Volume 46 Number 77
                    Produced: Sat Jan 29 23:43:21 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beauty in Marriage
         [Heshy Grossman]
Blessing for State of Israel
         [Dov Teichman]
Calendar Question
         [Nathan Lamm]
Calendar question
         [Akiva Miller]
Conservative Judaism, Avoda Zara and Igrot Moshe
         [Carl Singer]
Halacha and Truth
         [Mark Steiner]
RYB Soloveitchik and mixed seating
         [Jonathan Baker]


From: <Rabbihg1@...> (Heshy Grossman)
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 12:26:41 EST
Subject: Re: Beauty in Marriage

>> While the Avos were 'also' Basar V'Dam, the Torah is describing much
>> more than just that, and the substantive reality of the Torah is
>> spiritual, rather than physical.

>I am not sure what you mean by "substantive reality". Do you mean that
>the description of Matan Torah, for instance, does not describe a real
>physical event? Or is the description of the ten plagues and the exodus
>from Egypt intended as some form of spiritual lesson but does not
>describe a real historical event? Please clarify.

Certainly, the ten plagues and the exodus were historical events. But
that does not preclude the idea that these events were much more than
just physical occurrences. So too, every one of the Avos, and their
stories, as described in the Torah, contain more than just the physical,
flesh-and-blood happening.

Apropos to this idea, in this week's Parsha (Yisro), Klal Yisrael were
"Ro'in Es HaNishma - they heard the sounds". This means that their
understanding of the meaning and purpose of events was as clear to them
as the reality of the things that they see. Whereas you and I have
beliefs that we may accept intellectually, we live in a physical reality
that we grant more credence to. In contrast, the Dor De'ah of the Midbar
lived in a different dimension - their essence and reality was their
relationship with G-d, while the physical world was merely one very
small part of the totality of their existence.

In a similar vein, here is a good example of the spiritual dimension
being described as more 'real' than the physical: on the Pasuk - ' Ani
Hicbadeti Es Libo' - which we generally translate as ' I have hardened
his heart', Chazal explain: 'his heart has become a liver' (Shemos
Rabbah 13). If understood as a physical decription, the teaching of
Chazal is senseless, but when we recognize that the heart is a spiritual
organ - at the essence of all life - and this organ is parallel to the
physical heart that also sustains the physical body in the very same
way, the teaching takes on new life. It means this: when one takes the
lessons of life in his heart, he relates the messages to every aspect of
his life, just as the physical heart sustains each and every organ. But,
when Phaaroh's heart became a liver, he was able to ignore the events
occurring all around him, and continue to deny the Word of
Hashem. Hence, the 'reality' of the words 'heart' and 'liver' are
clearly referring to spiritual organs, while the physical manifestations
of those organs are the bodies that we know.

And in this case, it is actually unclear which meaning is more literal,
our own physical understanding, or the reality of Chazal. While the
physical meaning is also correct, the Torah is always describing more.
(for a further analysis of this idea, see the Sefer 'Daas Torah' [Limmud
Mussarei HaTorah] by Rav Yerucham Levovitz on Parshas Bo).

Heshy Grossman


From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 08:18:40 EST
Subject: Blessing for State of Israel

In shuls that recite the blessing for the State of Israel after the
haftorah, where did the practice to stand arise? Who enacted this? Why
would this prayer require standing more than Krias Hatorah or Chazaras
Hashatz? (both of which do not have clear cut obligations to stand) (Some
shuls even require the one holding the Torah to stand.)

Dov Teichman


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 05:47:53 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Calendar Question

Irwin Weiss writes:
> In my view, Rosh Hashana will not be late or early, this year or any
> other year.  It will occur, (IYH), on the first day of the month of
> Tishrei, as it always has.
> Now, perhaps it is really September or October which occur earlier or
> later.

This view is frequently expressed, but I have to disagree with it. The
Jewish calendar is based on the seasons of the year: Rosh Hashana must
fall in the autumn, Pesach in the spring, and so on. The seasons are
pegged to the solar calendar, the basic (and most accurate) reference
for which is the Gregorian system in common use. So it's quite accurate
to speak of Jewish holidays falling "late" or "early".

In fact, were we not to consider this fact, we'd be in the same boat as
Islam: After all, Id-al-Adha, for example, always falls on exactly the
same date every year, but it's perfectly obvious to every Muslim, no
matter how removed from the wider world they are, whether it falls in,
say, winter or summer.

Nachum Lamm

From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 08:50:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Calendar question

Ira Jacobson wrote about Remy Landau's Web site: <<< My trouble with this
site (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/1584/, not the particular cited
page) is that it gives the molad as six hours later than is normally
given everywhere else. >>>

I've seen this discrepancy in a few places. My understanding is that it's
not really a difference of facts, only a difference of terminology.

For example, he writes <<< The molad of Adar Rishon 5765H will occur on
Wednesday at 10h 56m 4hl. >>>

But http://www.ezrastorah.org/calendar.html says: <<< ADAR I: Wednesday,
Feb. 9, 4:56 AM and 4 Chalokim. >>>

Both of these are really saying the same thing. When Mr. Landau says
"Wednesday at 10h 56m", what he really means is "10 hours and 56 minutes
after the beginning of Halachic Wednesday, which was not at *midnight*,
but at the *beginning* of the night, i.e., Tuesday evening, so the
calculated molad will end up occurring about an hour before Wednesday
morning begins."

