Volume 47 Number 46
                    Produced: Tue Apr  5  5:53:35 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artscroll Siddur
         [Nathan Lamm]
Goses and End of Life Decisions
         [Akiva Miller]
Goyim and Other Strangers
Interesting Talmudic passage
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Orthodox History Works
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Rabbi Berel Wein
         [Bernard Raab]
Rabbi Wein
         [Batya Medad]
         [Mark Steiner]
U'va le-Tzion
         [Yehonatan Chipman]


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2005 05:38:09 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Artscroll Siddur

Eli Turkel writes:

> To defend Artscroll they have to choose a version. No one wants a
> siddur that gives you choices for each phrase.

This is a good point; however, Artscroll violates it itself. The Hebrew
version gives many "nusach acher"s in the notes (among the verse
sources), which is unobtrusive and fine. However, newer versions of the
English versions actually present "Gashem" as an alternate reading to
"Geshem" in the text itself, which is quite obtrusive and, if I recall
correctly, quite incorrect as well. I wonder what caused the

Nachum Lamm


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 06:56:11 GMT
Subject: Re: Goses and End of Life Decisions

I wrote <<< ... there is a specific halachic category for people in this
situation, who have begun to die, called "goses". ... if that
determination has been made, then there are a number of halachos which
apply... such as the lack of obligation to artificially prolong the life
of this person who has already begun to depart. >>>

Jack Gross responded <<< NO! The status of "Goses" is not a criterion
for downgrading the chiyyuv of pikkuach nefesh. ... A "goses" has all
the same laws a one who is in perfect health, ... in case of imminent
danger (e.g., a fire) one is obligated to move the goses out of harm's
way, even if that entails chillul shabbos. If there is an obligation to
violate Shabbos to save the life of the goses, one cannot have the
option of witholding treatment because of that status.  Whatever
R. Moshe's reasoning, gesisah is not the basis. >>>

I was indeed mistaken. My use of the phrase "lack of obligation" makes
it sound like prolonging his life might be optional. Actually, it is
never optional: It is either required or forbidden, and we must learn
the halacha in order to know which applies for any particular situation.

I must stress again that these halachos are extremely complicated, and
no one should decide what to do based on what he reads in
Mail-Jewish. Nevertheless, just to give MJ readers an idea of some of
the factors involved in these decisions, I will now quote just a tiny
bit of what was written by Rav Moshe Feinstein in his Igros Moshe,
Choshen Mishpat 2:74, which was translated into English by Rabbi Anshel
Berman, and published in the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society
(copyright 1987 by the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School), #13, Spring 1987,
pages 3-19. This portion below is one small piece of that article, from
page 7.

(I will let Rav Moshe's words speak for themselves, except for only one
comment: Rav Moshe makes a reference here to "Yoreh Deah 339:1", which
is specifically about a "goses". I will not conjecture on which parts of
this analysis refer only to a goses and which (if any) also refer to
other patients.)

<<< Ran rules that when prayers cannot effect a cure nor ease suffering,
the supplicants should pray that the patient die, since such a wish is
for the patient's own good.

<<< While we cannot use this source to justify praying for a patient's
 death (our prayers are not as well received as they might be, and the
 ineffectiveness of our entreaties does not justify praying for the
 victim's demise) nevertheless, we can derive from here that a physician
 should not administer medicine to a patient which will neither cure him
 nor alleviate his torment but will serve only to prolong his agony. Of
 course, where the medicine will serve to prolong the patient's life and
 thereby allow us time to locate a doctor with sufficient expertise to
 cure him, then the medicine should be given despite the fact that it
 will only prolong his agony. Nor is it necessary to obtain the
 patient's consent in this matter. However, it is best to try to have
 the patient agree to this step. For to forcibly prolong his agony in
 order to gain time to bring in another physician could be dangerous to
 the sick man. However, if he refuses to cooperate towards this end
 under any circums tances, then his objections should be overridden and
 the treatment administered.

