
minchah, ma'ariv - weekday, shabbat, yom tov - that make it difficult to
find some limmud zekhut (justification) other than lack of interest in
davenning. This comes from the well known principle of Occam's razor
that the most likely correct explanation is the one that explains the
largest number of phenomena.

> Let's apply this to the issue of people who come late to shul. You're
> focusing on what they do wrong. Why don't you stop and think that
> they're doing the right thing in the first place by coming? If someone
> comes 20 minutes late to make a minyan and enables someone to say
> kaddish, the bottom line is he has done a mitzvah, and has helped to
> restore the sparks and improve the world. Go brood about that. Instead
> of posting whining comments on the internet about how someone came late
> to shul, tell the world about the holy man who helped his community by
> being the tenth man in a minyan.

In most communities, the early kaddeishim in shacharit would be at most
15 minutes after the beginning so coming 20 minutes late would not be
much help. In any case, saying kaddish is only an obligation if there is
a minyan, so there is no mitsvah in making it possible per se, other
than completing a minyan. So long as an aveil says one kaddish per day,
he has fulfilled his basic obligation. Saying one at each tefillah is
desirable but saying every kaddish for which one can find some reason is
unnecessary and possibly counterproductive as tirkha detsibbura (causing
a public nuisance by keeping people in shul when they have to leave).

Unfortunately it is impossible for everyone to be among the assarah
rishonim (first ten in shul). However, the idea is that they should be
there right at the beginning so Robert's latecomer can hardly be called
a 'holy man' just because he happened to be the tenth.

Martin Stern


From: R. Jeffrey Saks <atid@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 11:17:35 +0200
Subject: New ATID Website & Blog

When the ATID website was launched in 1999 it was cutting edge--but a
lot's changed on the web since then. We've re-vamped www.atid.org to be
more user-friendly for educators looking to make use of our resources,
and for friends and supporters to learn about the wide range of our

As part of the website re-design we've launched LAMED--our "blog"
roundup of articles, resources, and occasional commentary for/on Jewish
education. LAMED is updated a few times a week by ATID's Jerusalem
staff. It's linked from our homepage, or directly at

Please visit us online and let us know what you think.

Rabbi Jeffrey Saks
Director, ATID


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 22:07:29 +0200
Subject: Paternity

Does anyone know if a case like this has been reviewed by Halachic

A five-year-old boy may never know his father's identity because his
mother claims she had relations with identical twins at the time he was

One of the twins hoped to force the mother to grant him access to the
child. When he began legal proceedings to prove his paternity, the
mother made her claim that she had been sleeping with his twin at around
the same time.

The twins have said they knew they were both having sex with the woman,
but argue that only one had sex during the period of conception.  Both
refused to undergo a DNA test: the complainant refused to pay the charge
while his brother, who has since married and fathered children, does not
consider himself involved in the dispute. Scientists in Canada have said
it is possible for identical twins to have slightly different DNA
because of genetic mutations while the embryos are duplicating in the
mother's womb at an early stage of pregnancy.

Yisrael Medad


From: Ruth E. Sternglantz <resternglantz@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 06:38:59 -0500
Subject: Princeton

Hi --

I would be most grateful if any MJ-ers could tell me (offlist) about
Orthodox Jewish life in and around Princeton NJ (say within a 15-20 mile

In particular, I am interested in (in no particular order):
What life would be like for an unmarried frum adult in this area
Kosher resources
Orthodox shuls
Apartment rental (including whether anyone except Princeton students live in
rental housing in this vicinity)

Thanks.  I have received a job offer in Princeton and as part of the
calculus I'm trying to determine whether I have to factor in commuting
from Philadelphia (where I currently live and am very happy).

Ruth Sternglantz


From: <MPoppers@...> (Michael Poppers)
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 00:38:31 -0500
Subject: Re: Relationship between Halachic development and Kabalah

In M-J V45#93, BSegal wrote:

> This conception of a "halachik process" divorced of the kabbalistic
> roots seems to have been accepted to some degree by every halachik
> source we have....

> There are a number of reasons for this separation. First off it seems
> clear that there was an expectation that most Jews would need to know
> what to do, but would not be able to master the kabbalistic material.
> Second, as a result of that, it seems that there was a fear that the
> kabbalistic material would be - at least to some degree lost - and
> halacha would need to continue despite that fact. This observation is
> particularly important because it is essentially what Stan has claimed
> occurred. Real kabbala has been lost and halacha has had to go on by
> itself.