In contrast, Ezras Torah (and other who use similar phraseology) points
to the exact same moment in time, but does the calculation for us, and
makes it very simple: "4:56 AM".

It's very much like time zones. 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 2 AM GMT --
it's all the same thing.

Akiva Miller


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 08:32:29 -0500
Subject: Conservative Judaism, Avoda Zara and Igrot Moshe

In discussing Conservative Judaism (or Reform for that matter) we really
need to absorb certain key structures.

* First there are a few clearly identifiable organizations that speak
for Conservative Judaism (or the Conservative Movement) both from a
theological and an organizational / social perspective.

* Second, there is often a chasm (I was going to say gap) between the
formal, scholarly (?) understanding of Conservative Judaism as expressed
by their theological leadership and the religious understanding (and
religious education level) of the conservative layman.

* Third -- when we speak of Conservative Judaism, do we speak of
individuals (our neighbors, our co-religionists) or do we speak of a
movement and its leadership.  If you had a heart-to-heart with someone
who identifies themselves as a Conservative Jew -- would they have any
idea of these discussion re: Avoda Zara, etc.

In contrast to the first point above, remember that "Orthodox" which
certainly is NOT monolithic -- despite (or because of) various
international organizations, various Gedoleh HaDor and Roshei Yeshivas,
Shlita, various outspoken leaders -- TORAH JUDAISM does not speak with
one voice.  We have more than enough disagreements within our own camps,
let alone within and among our communities.

In 1975 when I was a graduate student at Purdue I met someone (whose
name I've long forgotten) who was a devout Reformed Jew.  She and her
family were members of a Reform congregation, they attended each week,
were very active in congregational activities, etc.  This stood in sharp
contrast to many people who had self-labeled themselves as Reform --
people with no congregational affiliation or a 2 day / year dues paying

In contrast we all hear of so-called Orthodox (or Frum) Jews who do
things that are out of bounds -- we say they have fallen off the derech
and dismiss this.

There are still today many Rabbis with Orthodox Smicha who lead
conservative congregations -- what are you going to say of them.

There are many Conservative Jews who are Shomre Shabbos.  There are some
self-identified Orthodox Jews who are not.

My wife used to run blood drives and teach CPR for all of the Jewish
institutions on our side of town (Philadelphia) -- so although I wasn't
in the sanctuary, I was in the Gym or the Social Hall, etc. of a few
Conservative congregations -- what did I see -- Jewish individuals with
strong identification as Jews doing good deeds.  Would I eat in their
house, likely not.  Would I want my children to marry theirs, definitely
not.  But who the hell am I to judge them or to exclude them from my (is
it really "my") tribe.

I'm surprised to find myself being so warm hearted -- perhaps because
it's 4 degrees outside and I don't think any Jew should be left out in
the cold.

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.
Passaic, NJ  07055-5328
See my web site:  www.ProcessMakesPerfect.net      


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 15:35:37 +0200
Subject: RE: Halacha and Truth

> Can you lead me to sources / articles dealing with the issue of whether
> Halacha or Halachik psak provides us with emes? Emes being defined as
> objective truth.

	One source, one which I have already referred to in earlier
comments, is R. Moshe's Introduction to the first volume of Iggerot
Moshe, where he distinguishes between "truth" and "truth from the
purposes of a ruling," the latter being the most we can expect,
particularly in the latter day generations.  This is R. Moshe's "excuse"
for writing responsa in the first place.

	Naturally there is a huge amount of literature surrounding the
gemara (B. M. around 59 but don't hold me to it) of lo bashamayim hee,
in which we find that the Sanhedrin ruled against, as it were, G-d

Mark Steiner


From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 09:48:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RYB Soloveitchik and mixed seating

Yaakov Gross (is this Jack Gross?)

> Similarly, it is reported that Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik prohibited
> entering a Conservative Temple on Rosh Hashanah, even just to hear
> Tekias Shofar.

That's not quite what the Rav said.  As I understand it, he said that
one may not enter a synagogue without a mechitzah, even to fulfill the
Torah mitzvah of hearing the shofar (which one might think would
override the rabbinic prohibition of mixed seating).

His target was not the Conservative movement, but those Orthodox
synagogues in the 1950s which were taking down their mechitzot.  Until
quite recently, there were non-mechitza synagogues on the rolls of the
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (the O-U).  It was
issued in conjunction with R' Moshe's teshuvah claiming a Torah source
(as a polemical measure, since at best it was prophetic, which counts as
rabbinic) for the mechitzah.  Both opinions are brought in the book "The
Sanctity of the Synagogue", about one man's case against his synagogue
in Michigan, trying to prevent them from taking down their mechitzah.

That it concomitantly prohibits entry into Conservative and Reform
synagogues is a side effect, and is not taken literally.  I attended the
bris of a cousin, whose mother was an administrator at Ramaz.  The other
administrators, and some of the faculty, including rabbeim, attended the
bris, but not the davening, as it was in a Conservative synagogue (with
3-phase seating).  The bris was in the sanctuary, so evidently there's
no problem (in their interpretation of R' Moshe) in entering a
Conservative synagogue for a non-davening purpose.

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


End of Volume 46 Issue 77