Volume 59 Number 79 
      Produced: Sun, 14 Nov 2010 15:12:28 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

"Ho Chi Minh Yeshivot" (was "Electricity on Shabbat") 
    [Carl Singer]
Another shabbat question 
    [Leah S.R. Gordon]
Changing psak / practices / observance (3)
    [Gershon Dubin  Joel Rich  Bernard Raab]
Chaz"al about the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach? 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Halacha for Special Agents (2)
    [Yisrael Medad  Menashe Elyashiv]
Humming research 
    [Leah S.R. Gordon]
Pikuach nefesh on Shabbat 
    [Meir Wise]
Stipends for Torah students 
    [David Tzohar]
The frumkeit of our generation (6)
    [Yisrael Medad  Eli Turkel  Stuart Wise  Akiva Miller  Carl Singer  Martin Stern]


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: "Ho Chi Minh Yeshivot" (was "Electricity on Shabbat")

Meir Shinnar (MJ 59#78) notes:

> In 1971-2, while at Columbia, I learned at a yeshiva (one of  the  Ho Chi
> Minh yeshivot, whose contributions to growth of Torah in America have been
> undervalued :-) - (I was the only one in the school not there for a draft
> deferment.....).

As someone who chose to serve the country that took me in as a refugee I've
always had strong feelings about this situation.  Although I had never heard
the term "Ho Chi Minh Yeshivot" I'd often heard that more young men got smicha
because of Vietnam than because of Moishe Rabbainu & Sinai.

Would anyone care to discuss the halachic aspects?


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Another shabbat question

Ok, so we have discussed going to the hospital on shabbat.  But what about
being discharged from the hospital on shabbat?  Obviously we would like to
avoid this.  For a long time, I thought there could be no 'pikuach nefesh'
about *leaving* the hospital.  But then I thought of two possibilities:

1. You might be clearing a space for the next patient who needs life-saving

2. The longer one stays in the hospital, the greater the risk of various

What might be some of the issues that could mitigate the breaking of shabbat
in terms of signing discharge papers, getting a ride home, paying for care,
etc.?  When we got a delivery of a dresser that came on shabbat, I told the
delivery guy that I couldn't sign it and he didn't care that much.  I have a
feeling that signing a hospital discharge is taken more seriously....

And what if the situation is that it's not ok to break shabbat to be
discharged?  What would you do in practice?  Is it like being stuck in an
airport on shabbat?

Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Changing psak / practices / observance

Ben Katz writes (MJ 59#78) in reply to Deborah Wenger(MJ 59#76):

>> However, I have seen many rabbis pasken that if you're invited to a 
>> simcha during (1) if you hold (2) or vice versa, it's OK to go. This 
>> essentially reduces Sefirah to just the period between Rosh Chodesh Iyar
>> to Lag Ba-Omer.
> It is OK to go, but you must observe the full "other" sefirah.  The kula
> (easement) here is that you can switch minhagim (customs) for 1 year to go
> to a simchah.  This was a famous teshuva (responsum) of Rav Moshe Feinstein,
>  I believe in the early 70's.

If I remember correctly, the person getting married must observe whatever minhag
of sefira fits with his wedding date, but anyone attending need not change their
minhag as a consequence.


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Changing psak / practices / observance

Ben Katz said (MJ 59 #78) in reply to Deborah Wenger (MJ 59#76):

>> These days, though, people seem to choose to observe Sefirah either

>> (1) from Pesach to Lag Ba-Omer or
>> (2) from Rosh Chodesh Iyar until the end of Sefirah. 

>> However, I have seen many rabbis pasken that if you're invited to a 
>> simcha during (1) if you hold (2) or vice versa, it's OK to go. This 
>> essentially reduces Sefirah to just the period between Rosh Chodesh Iyar to
>> Lag Ba-Omer.

> It is OK to go, but you must observe the full "other" sefirah.  The kula
> (easement) here is that you can switch minhagim (customs) for 1 year to go
> to a simchah.  This was a famous teshuva (responsum) of Rav Moshe Feinstein,
> I believe in the early 70's.

