Volume 51 Number 26
                    Produced: Fri Feb 17  5:47:27 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Idolaters and Hindus
         [Russell J Hendel]
Wearing Jackets to Prayer/Clothing to Tefillah (3)
         [I. Balbin, Akiva Miller, Bill Coleman]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2006 12:10:42 -0500
Subject: RE: Idolaters and Hindus

RE: Meylech's citation of Rabbi Leibtag

As R. Menachem Liebtag says: "In other words, in Bnei Yisrael's eyes,
the EGEL is not a REPLACEMENT for God, rather a REPRESENTATION of His
Presence!"  This explains, to some extent, what seems otherwise
inconceivable -- that so soon after getting the Torah, the Jews would be
rejecting Hashem by taking on a different god; the answer is that they

"And GOD SPOKE TO MOSHE: Hurry down, for your people have acted basely
["ki shi'chet amcha"]... they have turned astray from the way that I
commanded them [see 20:20!] - they made an "egel masecha" [a
representation of Me]...

God's first statement describes the act that began with good intentions
but was nonetheless forbidden [see Shmot 20:20 -"lo ta'asun iti e-lohei
kesef..." ]. Although this sin requires rebuke and forgiveness (see
32:30), it was not severe enough to warrant the destruction of the
entire Nation. (End of citation)

I am not disputing that the Golden calf was a representation of God (In
fact some say it was a representation of the "ox" in Ezekiels vision).
That is, we agree on the reality that this was a replacement. We however
disagree on on the classification of the sin---I believe the essence of
Idolatry is having a physical representation of a Deity. The fact that
this can degenerate into simply worshipping idols without thinking about
the Deity is irrelevant. I have strong support for this FROM THE
BIBLICAL TEXT. Meylech cites Rabbi Leibtag that "this is a base action
but does not warrant destruction [of the whole nation]" But Moses call
for war and the execution of 3000 says otherwise...these people were
tried for Idolatry (Which is a capital crime)

Furthermore in my last posting I explain WHY. WHY should worshipping a
physical representation of the one God be idolatry--after all you are
thinking about God! The answer is that once you get physical you get
physical in other ways....ALL physical representations of God tend
sooner or later to become associated with sexual rituals. So there is a
reason for classifying this as idolatry.

Finally with regard to Frank's comments (in the same digest). If the
essence of idolatry is physical representation then it should equally
apply to bnei noach. In general when discussing Rishonim I prefer to
discuss reasons rather than authority. The issue is not whether we
pasken by Rambam but why he says what he does and why others differ.

We have to ask: What is Idolatry? What is the underlying essence which
makes it a capital crime. If that essence is "getting physical" then it
applies equally to Non Jews and Jews and it is irrelevant what Rishon we
are talking about. IF there are Rishonim WHO seem to say differently we
have to at least (proper halahchik proceedure) explain WHAT these
rishonim consider as idolatry.

Russell Jay Hendel;http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: I. Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 10:19:52 +1100
Subject: Re: Wearing Jackets to Prayer/Clothing to Tefillah

> From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
> In my WEEKLY RASHI digest this week(and in my Rashi is simple) I cite
> Rashi who in turn (in Deut Verse 1 of Vethchanan) cites a Sifre that
> there are 10 words to describe prayer. I suggest that each word
> connotes a different situation/response to prayer.  For example you
> SCREAM to God when you are in deep trouble (This weeks parshah). You
> seek GRACE from God when you want a favor you dont deserve
> (Vethchanan). You STAND YOUR GROUND in prayer when you are trying to
> understand the rationality of Gods justice (Abraham). etc

> But then wearing a coat would only be an appropriate response in those
> prayers whose situation requires it. Surely if you seek GRACE from GOD
> or STAND YOUR GROUND you dress up. But if you scream in pain it
> wouldnt make sense to dress up.

I don't find this reasoning compelling.

a) We don't have a Mesorah to dress based on the mood/intention/approach
of the intended T'filla and if we have no such Mesora LeHalocho, the
thesis is simply wrong. [It would also imply that Chassidim who want to
have a BeSimcha type of Davening should be colorfully dressed? and
Misnagdim who want to wail and cry be dressed in all black :-)]

b) A person can have more than one approach/motivation/need to T'filla
and indeed, if the T'filla has an affect ON the person he may actually
metamorphise *during* it anyway. Should we change in the middle of
davening based on how it progresses for us

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 13:20:55 GMT
Subject: RE: Wearing Jackets to Prayer/Clothing to Tefillah

Stuart Pilichowski wrote:
> I am certain that if I were to meet King Abdullah often I
> would also become more familiar and not make the effort to
> "dress up" as I did for the first meeting. I think this is
> human nature.

I agree that this is human nature. Also known as "laziness".

If someone (or Someone) is important enough to dress up for, then the
frequency of such meetings should be irrelevant.

(Disclaimer: I do not wear my very best three times a day when I meet
with G-d, but it is for reasons other than the ones described by the
poster here.)

Akiva Miller

From: Bill Coleman <wbcoleman@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 11:24:43 -0600
Subject: RE: Wearing Jackets to Prayer/Clothing to Tefillah

Does anyone happen to know what Natan Scharansky (IMHO one of the
greatest Jews of the twentieth century) wore in December, 2004, when he
had a ninty minute private meeting with President Bush?


End of Volume 51 Issue 26