Volume 56 Number 15
                    Produced: Thu Dec 27 20:13:27 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Intermarriage, Assimilation and Non Jewish Female Resonsibility
         [Russell J Hendel]
Intermarriage, Assimilation and Responsibilities of Non Jewish women
         [Frank Silbermann]
Redemption of Captives
         [Dr. Josh Backon]
         [Yehonatan Chipman]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 08:17:20 -0500
Subject: Intermarriage, Assimilation and Non Jewish Female Resonsibility

Let me make my position clearer and explicit.

I am explicitly assuming that there is NO DIFFERENCE between the Moabite
overtures to Jewish men and American overtures to Jewish men. More

(a) I hold both men and woman responsibile (So by Moab the men were
executed in Jewish courts while the nation of the women, Moab, received
a declaration of war--by America Jewish men are violating various
excision commandments while Non-Jewish woman are violating what I
suggested are obligations to respect national religious borders - I am
blaiming both)

(b) I agree that AMerican woman are not interested in religion but just
want to have some fun or meet some caring people. BUt I insist that the
same is true for Moab. If Janet wants to break to me that religion is
not a primary factor in relationships then I will break to her that it
was always like that. People always wanted fun and caring and there were
always those who got "trapped" in an arranged marriage. The majority
didnt care about religion.

Let me put it another way: The same arguments used against me (accusing
me of thinking that American women are aggressors) can be used against
those who disagree with me since in effect they are saying "Well God
declared war on Moab and that PROVES that the Moabite women were
aggressors and bad people. This is circular reasoning. The Moabite women
were not different than their American counterparts. If a war was
decreeed it was done because there is an obligation on noachides to
respect national and religious borders.

(c) I agree that it is absurd to blaim American woman for the Jewish
assimilation more than we blaim American men. But what I suggested (Go
back and read what I said) is that it is equally absurd to exclusively
blaim Jewish men. I suggested some type of sharing blaim

I dont know if this thread will continue but at the very least I would
like to be quoted on what I said

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


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2007 07:59:53 -0600
Subject: Intermarriage, Assimilation and Responsibilities of Non Jewish women

Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...> in v56#10:
> I had mentioned that the seduction by Moabite women of Jewish men
> (Nu24,25) that led to a declaration of war on Moab justified the
> Rambam's assertion that a non-jewish woman who had an affair with a
> jewish man should be executed.

I may have not paid attention to the initial post, but what _exactly_
did Rambam advocate, and in what context?  And what justification, if
any, did the Rambam offer?  Given that we don't pasken by the Rambam,
what was the response of other Rishonim?

I don't know the Rambam you speak of, but if this statement were issued
in a general context then I cannot imagine that this can be anything
more than the kind of hyperbole in which masturbation is "likened to"
murder (but never vice-versa).

> Several postings in Vol56 (#93,#94) by Bernie and Frank raised some
> interesting questions:
> (a)Do gentiles have a halachic obligation to promote Yiddishkeit? (b)
> In the vast majority of cases, the non-Jewish woman has no interest in
> or awareness of her impact on the "Jewish people". (c) Are you
> suggesting that gentile women are persistently trying to seduce
> Orthodox men, ignoring their pleas to be left alone?
> Note: These are not questions on my posting but rather questions on why
> there was a declaration of war on Moab. The Jews were in a place called
> SHITIM possibly from the Hebrew word STH to SWIM. It was sort of a BEACH
> resort. The Bible relates that they had parties and intimate
> relationships began. This is NOT much different from an American beach
> scene. I would argue that most of the Moabite women involved were not
> interested in destroying the Jewish people - they were responding to an
> opportunity to have some fun with a people known as being caring and
> charitable. I do not believe that the gentile women were being overly
> persistent or ignoring pleas to be left alone.

I have been taught that when Bilaam was unable to curse the Jewish
people, he thought of a way to get the Jewish people to curse
themselves, and counseled Moab on this strategy, which in turn
instructed the women in this tactic (and that this is the reason Bilaam
is considered to have been wicked, and why he was later killed).

Are you citing an alternative interpretation, and if so, then whose?  Or
are you rejecting the standard interpretation to write your own Midrash?

> The question then arises: If the men participated why declare war on
> Moab? True the government was against the Jews but the government did
> not use weapons of destruction - it simply mingled the men and women,
> let nature take her course, and assumed that the resulting unions
> would prevent a military attack on Moab by the Jews (Which was what
> Moab was afraid of).

How do you know the government merely mingled the men and women to let
nature take its course?  Unless you have an extremely promiscuous
population to begin with -- a degree of promiscuity that I have not seen
on a large scale in _any_ nation (not even in the hip-hop culture) --
nature is not going to take its course that quickly.  (It's sort of like
saying that if you allow your daughter to attend a coed NCSY meeting at
shul, by the end of the evening she'll surely be fornicating on the
bimah.  I don't think even the Gerer chassidim actually believe this.)

> It would seem that a logical conclusion (at least according to
> Maimonides' point of view) is that BESIDES the 7 laws of Noach there
> are other obligations that Noachides have. While we don't attempt to
> convert non-Jews they are suppose to be respectful of national and
> religious borders.  > This is a novel view but I dont see any other
> way to defend the declaration of war (even if you say the Moabity
> women were "agressive" that still doesnt justify a war...true, rape is
> prohibited by the 7 laws of Noach--but seduction and female pushiness
> is not so prohibited--the question remains how can you declare war
> when no crime has been done!!!!).

No one denied that seduction and female pushiness motivated by a
strategy to cause the downfall of the Jewish people is a crime.
However, very little of today's intermarriage today is the result of
gentile women's seduction and female pushiness; if anything, the Jewish
men are pursuing the gentile women.  (At least, that's the way it was
when I was in college, and most Jewish boys who participated usually had
to work pretty hard at it.)