Consult your local Orthodox Rabbi but, as I understand it, R' Moshe Feinstein
(Iggrot Moshe O"C 1:159) is pretty clear that you don't have to switch minhagim
- as long as it's OK for the Chatan and Kallah based on their practice, you can
go in current circumstances (i.e. the whole town doesn't have 1 minhag)

Joel Rich

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Changing psak / practices / observance

A number of posters have commented on the trend toward easing restrictions for
this period. I have noticed a distinct trend in this direction in my lifetime,
even to the extent of receiving a heter from my LOR to attend a concert during
this period which was part of our subsciption series. In earlier years it was
noteworthy that some rav gave a heter to listen to music in your car, ostensibly
to keep you awake while driving. I think it inevitable that the power of
mourning the deaths of R. Akiva's talmidim will acquire less urgency in an era
of such terrible losses to Jewish life as we have experienced and continue to be
threatened with on a regular basis. At least that is how I rationalize it.

Bernie R.


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Chaz"al about the man the Xtrians believe is Mashiach?

David Ziants wrotr (MJ 59#77):

> The main reason why I wanted to bring the subject up again, and share this
> link, is because I was very impressed with the presentation and layout there.

> The link is:-

> http://www.angelfire.com/mt/talmud/jesusnarr.html

I never saw this before, but I found out some more. There is a related page
which this links to:


which gives a different e-mail address, and that e-mail address leads to what
probably is the original home page:


which contains a number of articles on the Talmud, not just these two.

The web page was set up to rebut lies attacks on the Talmud and only goes
slightly beyond that.

> The analysis was written by Gil Student, and on searching the MJ archives,
> I saw that he has some postings on mail-jewish (on other topics) from quite
> a while ago. Thus I will try and CC this posting to the email address that
> is given on his page.

Gil Student must have used angelfire to post things to wider audience. This is
before he set up his blog Hirhurim in March 2004. He surely can be reached
through his blog.

The archives of the old blog are at


and the new one is at


although it is also called Hirhurim and carries all posts back to the beginning.
The software was changed in 2008 but he was not able to transfer the comments to
the new blog I think so they have two different e-mail addresses. This also
preserves old links.

Around 2008 the two copies of the posts have different comments.The old blog has
a couple of technical updates past when he basically stopped using it.

It is not as easy to read the posts as before because now he has capsule
summaries of each post on the main page and you have to click a link to find out
more while before he had most of the posts entirely on the home page (but not

Gil Student has collected some of his blog posts into a book (edited in light of
comments and later thoughts of course) and his intention is to have a series of
books. I was at part of a meeting where he invited the public on July 7, 2010.
He has a business card that reads Blogging Torah since 2004. He started a
publishing house called Yashar Books which published Nathan Slifkin and other
books that were dropped by other publishers and he is now the Managing Editor of
OU Press.

> Each passage in turn is analysed methodologically, and the conclusions are
> presented at the end

It looks very good. It sort of pulls together everything that has been said.

I was surprised to read "When I refer to Bill, am I talking about the President
of the United States, the billionaire founder of Microsoft, or a local
celebrity? " but this was written in the year 2000.

> (I should note that an anonymous author of another page from which I reached
> this link stated "Although I am not sure what version he used for this study,
> the points are spot-on", the unsureness of version possibly implying that he
> might have quoted from Talmud editions that have some textual inaccuracies.
> Gil Student mentions the actual editions he uses at the bottom of the page,
> so maybe someone can verify whether there is any basis for this possible
> implication.)

Gil Student for the Hebrew seems to have used an electronic edition of the
Talmud. It might be the Soncino CD-ROM. No question he came to his original
conclusions from other copies and even mentions that one word is only in 1 of 4

> One of the ideas in the conclusions, that the Xtrians built their figure and
> his story around a student of R. Yehoshua Ben Perachiah (transforming the
> characters in time to support their chronology), does make a bit of sense to
> me, and I don't understand why this doesn't seem to be more accepted among
> historians.

Well, that would be a problem for some people.

The Ramban only very obliquely mentioned this idea - that this person lived over
100 years before.

What might be a little more likely is that they had very few biographical facts
about the man Paul of Tarsus built a religion around and he was confused with
another person, although Gil Student doesn't sem to think so - what he seems to
think that all the censored references in the Talmud are actually to one of two
other people and the Talmud says nothing about him at all. The news to me here
is that the censored passages in the Talmud may pertain to two different


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Halacha for Special Agents

Avraham Walfish comes closest in MJ 59#78 to the hidden agenda element in the
discussion which Russel (MJ 59#77) has been forcing that I thought was apparent
and maybe
wasn't: does the Halacha framework operate differently when a different Jewish
existence is being dealt with or, to use the Kookian theme: Torat Chutz La'Aretz
vs. Torat Eretz Yisrael.