<<< This is clearly the position taken by Ramo in Yoreh Deah 339:1, when
he states that one is obliged to remove anything which might impede
death even where doing so hastens the victim's demise. The rationale for
this ruling can only be that by removing the hindrances to death one is
shortening the dying man's suffering. For in the absence of such
suffering there is no logical reason to allow removal of death
impediments. On the contrary, such impediments must be introduced where
there is no pain. It can only be to the dying man's agonies that Ramo is
addressing himself in his ruling.

<<< Even if we are to assume that the scriptural obligation of healing
does not apply where the illness is incurable and further ministrations
will only serve to prolong the suffering for hours or even days, or in a
situation where the terminally ill patient has no pain, since the verse
states "you shall heal..." without qualification, nevertheless, in the
absence of suffering why should we attempt to remove something which
impedes death? The reason can only be because the dying man experience
pain when death is hindered. Certainly, Ramo and his predecessors are
stating the law of past generations on this subject. And it is an
accurate, correct ruling. >>>

Akiva Miller


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 19:18:51 -0600
Subject: Goyim and Other Strangers

Shalom, All:

For some interesting perspectives on such words as 'goy' 'akkum' and
'nochri,' check out www.jewishencyclopedia.com.  (They spell it 'nokri,'
BTW, and translate nochri/nokri as 'stranger.')

In particular, see their take on akkum at
 where they discuss deliberate distortions of Talmudic terms to forward
anti-Semitism.  An interesting quote:

 'An instance of the extent of such misrepresentations was afforded
by Professor Rohling of Prague, who, in his pamphlet "Meine Antwort an
die Rabbinen" (1883), p. 18, had the effrontery to declare that 'Akkum in
the "Shulhan 'Aruk" is the abbreviation of 'Obed Christum u-Maria
("worshiper of Christ and Mary"). 'Akkum is, according to H. L. Strack in
article "Talmud" in Herzog's "Encyclopedia," xviii. 320, note, and
"Nathaniel," 1900, p. 128, note, not found in the oldest edition or
manuscripts of the Mishnah, Talmud, "Yad ha-Hazakah," and "Shulhan
'Aruk," but has been put there by the censors in place of the words
"Goy," "Nokri," and "Obed 'Abodah Zarah."

Kol tuv
Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2005 10:57:56 +0200
Subject: Interesting Talmudic passage

In the Talmud Yerushalmi, Ketubot Chap. 2, Halachah 6, there is a
discussion about women who had been taken captive and who might
therefore be forbidden to Kohanim. The Talmud suggests that they be sent
back to Eretz Yisrael, from where they had evidently been abducted, but
they must be escorted on the way by two men to prevent their being left
alone, for that would disqualify them from marrying Kohanim. One of the
rabbis then asked: 'How about the fact that they had been left alone
after their abduction?' Shouldn't that be enough to disqualify them from
marrying Kohanim? R' Abba b. Ba replied: 'Had these been your daughters,
would you have said the same thing?'

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 06:19:56 +0200
Subject: Orthodox History Works

I've long felt that many Orthodox so-called "history works" have a
simple credo:

They don't write history, but rather "history as it SHOULD have

That credo explains air-brushing hats onto women's heads, censoring a
book which mentioned that the Netziv had read newspapers on Shabbat,
revising Rav Zevin's statement which permitted the sale of Eretz Yisrael
land during Shemittah into a statement "by him" in the English
"translation" that it is forbidden (with the claim that "his grandson
said that he had changed his mind in his old age"), etc.

Of course, all of this is is keeping with the article a number of years
ago by a very prominent Rav that Jewish history should not be taught at
all (!), because then you have to teach it with warts and all. It is
better to use the hagiographies in which no Gadol ever did wrong, in
which every value judgement by them is "Da'at Torah" and hence
unassailable (no matter in what field and what their knowledge or lack
of it in that field is), etc.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 00:49:18 -0500
Subject: Rabbi Berel Wein

>From: Avi Feldblum
>The only conflict occurs if you view R. Wein's publications as
>History. I have always viewed them as a form of historical novels. In
>this genre the story is set in, and informs the reader of a historical
>story, but there is no assumption that everything in the story is
>real. When the plot of story demands it, liberties can be taken with the
>actual historical information. In the case of R. Wein, rather than the
>story plot demanding the deviation from best historical information, it
>is the ideological framework from within which R. Wein operates.

