Volume 64 Number 33 
      Produced: Sun, 30 Jun 19 07:07:49 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Hallel and Tefillin  
    [Joel Rich]
MO/YU Torah-Orthodoxy or Orthopraxy? 
    [David Tzohar]
Modern Orthodox Jewish Education 
    [Carl Singer]
The significance of the number fifteen 
    [Martin Stern]
Yoav's father? (3)
    [Sammy Finkelman  Leah Gordon   Leah Gordon]


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 26,2019 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Hallel and Tefillin 

Why do we take off tefillin before Hallel on Chol Hamoed (for those who wear
tefillin) but before mussaf on Rosh Chodesh?

Joel Rich


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 28,2019 at 10:01 AM
Subject: MO/YU Torah-Orthodoxy or Orthopraxy?

A young man named Yuval Dayan put up an interesting post on facebook. He is a
Charedi baal teshuvah who after going through life threatening experiences in
the army found his way from secularism to Hashem and Torah. He grew a beard and
payot put on a black hat and frock and went to learn in Ponevich Yeshiva. He
learned there for 20 years, got a shidduch and semichah. 

Then last year while he was putting on tefillin he thought "what does this
really mean to me, does it connect me with Hashem? It really means nothing as do
all the mitzvot, chumrot, eating only mehadrin etc. And why?

Not because he no longer believed in Hashem or his mitzvot but he felt that
they were not relevant to his life as an Israeli. What is relevant? Atchalta
degeulah (the beginning of Messianic redemption) as taught by Harav Kook and
his students. When he tried to bring it up in the yeshiva they put him off
saying "there is no geulah, the state is secular sitra achra [the devil's
work] etc. etc. Yuval shaved off his beard and payot, exchanged his frock for
a short sleeved shirt and his hat for what is called a kippah shekufa
[transparent kippa]. He said he refuses to be part of the transplanted
shtetl of Ponevich, formerly 19th century Lithuania now in Bnei Brak.

What does all this have to do with YU? it is my contention that HaRov ZTZ"L
(whose name I will not mention out of the great respect I have for him but you
all know who I mean) transplanted the shtetl of Brisk Lithuania to Washington
Heights totally ignoring the process of Geulah in Israel. He refused to make
aliya even though in  he was offered the position of Rav Rashi of Tel Aviv. He
chose to return to America to live the life of "the lonely man of Halacha" even
though according to the Halacha aliya and yishuv ha'aretz are "shkulim keneged
kol ha mitzvot" [are worth ALL of the mitzvot] IIAC there is one place where
HaRov said "Kol dodi dofek (from shir ha shirim) where he admitted that the
train of Geulah has left the station and we are left here on the platform (my
interperetation of his words). 

IMHO every YU rabbi must make a cheshbon nefesh. "If I am not planning Aliya and
preaching it to my congregation what is my Torah worth.

I do not think I have all the truth. There are many positive aspects to YU Torah
espescially the Idea of Torah im Mada .But the whole truth must include
acknowledging that we are in the middle of the process of geulah and must take
part in it. If not Modern Orthodoxy becomes Modern Orhopraxy.

I am optimistic. In recent years some YU graduates (not enough) have made aliya
notably Rav Riskin SHLITA with his congregation and before him of course Rav
Lichtenstein ZTZ"L. In my own family I have a BIL YU graduate who is making
aliya this year. He has two sons both YU grads who already live in Ramat Bet
Shemesh. Ken Yirbu be'ezrat Hashem.

David Tzohar


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 21,2019 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Modern Orthodox Jewish Education

I thank Joel Rich (MJ 64#32) for pointing us to an interesting article: "Modern
Orthodox Jewish Education"

It begins with a FIFTY YEAR OLD quotation! - need I say more?:

"Being married to a young lady who chairs the education department at a fine
university -- I must state unequivocally that I am NOT a bokke in education."

I find that labels such as "Modern Orthodox" consistently serve to separate
and to alienate. We focus too much on differences and not enough on commonality.

