Volume 55 Number 52
                    Produced: Fri Aug 24 10:43:40 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A 3rd Picture of the Chofetz Chaim
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Can moral debt trump other things?
Conversational Hebrew and languages for that matter
         [Ephi Dardashti]
The history and meaning of the word Yeshiva
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Rav Breuer on uvshovchbecha
         [David Curwin]


From: Sammy Finkelman <finkelmanm@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 19:32:39 -0400
Subject: A 3rd Picture of the Chofetz Chaim

the book, Giants of Jewry by Aharon Surasky

Copyright (C) 1982 by S. Tress, Distributed by CHINUCH PUBLICATIONS
48 Twelfth Street, Lakewood N.J. 08701, (201)-363-3980

It says Volume One

The Brooklyn Public Library catralogs this at 296.0922 S and says this
book is a translation from the Hebrew but I can find no such indication
in the book.

This book has a picture of the Chofetz Chaim on page 253 (besides the
most common one, which is on the dust jacket cover)

The mirror image of this photo- I don't know which way is right - was
printed in the Jan 2004 issue of the Jewish Observer.

The caption in the book says: The Chofetz Chaim at 91, when he visited
the Polish Prime Minister.

It was probably copied a number of times. His beard is partly hidden by
his coat, and it is very grainy or enlarged. This is probably a 3rd or
later generation photograph of a photograph. Maybe somebody else could
tell something about this photograph.


From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2007 21:15:28 -0400
Subject: Can moral debt trump other things?

A person A has his life or his child's life in severe danger and a
stranger S saves it.  This is undisputed.

Then A learns that S has been found guilty of murder by a USA criminal
court, or a by a Halachic court in a Halachic Israel, and is supposed to
be in jail, or maybe executed.  S says that he is innocent, or doesn't
say that.

Does A owe S a debt such that A should (or may) help S escape recapture
and imprisonment and maybe execution?

This was the theme of every episode of "The Fugitive", but I've never
heard it discussed from a Halachic pov.

What if S only saved A from a serious property loss, but he risked his
life or risked recapture to do it?  What if A is convinced that S really
didn't kill anyone?  Is there such a thing as a "moral debt" and what is
that called in Hebrew?



From: Ephi Dardashti <ephidardashti@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 13:32:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Conversational Hebrew and languages for that matter

I have been following the discussions regarding the teaching of
conversational Hebrew with great interest.  It is validating to read
that I am not the only one with these concerns.

I find it interesting that children going to a "communal Jewish" or
public schools after only one year of Latin, know the grammar so well
that they score high marks in national exams. Yet, children after 12
plus years of " Orthodox" or for that matter "communal Jewish" education
do not know the difference between the binyanim let alone conversational

The problem in my opinion has three roots:
1- Low expectations of Orthodox parents when it comes to Hebrew and for
that matter other languages in our schools,
2- Staff not equipped to teach the language or languages,
3- Administrators who hide behind the fig leaf of "the demands" of our
schools as an excuse for not producing students who are ignorant in
Hebrew or other languages.

The problems goes even further, I have the privaledge of studying Eyn
Yaakov with a havrute.  There is a text out there with great
explanations of Eyn Yaakov. The text is in Hebrew and it is FULL of
grammatical errors. Where was the rav educated? Where were the editors?

Sorry, languages are just not a priority for the Orthodox environment.



From: Sammy Finkelman <finkelmanm@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 19:38:25 -0400
Subject: The history and meaning of the word Yeshiva

The book, Giants of Jewry by Aharon Surasky also has an Appendix,
entitled "What's a Yeshiva"

This goes into the meaning or the changes in the meaning and usage of
the word Yeshiva (because a lonbg time ago, in Europe, it meant
something else than it means in the United States in the last generation
or two)

It says in the old days it had only one menaing: A place where mature
men studied Torah all day. That's the meaning in the Mishnah.

In Aramaic, (Targum Lashon, Bavel) the word Mesivta was used for the
same thing, and that was thw word used in Babylonia all the way till the
time of the Geonim - 1,000 years.

That was the kind of Yeshiva that the Yeshiva in Volozhin was, the one
founded in the early 1800s and closed down in 1892. In that kind of
Yeshiva nothing else is studied but Torah.

There is a word for a preparatory school for younger students, who, upon
completion, are ready to enter a Yeshiva. The term for that is Yeshiva
Ketana. It can also be called a Mechina. The original Yeshiva is then
called a Yeshiva Gedola.

That is the terminology in use in Eretz Yisroel today (1982) it
says. The age of 16 or 17 separates the Yehsiva students from the
mechina students.  who enroll in the mechina at about the age of 13.

A school that taught students from Aleph Beis to Bar Mitzvah was called
a Cheider. Also a Talmud Torah. It says many sages said these students
had to be taught not only Chumash and some introductory Gemora but also
Halocha. This was because many students joined the workforce at this
point, at the age of 13 or 14. (Those who could afford to, or were
determined continued past that and even past their marriage. You might
say some of the rarest cases are chronicled in teh book.)

And these terms also (Cheider and Talmud Torah) it says are used in
Eretz Yisroel today (1982) exactly the way they were in Europe.

But in the United States the term Talmud Torah was misapplied. It was
used for a school that was a mere shadow of the Cheider - where students
who were in public school wer taught only in the afternoon (and usually
we all know, not too much)

When day schools began to multiply in the United States, the term
Yeshiva ketana was used for students in the same age group, to
distinguish them from the "Talmud Torah"s

And then the term Yeshiva was used for any religious educational
instutution "where the emphasis was on Yiddishkeit more than on secular

When Yeshiva high schools added Batey Midrashim for full-time Jewi'h
studies after High School, that was the old time Yeshiva.

Now (1982) there is a trend , it says, toward desecularization on the
high school level, so that the original Yeshiva ketana or Mechina in the
original sense of the terms "will soon....restore the original glory of
the Torah."


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 17:31:17 +0300
Subject: Rav Breuer on uvshovchbecha

In my continued quest to find out the story behind the shva na / shva
nach in the word uvshovchbecha in Sh'ma, I happened to come across a
Chumash with Siddur published by Chorev, using the edition of Rav Breuer
z"l. Rav Breuer had a long introduction, and in it mentioned something
about this issue.  However, I wasn't able to look at the book long
enough to understand his exact intent. Does anyone have this Chumash and
could look through the introduction? I think it was mentioned toward the
end, in the section on "exceptions", but I'm not 100% sure.

David Curwin


End of Volume 55 Issue 52