I beg to differ with Avi. Responsible writers of historical fiction do
extensive research to try to get the historical events right. The
fictional parts are the stories they invent to fit within the true
history. If they take deliberate freedoms with the history they then
become writers of fiction parading as history. If the objective is to to
deceive the reader in order to advance a political or ideological
agenda, this is called propaganda. If not, it may generously be regarded
as entertainment.

I am not accusing R. Wein of this, but most contemptible, in my opinion,
are those who invent, or crucially modify, holocaust stories to make
them more religiously inspiring. There are enough true stories out there
that are truly inspiring to make these uneccesary.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 06:29:01 +0200
Subject: Rabbi Wein

If I'm not mistaken, one should contact him directly with proof of
inaccuracies, rather than continuing or initiating the posts to mj.



From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 11:18:49 +0200
Subject: RE: Siddurim

"Now Baer's siddur does have the above reading (Uvinimah kedoshah),
which appears to be the old German minhag, as opposed to the
Polish/Eastern European (and Sephardi) variation which appears to be
taking over here (in Eretz Yisroel)."

Now that we can do the research without leaving the computer, it seems
reasonable to check the sources before posting.  In the 1691 Frankfurt
siddur I referred to recently (with a URL site) the vocalization is
"kedusha", the noun.  Rashi to Isaiah 6:3 explains the meaning of
"kedusha kulam ke-ehad `onim..."  Though Baer questions the authenticity
of this Rashi, he himself quotes a Tosafot that says a similar thing.

Of course, the vocalization "ne`ima kedosha" also has good sources, but
the issue has nothing to do with the differences between Polish and
German minhagim.

As for Baer, his text "kedosha" reflects, not a tradition, but his
decision to follow Satanov's siddur "Vaye'tar Yitzhak", as you will see
if you look at his discussion.  Incidentally, Baer's decision (not
tradition) to give "shelo `asani nokhri" instead of "goy" is also an
instance of following "Vaye`tar Yitzhak."  This siddur has a number of
questionable emendations and does not reflect tradition.  (There was an
uproar in the haredi world some time ago about the text "morid hagashem"
(instead of "geshem") when the claim was made that Satanov, who started
"gashem", was a "maskil" and not to be relied upon at all--all I'm
saying is that a number of the things in Baer come from Satanov and are
as reliable as the latter.)  Singer, of course, follows Baer.  Baer has
an argument against "kedusha" which I find entirely inconclusive.  His
citation of Avudraham (who gives "kedosha) is entirely appropriate, but
Avudraham is not the Ashkenaz tradition at all.

I have the feeling that what is really behind Baer's preference for
kedosha is his "Biblicizing" tendency--his tendency to delegitimize
Mishnaic Hebrew and to institute Biblical Hebrew phrases in place of MH.
In BH, kedusha of course does not mean the prayer ("kadosh, kadosh,
kadosh" etc.), but "sanctity."

In summation, much of what is in Baer (and hence :Singer) is not the
original German minhag at all, but emendations of the text without real
authority and with scant knowledge of "leshon hakhamim."  I cite as a
final example, Baer's "lehanniah tefillin" (patah) rather than "lehoniah
tefillin" (kometz), which is a real hutzpah, since the Shulhan Arukh
goes out of its way to say that the former is wrong.


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2005 10:23:19 +0200
Subject: Re:  U'va le-Tzion

     Some time ago someone asked why we use the phrase "Gd of Abraham
Isaac and Israel" in the U'va le-Tzion prayer, rather than the more
usual ".... and of Jacob."  The above phrase is used by Eliyahu in his
prayer on Mt Carmel in the famous confrontation with the prophets of
Baal in 1 Kings 18:36, which is a very important moment in this
prophet's life.

    (And, BTW, is beautifully set to music in Mendelssohn's Elijah
oratorio, which has been recorded among others by the late Paul

     Jonathan Chipman


End of Volume 47 Issue 46