We all can think of myriad examples:

1. graduates of the same (left-wing, centrist, right-wing, chadish ....) Yeshiva
who 10 or 20 years post-graduation hardly would recognize each other or their
once individual hashkofos.

2. Members of the same congregation who seem to have an in-house classification
of differences.

3. Siblings who ...

Paradoxically, labels are simultaneously too broad and too narrow and "Modern
Orthodox" is just a tired label.

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.Colonel, U.S. Army Retired


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 30,2019 at 07:01 AM
Subject: The significance of the number fifteen

As I have written previously (MJ 64#29, 19, 63#21, 19, 06, 62#36,34,32,30 et
al.), it appears that the number fifteen has a special significance, and Chazal
include at various points in the liturgy groups of fifteen items to indicate a
rise in sanctity.

I noticed recently something similar in birkat hamazon to which Chazal added a
fourth berakhah "HaTov vehaMeitiv" to commemorate the permission by the Romans
for the burial of the of those killed at the capture of Beitar (on 9 Av) and
whose bodies had not decomposed over the many years since its fall at the end of
the Bar Kokhba revolt, as recorded in the Gemara (Taanit 31a):

"It [15 Av] is the day when permission was granted for those killed at Beitar to
be buried...On the day when the slain of Beitar were allowed burial, the
benediction Who is good and does good was instituted (as the 4th blessing of
Birkat Hamazon) - Who is good, because the bodies did not putrefy, and does
good, because they were allowed burial."
At its conclusion they listed fifteen items with which HKBH has favoured us (and
we hope will continue to favour us) "lechein, lechesed ulerachamim ulerevach,
hatzalah vehatzlachah, berakhah viyeshuah, nechamah, parnasah vekhalkalah,
verachamim vechaim veshalom vekhol tov ...".

The term rachamim is repeated which might have been done deliberately to bring
the number up to fifteen. One might ask why it specifically was repeated rather
than one of the others, or why some other term had not been used in its place.

I am not clear whether this list is in any way connected to the previous
occurrences of fifteen items to indicate a rise in sanctity or, if so, what the
connection might be.

Any ideas?

Martin Stern


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 21,2019 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Yoav's father?

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#32):

> Sammy Finkelman wrote (MJ 64#31):

>> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#30):
>>> ... why Yoav is always referred to as 'ben Tzeruyah', the son of his
>>> mother, Tzeruyah, who was David Hamelekh's sister, and not as in the case
>>> of almost every other person as the son of his father who seems never to be
>>> mentioned.
>>> Two ideas came to mind:
>>> 1. She had been kidnapped by non-Jews and raped, resulting in his 
>>> conception, so he did not have a halachic father...

>> If choice 1 is closer to the truth, it wouldn't be that she was kidnapped, it
>> would be that she married someone not Jewish who never fully converted (which
>> it could be argued helped account for Yoav's brutality.)

> There is no such thing as being 'married' to someone not Jewish who never
> fully converted. Either they had converted  - and were fully Jewish - or they
> had not and remained fully non-Jewish

We don't know how it worked during the time of the first Beis HaMikdosh and
earlier, but I think it was possible. Examples are Shimshon and Mahlon the son
of Elimelech the husband of Ruth, to whom Boaz applied Jewish laws, that
necessarily assumed she was Jewish even during her marriage, so she was married
to someone even though during her entire marriage she never fully converted!  Or
so Boaz anyway acted. Maybe he didn't have to, I'm not sure that redeeming the
wife along with the field is proper halacha either. The laws of Yibbum only
apply to  brothers.

The way it worked - and I once read this idea - is that the person was treated
as Jewish and marriage ceremony performed with all the laws of Moshe and Israel
and later it would be ratified (or would not in which case the Jewish person
involved maybe had a problem).

How would it be ratified? If we reason backward from current Halacha, what would
happen is, if they came and joined in a Korban Pesach, then they were fully
Jewish.  (Shemos 13:48)

If I am right, Ruth maybe didn't even complete her conversion by the time Boaz
married her.