Does the state of Israel obligate its (Jewish) citizens to adopt different modes
of halachic behavior than those of Brooklyn, Golders Green or Buenos Aires in
what would appear are similar circumstances, except for what Avi Walfish pointed

> Both the evaluation of what constitutes a threat and the halakhic requirements
> accruing therefrom are assessed differently in the private and the national
> arena.


From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Halacha for Special Agents

Shimon Reem has published a book (in Hebrew) called "Women POWs in the 
Independance war". He interviewed many of those still alive from the 96 POW. 
81 in Jordan, 8 in Syria, 7 in Egypt. Some for a month, some up to a year. 
This was never studied or documented. Most were captured in Gush Etsion, a 
few in Mishmar Hayarden. The book was reviewed in Makor Rishon, 1 October. 
The reviewer wrote about three women, whom the Arab soldiers tried to 
rape. Each one was saved, by some higher ranking soldier, in some cases 
European helpers serving with the arabs.

Is this not a mild case of putting one self in rape danger? Is a combat 
women soldier not in danger? It is less danger than an agent, but it is a 
possible danger.


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Humming research

In MJ 59#78, Josh Backon writes:

> In a recent post on Mail-Jewish, I had written (re: learning to a
> tune): See Pirkei Avot 6:6 on *arichat sefatayim*.
> The MAHARAL in Derech Chaim 6th Perek indicates that learning by reciting
> out loud "mo'il l'havanat ha'davar heitev" (greatly benefits learning). It just
> dawned on me that HUMMING may be the key factor. Humming was found in 2002
> to ..... It would be intriguing if someone on Mail-Jewish in academia
> (education or special education) would be willing to test this hypothesis.
> It will make a great doctoral dissertation for your grad students.

The problem with this educational research is that I would feel positively
homicidal listening to all that humming from my students! And we're
supposed to be avoiding grudges apropos the other thread in the same



From: Meir Wise <meirhwise@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Pikuach nefesh on Shabbat

I am surprised by Ari Trachtenberg's criticism of my posting (MJ 59#77). I
merely wrote that "ANYONE who delays in a case of safek pikuach nefesh is an
ignoramus and guilty of standing idly by the blood of his neighbour." The basis
is chapter two of Hilchot Shabbat in the Rambam. 

I stand by every word.

I might add that the Beis Halevi called his son Reb Hayyim Brisker an "am
ha'aretz" [ignoramus] for hesitating to bring a light for the doctor to examine
his son's infected throat on Shabbat!

Rabbi Wise


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Stipends for Torah students

In (MJ 59#78) Jeanett Friedman brought an article which proposed that full
time Torah students support themselves via their own labor. The idea that
full time Torah students who learn 45 hours a week can support themselves
with a part time job is pure demagoguery.

I learn approximately 40 hour a week for which I get a stipend of 780
shekels. I also have a job as a mashgiach (kashrut supervisor) for which I am
paid 1,850 shekels a month. To live on such an income means to live in
abject poverty. Thank G-d we have other sources of income.

The protest of the students is the hight of hypocrisy. In a former life I
was a University student and I know that post-graduate students in subjects
such as Talmud are supported by government grants.

ls only traditional Torah study unworthy of public support? If the Jewish
state thinks that is important to have Torah scholars it must be willing to help
support them.
David Tzohar


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: The frumkeit of our generation

David Tzohar in MJ 59#78 would have us cast doubt as to the truth of two
Talmudic assertions, which he defines as "Aggadita (non-halachic talmudic
literature)" rather than "literal historical truth" insisting that we can only
learn "Torah outlook, Mussar and Yir'at Shamayim from aggatita and midrash, not

That is an interesting take, which, at the click of a computer key, I am not
quite ready to expound on.  Nevertheless, my/beis-midresh/ gut-feeling is that

(a) most Orthodox Jews would automatically reject that separation of "historical
truth" from Jewish sources;

(b) I am not quite sure (and will have to review) whether those statements I
noted were Aggada;

(c) and to write "According to historians, literacy was not widespread until
much later", is according to David's framework contradistinctive and
contradictory to itself.


From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: The frumkeit of our generation

David Tzohar (MJ 59#78) writes

> Yisrael Medad (MJ 59#77) brought two talmudic sources to prove that the
> generations of King Hezkia and the Tannaim were greater in learning than
> ours.
> This would be true if you are of the opinion that Aggadita (non-halachic
> talmudic literature) is literal historical truth. We learn Torah outlook,
> Mussar and Yir'at Shamayim from aggatita and midrash, not history. According
> to historians literacy was not widespread until much later.

