Volume 64 Number 34 
      Produced: Wed, 03 Jul 19 04:04:54 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Hallel and Tefillin (2)
    [Martin Stern  Immanuel Burton]
MO/YU Torah-Orthodoxy or Orthopraxy? (4)
    [Joseph Kaplan  Immanuel Burton  Martin Stern  Isaac Balbin]
Yoav's father? (2)
    [Martin Stern  Ari Trachtenberg]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 30,2019 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Hallel and Tefillin

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 64#33):

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

One reason might be that the retzuot [straps] might be considered a hefsek
[interposition] preventing one holding the arba minim directly. This would only
apply on Sukkot but might have been extended in error to Pesach. 

There is a minhag not to remove one's tefillin on the third day of Pesach (first
day of chol hamo'ed outside Israel) until after kriat hatorah because the
section read (for the first three aliyot) consists of the parshiot 'Kadesh' and
'Vehaya ki yevi'akha' which are included in the tefillin.

Incidentally, the Amora, Rabbi Yochanan, only wore them on that day for that
particular reason since he suffered from severe headaches which made it almost
impossible for him to put them on regularly.

Martin Stern

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 30,2019 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Hallel and Tefillin

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 64#33):

I had a posting about this in MJ 28#66 back in June 1999

in which I wrote:

> The reason why they are taken off before Musaf is on account of the 
> Kedushah which starts with the words "Keser Yitnu Lecho", and it is 
> inappropriate to say this when one is wearing a keser (crown) of tefillin.

I still do not know why this reason applies in communities which do not say this

This subject was discussed again in MJ 63#81 and MJ 63#32.

This past Pesach a Jewish man of Indian origin commented to me that it was
inappropriate to wear tefillin on Chol Ha'moed Pesach, because the 7 straps
wound round the arm are a reminder that we worked for 7 days a week in Egypt,
and were deprived of Shabbos observance.  I don't know if that's the reason why
the strap is wound 7 times round the arm, but this got me thinking.  In my
posting of 20 years ago I noted that Yom Tov is described as "os" (a sign), and
so are tefillin, and one does not need to have both signs present at the same time.

The argument then hinged on whether chol ha'moed counts as a sign in the same
way as full Yom Tov does.  I did not consider what these things are a sign of,
but the comment made to me this past Pesach made me think whether it is actually
very appropriate to wear tefillin during Hallel on chol ha'moed Peasch, as
Exodus 13:9 and Exodus 13:16 suggest that tefillin are a sign of Hashem having
taken us out of Egypt.  If that is what tefillin are a sign of, then shouldn't
it be appropriate to wear them during the Hallel that we say during the Festival
that's actually commemorating that very occurrence?

On chol ha'moed Succos they are taken off before Hallel so as not to conflict
with the Four Species, as pointed out by Martin Stern in MJ 63#81:


One question about tefillin on chol ha'moed that I have yet to find an answer to
is why there is a difference of minhag on whether to put on tefillin on chol
ha'moed in the first place.  Surely on the very first chol ha'moed after the
Torah was given, couldn't we have asked Moshe Rabbenu to clarify from Hashem
whether tefillin should be put on or not?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 30,2019 at 04:01 PM
Subject: MO/YU Torah-Orthodoxy or Orthopraxy?

I"ll leave a full response to David Tzohar's lengthy post (MJ 64#33) to
theologians, sociologists, and historians. But let me correct several errors. 

He writes that the Rav transplanted the shtetl of Brisk, Lithuania, to
Washington Heights totally ignoring the process of Geulah in Israel. He refused
to make aliya even though he was offered the position of Rav Rashi of Tel Aviv.

First, anyone who thinks that YU is a transplanted shtetl of Brisk has no idea
of what Brisk was or what YU was/is.  

Second, to say that the Rav ignored the process of geulah in Israel is an unfair
and inaccurate statement about the man who, against family history and ideology,
left Agudah for Mizrachi, was the Honorary President of Mizrachi for decades,
the author of Chamesh Drashot, the orator behind many, many more such drashot,
and the author of kol dodi dofek (which is mentioned in the post). That activism
and output is anything but ignoring. 

And finally, the Rav was not offered the position of Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv. In
fact, he actually ran for that position in the 30s and lost to Rav Amiel (Rav
Herzog came in second, the Rav third). DT might be thinking of the position of
Chief Rabbi of Israel after Rav Herzog died. There was talk of that position for
the Rav but he "very wisely" declined to make himself available for it because
it was not a good fit with his talents. Indeed, had the Rav become Chief Rabbi
of Israel it would have been terrible for Israel, for orthodoxy (and especially
modern orthodoxy) in the US, for YU, and for the Rav. 

The Rav was a complex person and, not surprisingly, his personal relationship to
Israel was complex. That complexity is not, however, reflected in the post and,
indeed, is distorted because of the inaccuracies. 

Joseph Kaplan

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 30,2019 at 10:01 PM
Subject: MO/YU Torah-Orthodoxy or Orthopraxy?

I'm not sure what point David Tzohar is making in his posting in MJ 64#33, but
it does raise some questions:

(1)  Is the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel dependent on there being a
Jewish government in place or not?

(2)  Are those who decry the State of Israel as being a secular entity basing
their opinion on Devarim 30:2-3?  These verses talk about returning to Hashem,
listening to His voice and following His commandments, and only then will He
bring back our exiles and gather us from amongst the nations.  If one's
pre-condition for redemption is a return to Hashem's ways, then does that also
mean that one would only recognise a State governed by Halachah and not by some
other legal system?