It might be worth noting that Judaism as it is practiced by Torah-true
Jews today, and the Halachic process underlying their way of life, is
probably quite different from the Judaism of the prophetic age that
ended during the second-Temple period.  That said, I don't think that
Halacha was derived from kabbalah by prophets in the prophetic age any
more than it's derived by sages from kabbalah nowadays -- if so, it
seems to me that neither of Binyomin's reasons would have any force,
because both (most Jews not attaining master of Kabbalah and all Jews
losing Kabbalah itself) relate to the general public and not to the
leaders responsible for continuation & transmission of the Torah-true
tradition, leaders who not only haven't lost Kabbalah but who attempt to
master it.

Tangentially, I don't believe that Stan would argue that Kabbalah has
been lost altogether, given that he finds support for his
independently-derived findings in Kabbalistic works like "Shefa Tal,"
but he does seem to be arguing that its alleged role as the sole basis
for the Halachic process has been shunted aside.  Tangentially #2, I
would agree with Stan that Kabbalistic works like "Shefa Tal" may very
well be totally misunderstood and underappreciated nowadays (and for
some time now) and that they have something to contribute to all our
lives, one reason why I support his Meru work.

Last but not least, having seen Stan's post and responses as well as
Avi's responses, Binyomin's response, and Daniel's offlist comments re
the words of his which Stan quoted, I still have seen absolutely no
support for Stan's "the fact is that halacha descends from kabbalah.
Kabbalah, in turn, descends from our priestly tradition (sans the
Temple). This is the primary reason why IN OUR TIME it is not possible
to change our understanding of halacha. Unless and until we regain the
Kabbalistic roots of Torah (the priestly understanding, which itself
forms the Temple that we seek to rebuild), there can be no significant
change," and I doubt I will.  Kabbalah, whether you want to call it the
esoteric, the hidden, Sod, the lettertext, or anything else, is still a
part of Torah, albeit a fundamental part, and not the entirety of Torah;
the Halachic process derives from the entirety of Torah.  I can't speak
to whether it is proper for talmidai chachomim ("students of wisdom") to
be certified as morai horo'oh/pos'qim (masters of our tradition/Halachic
decisors) without mastery of the Kabbalah, but I don't think it would be
proper for them to be thus certified if they only had mastered Kabbalah.

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 12:01:32 -0500
Subject: Tamar and Yehuda

This coming Shabbos, we will read the story of Yehuda and Tamar. First
we read about how and why she tricked him into having relations with
her, and then we find:

"About three months later, it was told [vayoogad] to Yehuda, 'Your
daughter-in-law Tamar was immoral and she got pregnant from it!' Yehuda
said, 'Take her out to be burnt.' She was being taken out, and send word
to her father-in-law: 'I am pregnant from the man who owns these things.
Please, do you know who owns this signet, clothes, and staff?'"
(Bereshis 38:24-25)

Yehuda recognized them, and admitted that he was the father. Rashi
comments that she could have exposed him publicly, but this would have
embarrassed him, so instead she clandestinely told him the truth, hoping
that he would confess voluntarily. Rashi adds that the rabbis use this
story to demonstrate how it is preferable to allow oneself to be killed
rather than embarrass another person.

My question: Why did Tamar risk death in this manner? Why did she keep
the knowledge of her pregnancy secret?

The verse plainly says that this information "was told to Yehuda", so it
is clear that rumors had been flying about Tamar, and those reports
finally reached Yehuda. Why didn't Tamar approach him as soon as she
realized that she was pregnant? She could have revealed the fact that
she had been the "prostitute" of three months earlier, and they'd be
able to discuss the matter privately and do some pre-emptive damage

Did she think that no one would notice that she was pregnant? Did she
think that people would notice, but just take it in stride? What was she

(The only answer I can think of is that too little time passed from when
she realized that she was pregnant, until word reached Yehuda. I suppose
it is possible that other people noticed that she had put on weight
before she noticed it, especially since she had no husband who might
point it out to her. On the other hand, she would have noticed a couple
of missed periods, so this seems (to me) less likely than the
possibility that there is a commentator somewhere who explains that she
really did have some good reason for acting this way.)

Akiva Miller


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 11:59:56 +0000
Subject: Tsadikim & tumas meis

Carl Singer asked:
> That said, does anyone know of examples where tzaikim are buried along
> the edge of a cemetery (in the manner that is usually done for Cohanim)
> or some other such arrangement.


In the Adath Yisroel Beis Hachayim at Enfield, the kevorim (graves) of
the Dzikover Rebbe and the Stanislaver Rebbe are both situated a short
distance from the building used for tsiduk hadin. Cohanim can reach
these graves without passing any other; indeed they can stand nearby
without any chashash of tum'o since both have an ohel (small building)
enclosing the grave.

Perets Mett


End of Volume 46 Issue 2