I don't see any contradiction between the two statements. Saying that the tannaim
were greater than we are says absolutely nothing about their generation which
may have been 99% illiterate. No one claims that everyone who lived in the middle
ages or in the days of Chizkiya was a major talmid chacham. Those who were in
the chain of mesorah were closer to the traditions and so knew more.

Eli Turkel

From: Stuart Wise <Smwise3@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: The frumkeit of our generation

David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...> writes (MJ 59#77):

> Mr. Wise  also bemoans the lack of gedolim in our generation. It seems that
> Rav Goren, Rav Shach, Rav Eliyahu all ZTZL and Rav Elyashiv, Rav Tau, and
> Rav Ovadia Yosef (considered by many to be the greatest of Sefardi Rabbanim
> since Maran HaShulchan Aruch), all SHLITA are not "gadol" enough  for him.
> It takes no small amount of yuhara (arrogance) to belittle the gedolei Torah
> of our generation in this  way.

I did not say there are not gedolim in this generation, but beyond the few  
you mentioned, who are well advanced in years, who are the up-and-coming  
gedolim? Who will lead us in the future? Name a few. This was not my  
observation, as I mentioned, and I have been hearing this since Rabbi Moshe  
Feinstein was niftar nearly 25 years ago,. Last time I checked, gedolim who were  
niftar really cannot be considered active leaders.

Stuart Wise

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: The frumkeit of our generation

Mark Steiner (MJ 59:78) asked:

> (2) Why do we tolerate gross violations of Jewish ethics, where we would
> not tolerate violations in other areas?  We are so inundated with Hillul
> Hashem nowadays that we have become inured, God save us, to the spectacle
> of Orthodox Jews being led away in handcuffs.  We should be horrified at
> these violations, and, if we are God-fearing Jews, should be afraid of
> His wrath upon us.

I do not understand the question. What makes you think that we tolerate these

I live in New Jersey, and so I am not familiar with the second story (which took
place in Israel), but I have heard much about the first story (which took place
in Monsey). It is clear to me that the reason why the perpetrator of that story
ran away to Israel is precisely because he knew that the Monsey community would
*not* tolerate him.

Perhaps your response might be along the lines of, "Sure, his *victims* ran him
out of town. But he found another community to live in. That proves that the
Monsey community was offended by their personal financial loss, and not by the
gross violations of halacha." If so, I disagree. The perpetrator can survive in
another community, but it isn't because people accept his inadequacies; it is
because they are unaware of his crimes. Being an unknown newcomer can be very
helpful for such people, unfortunately.

Akiva Miller

From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: The frumkeit of our generation

Stuart Wise (MJ 59#78) refutes my statement(MJ 59#77):

>> One  doesn't need statistical data to make such observations either in
>> behavior  bayn Adam L'Makom, or bayn Adam L'Chavayrot.

as follows:

> With all due respect, I am not that much younger than you, and I have made
> observations, but I would not be so presumptuous as to make your conclusions
> since  there is a danger in extrapolating from what is still a very limited
> sample.

Then goes on to agree with me citing his own observations that today's
generation has shortcomings.

I must strongly disagree that (other than for debate points) one would
consider basing conclusions on observations to be presumptuous.  This is a
fundamental of how we learn. The size and content of the sample space varies
with the situation.

Having been born in Europe, and raised within a "green horn"  community I
certainly have a different set of observations and memories of the "then" in
this "now vs. then" discussion.  And the "now" for me spans several communities
as well.

As to those scholarly postings re: the situations in ancient times -- bravo
-- but I'm more short term /transition focused -- today's generation vice the
previous few generations.

Thank you to Shmuel Himelstein for expanding on the bayn Adam l'Havayro
discussion.   On the positive side, the graduates of certain yeshivas reflect
the positive midos of the hanchalah at those yeshivas.  For example, you can
always tell a "Philly" boy (A graduate of the Philadelphia Yeshiva) by his
positive midos. (I'm sure others can similarly mention various yeshivas known
for their midos.)


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 14,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: The frumkeit of our generation

Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote (MJ 59#77):

> All this talk of Chumras brings me to what I think might be the biggest flaw
> in Orthodoxy of our times: I'd like to hear about a single Chumra in our times
> which deals with man and his fellow-man, as opposed to all the examples we
> hear about Chumras in our dealings with God.

Though it is not entirely restricted to our generation, the widespread study
of hilchot lashon hara, and its avoidance, is a relatively recent phenomenon
dating back to the efforts of the Chafets Chaim. Surely this is an example
of a rising chumra level in dealings between a man and his fellow in our

Martin Stern


End of Volume 59 Issue 79