So what comes first - a return to the ways of Hashem (presumably by the majority
of Jews), or the establishment of a State?

If Israel (or Jerusalem) is supposed to be a place whence the Law emanates,
shouldn't it be taught as being such a place?  I happened recently to have been
in a Jewish school that described itself as Religious Zionist, and the student
posters on the walls about Israel's achievements were all about USB sticks,
astronauts and Wonder Woman.  There was nothing about the centres of Jewish
study, or the escape of the Mir Yeshiva from Lithuania and its re-estabishment
in Israel, etc.  Shouldn't Israel's achievements in the field of Torah study,
etc, be as much publicised as Israel's technical achievements, so that Israel
can indeed be seen as the place whence the Law emanates?

Immanuel Burton.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 1,2019 at 08:01 AM
Subject: MO/YU Torah-Orthodoxy or Orthopraxy?

David Tzohar wrote (MJ 64#33):

> ...
> 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 not sufficiently knowledgeable about YU or the state of Modern
Orthodoxy in the USA, let alone Rav Soloveichik's thinking, but I have some
very strong reservations about some of David's remarks.

IMHO, we are unable to 'understand' how current affairs fit in with HKBH's
plans and so talking about "the process of Geulah in Israel", "the train of
Geulah has left the station and we are left here on the platform" or
"acknowledging that we are in the middle of the process of geulah and must
take part in it" is at best speculative and possibly, even, dangerous

If my scepticism turns out to be incorrect and we see the coming of mashiach
(may it be speedily in our days), I would, of course, be delighted to be
proven wrong but from past experience throughout Jewish history, placing to
great an emphasis on such millenarian hopes has always been disastrous when
they did not materialise.

In particular, David's contention "If I am not planning Aliya and preaching
it to my congregation what is my Torah worth" is too reminiscent of
statements by earlier movements, such as Christianity and the Shabbetai Tzvi
movement, until their messianic expectations collapsed and they tried to
'explain' this by diverging further and further from Torah Judaism.

Martin Stern

From: Isaac Balbin <isaac.balbin@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 1,2019 at 08:01 AM
Subject: MO/YU Torah-Orthodoxy or Orthopraxy?

In response to David Tzohar (MJ 64#33):

I"m not sure why David only represents part of the background. Let us look at
Mori VeRabbi, Rav Schachter shlita, one of the Rav's most famous Talmidim
Muvchakim (outstanding students) who has immediate family now in Israel and with
connections to Mercaz HaRav. On an early visit to Israel, the later Chief Rabbi,
and Rosh Yeshiva of Mercaz HaRav, Rav Shapira (I think my memory is correct)
asked him why he hadn"t gone on Aliya, given that he would make an enormous
impact in Israel through his now legendary status as a Mechanech and outstanding
Moreh HoRo'oh (Halachic Decisor). Rav Shapira then asked what responsibilities
Rav Schachter had in his day to day life. Rav Schachter then described his
schedule and responsibilities in detail. After hearing all this, Rav Shapira
exclaimed I pasken that you must remain and resume your post in America. 

It's rather simplistic to make the sweeping generalisations that David has
offered. It can well be argued that those steering a ship should not abandon
their passengers, especially when that ship is also firmly steering and
supporting a route to Geula, and picking up drowning passengers en route.
Certainly, this approach is also reported to be the one the Rav expressed to his
son in law, Rav Lichtenstein before he went on Aliya to start the Har Etzyin

Rather than claiming one is right and the other is wrong, I think its more
correct and respectful of serious Talmidei Chachomim, who do recognise the
importance of Israel to the pathway to Geula, to say both views are correct.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 30,2019 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Yoav's father?

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 64#33):

> 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.

I think Leah has misunderstood my point. Like her, I abhor the culture of
"victim-blaming" and was trying to show that the Torah also does so by
stating explicitly that if the rape took place in a field, where nobody
could have heard her cries for help, she must be deemed completely innocent.
Clearly it does not ask any question about her having put herself at risk as
a way of exonerating the rapist.

As regards when the rape took place in town where she could have called
for assistance, the Torah works on the assumption of shetikah kehodaah
[silence is deemed to be acquiescence]. Whether one likes this is another
matter but, if this principle were generally known, she would not have been
as inhibited from screaming as is the case in modern society, where people
might have minded their own business rather than run to her assistance.
> 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.

A woman who flirts with a man is indicating a wish to initiate some
relationship so she cannot then claim to be a totally innocent rape victim
unless she takes some action (as the Torah puts it "cries out") to indicate
that she has no wish to have sexual relations. Perhaps it was to avoid such
possibilities that Chazal made regulations, such as yichud [seclusion with a
member of the opposite sex], to discourage cross-gender social interaction.

Martin Stern

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 30,2019 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Yoav's father?

In response to Leah Gordon (MJ 64#33):

I know that this is the popular narrative today, but let's consider a less
politically charged crime.

If a person walks as a visibly identified Jew into an area with a known high
rate of crime to Jews (e.g. Ramallah, parts of Europe, a neo-nazi rally), would
you say that he/she bears no responsibility for any resulting violence? Certainly,
the person would have no *culpability*, under the assumption that a person
should be free to travel to any publicly accessible area free of harm, but one
does have a Torah-based responsibility to avoid danger to your own life (unless,
of course, you are a soldier in a righteous cause).

Fields were known to have been areas of significant risk of rape in the ancient
world. Well-armed soldiers (male or female) could be sent there without
hesitation, but it would have been irresponsible for me to send my daughter
through such a field based on the moral correctness of her right to traverse it.



End of Volume 64 Issue 34