Now I just got an idea. During the early part of the life of Dovid, there was no
place where Hashem's name rested, because Shiloh had been destroyed. There maybe
was no Korban Pesach during those years. So it may not even have been possible
to complete the conversion.

It also isn't possible now, but the conversion is regarded as full even without
a korban, since there must have been a takanah allowing for that. It's enough to
have the intention.

But maybe that didn't happen during the time of Shmuel Hanavi, perhaps because
they expected to get things re-started any day, but it took many years. And
perhaps by the time it was possible, the husband was dead. And, in the meantime,
the mother of Yoav was embarassed, and maybe only discovered that by the time
she had her second son.

It seems that Yoav was *known* as the son of Tzruyah, because Dovid is in one
place quoted as speaking about "the sons of  Tzruyah" that was his name.
Different from almost every other person. It's not just that that is the more
important relationship. His father's name is not part of his name.

If there is no problem, it is really a question why Yoav is identified that way.
The very time he is mentioned,  Shmuel I 26:6, he is mentioned as the brother of
Avishai (because by the time the Sefer was written Yoav was more famous.)

But his father is never mentioned anywhere. But in the Torah it is sometimes
pointed out that Lavan was the brother of Rivkah, but his father's name is also
given.  We should read his father's name at least once unless it is deliberately
being avoided. The best reason would be that (even of there were no halakhic
problem with what Tzruiah did) he was not Jewish, and he was not from a Shevet.
Come to think of it. Uriah's father's name isn't given either, unlike the way it
is with most people. He's just Ha-Khiti [the Hittite] yet we must presume a
conversion, even a completed one.

From: Leah Gordon <leahgordonmobile@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 23,2019 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Yoav's father?

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#30):

> My wife has been learning Sefer Shemuel and asked me why Yoav is always
> referred to as 'ben Tzeruyah', the son of his mother, Tzeruyah, who was
> David Hamelekh's sister, and not as in the case of almost every other person
> as the son of his father who seems never to be mentioned.

Separately from issues of rape and "shame," I wanted to address why Yoav might
be referred to in that way.

I think the easiest and most likely explanation is that his mother was
well-known (royal family) and so that is how Yoav happened to be best known. 
Even in deep patriarchy, there are anomalies of this kind.

It reminds me of my father's old telephone system.  He programmed in phone
numbers with people's names (before cell phones existed, let alone could keep
track of contact information).

I was annoyed to find out that when I married, my father had changed my phone
listing from my initials to my husband's initials.  I asked him about it, and he
said that his practice was always to list contacts by the man's initials.  I
pointed out that one friend of theirs was under the woman's initials.  He said,
"Oh, in that case, we knew her first; she was the primary contact."  He realized
the irony and changed my number's code back.  As I said, deep patriarchy.  ;)

--Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon

From:  Leah Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 23,2019 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Yoav's father?

Isaac Balbin (MJ 64#31) suggested there was a sense of shame to being raped or
being a baby conceived through rape. Both Martin Stern and I (MJ 64#32)
expressed concern that Isaac seemed to be blaming the victim(s) for the violent
assault. We both pointed out that the only shame involved would be assigned to
the perpetrator.
Moreover, Martin mentioned that even if a woman might be "irresponsible" and go
out to a field, that she is still blameless for a rape. I do take slight
exception to Martin's reply, because it contributes to a culture of
victim-blaming to say that a woman would be considered "irresponsible" to go
outside to a field or marketplace. We must be vigilant in emphasizing that rape
and sexual assault are the sole  responsibility of the rapist/assailant.

This will be obvious with a short thought experiment: if you are a man, have you
ever seen a woman in a field or in the marketplace? Were you able to refrain
from assaulting her, even if she spoke to you? Even if you thought she was
flirting with you? If so, there you have it.
--Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon


End of Volume 64 Issue 33