> A few years ago I pointed out that Dt31-12 seems to imply that
> noachides must listen to the reading of the Torah by the king in the
> seven year cycle "in order that they fear God."  It would seem that
> Noachides have an obligation to believe in prophecy (otherwise how
> could they observe the 7 laws of Noach as Gods will). Thus there are
> other "noachide" laws besides the big 7 and this matter requires
> further investigation.

I believe the people you are referring to have the status of Ger Toshav
-- gentiles living withing the Jewish theocracy who do not become full
converts.  Obviously, such people have an obligation to respect the laws
placed on them by the community in which they live.

It seems equally obviousl to me that gentiles living in their own lands
have no obligation to listen to the reading of the Torah by a Jewish
king in the seven year cycle in order that they fear God.  (To suggest
otherwise would be reminiscent of the Islamic position that all infidels
throughout the entire world are obligated to accept Islamic rulership.)

> Finally I point out the intellectual aspects of this law. If we say
> that non-Jewesses are NOT liable for who they are intimate with

I assume you mean beyond the general idea that sexual promiscuity is bad.

> with it would follow that American Jewry might God forbid assimilate
> and we would not blame anyone--after all it is our own fault for
> participating.

That's right.  Just as we do not hold the butcher at A&P guilty when he
allows a Reform Jew to purchase treif meat.

> My point here is that American woman must have some responsibility on
> who they consort with.

Though we are forbidden to consort with them, it seems to me that a
well-meaning attraction to holy people on their part would reflect a
praiseworthy quality -- sort of like that of Ishmael's mother Hagar.  We
are told was an Egyption princess, who preferred to be the slave of
Abraham's family than to be part of the royalty of Egypt.

Frank Silbermann                Memphis, Tennessee


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2007 16:59:11 +0200
Subject: Redemption of Captives

>I don't know if this as been discussed on the list before, but what
>does the halacha say about releasing murderers in exchange for the
>freeing of an captive Israeli?

                         REDEMPTION OF CAPTIVES

On the one hand, halacha (Yoreh Deah 252) holds that Pidyon Shevuyim is
the highest mitzva. Needless to say this refers to live humans who are
being mistreated. Rambam (Hilchot Matanot Aniyim 8:10) indicates this as
those who are starving, in tatters). On the other hand, we have the case
of Maharam mi'Rottenberg who forbade his disciples from ransoming him
from jail (7 years) and from ransoming his body (14 years) to prevent
blackmail of the Jewish community.

The gemara in Gittin 45a indicates that captives are not redeemed for
more than their value (see also the sugya in Ketuvot 52a). unless they
are in mortal danger (Tosafot Gittin 58a d"h kol mamon). And even in
this scenario, if this will engender a cycle of more Jews being held
captive, then it is not permitted to redeem the captive.

So certainly it is absolutely forbidden to release terrorists (hundreds
of them) to release one Jewish captive. And all this refers to redeeming
a civilian.

As for redeeming a captive soldier, there is no question that it is
categorically forbidden to do so if this would entail releasing hundreds
of terrorists who would pose an immediate danger to the community.  A
soldier is required not only to risk his own life but to endanger his
life to save others. Even a civilian is required to do this (topic is
discussed in Choshen Mishpat 426:1). Although the Yerushalmi indicates
that a person MUST place himself in a *possible* risk in order to save
someone else, see the SM"A there that this isn't brought down since most
Rishonim didn't hold this way. However, the Pitchei Tshuva CM 426 s"k 2
indicates that although a potential rescuer should evaluate risks, he
shouldn't be overly cautious. More relevant is the Tzitz Eliezer XIII
100 who rules that in time of war, one may take extraordinary risks in
order to save others.  Rav Elyashiv in his Kovetz Tshuvot #124 (re:
doctors' obligation to treat everyone any time of day or night) states
that one must undergo pain and suffering in order to save the life of
someone else (he does mention the Rambam in Sefer Hamitzvot Lo Taaseh
#297 and the SM"A in CM 426 quoting the Yerushalmi).

Dr. Josh Backon
[That's Captain Josh (Medical Corps) who rose up in the ranks]


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2007 21:30:46 +0200
Subject: Tahanun

    Someone asked how Hasidism, as a movement that "favors religious
emotion" in general, could try to avoid Tahanun.

    The essence of the thing is that Hasidut draws a greta deal on
Kabbalah, for whom Tahanun is in some sense spiritually "dangerous."
This idae connects with the idea that Tahanun is literally a moment of
mesirat nefesh: that one is ready to die for Kiddush Hashem at that
moment.  (See on this notion, for example, R. Elimelekh of Lizhensk's
"Tzettel Katan" at the beginning of "Noam Elimelekh").  For that reason
Tahanun is not recited at night, not even at Minhah once one is on the
cusp of the sheki'ah, so to speak.  Some Hasidim, like Habad, follow the
classic Sephardic minhag of reciting Psalm 25 ("eilekha Hashem nafshi
esa..."), which expresses the above idea, as Nefilat Apayim, rather that
Psalm 6 ("Rahum vehanun") as do most Ashkenazim.  And, since this
requires a certain spiritual strength, there was a tendency to minimize
it when possible.

    Another reason: some years ago I was puzzled by the rather curious
minhag in my (then) new shul, the "Hildesheimer St." shul in Jerusalem,
of not saying Tahanun on Friday mornings.  I threw out the question to
this list, and among the answers I received was that if one took
Tahanun, and the accompanying Viddui, with proper seriousness, one would
go into Shabbat feeling depressed!

   I also wrote something about Tahanun once, which I'd be happy to send
to anyone who contacts me off-line.

   Yehonatan Chipman (Jerusalem)


End of Volume 56 Issue 15