Volume 64 Number 37 
      Produced: Tue, 30 Jul 19 11:26:28 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Aliya or YU 
    [Ari Trachtenberg]
An ascent to Paradise? 
    [Martin Stern]
Rape (2)
    [Martin Stern  Frank Silbermann]
Tachanun query (2)
    [Steven Oppenheimer  Chaim Casper]
Tefillin, Shabbes, & Bris - All Osos 
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 28,2019 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Aliya or YU

Michael Poppers wrote (MJ 64#36):

> In MJ 64#35, David Tzohar completed his thoughts with 
> "We still await the coming of Mashiach ben David. But we wait for him in
> Jerusalem -- not Washington Heights."
> With respect, such an "us vs. them" statement is offensive and, especially at
> this time of the year, most disappointing. 

I think that there is no reason to take offense at David's comment it is a
division that has lasted since the separation between the Babylonian and
Jerusalemite communities, and is is reflected in the two respective versions of
the Talmud in our possession.  Indeed, one could argue that the fact that this
division has remained is evidence that it is for sake of heaven in the words of
the Ethics of the Fathers.

At the same time, it is hard to deny that, today, the center of mass of the
Jewish people is firmly implanted within the modern state of Israel.  I, for
one, see no other immediate future for our people, but this is merely an
informed opinion.  To the best of my knowledge, neither David nor I have any
G-d-given prophetic ability (please correct me if I'm wrong, preferably with
concrete proof :-).



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 28,2019 at 08:01 AM
Subject: An ascent to Paradise?

In my book A Time to Speak (Devora Publishing Company, '10, p. 85), I wrote
in connection with the structure of First Paragraph of the Shemoneh Esrei:

> the four worlds through which the Kabbalah traces the percolation of
> Divine beneficence from the essentially unknowable Ein Sof down to ourselves:
> olam haatzilut, olam haberiah, olam hayetzirah, olam haasiah. Each world
> represents the same concepts, but, as one progresses downwards, in an
> attenuated form. An analogy that might explain this is to think of a pile of
> paper with clear writing on the top sheet. On the second one there will be an
> impression that is still readable, whereas the third can only be read with
> difficulty. On the fourth, the impression, though still there, is almost
> invisible and will only be readable by someone who is aware of its existence
> and examines it with the utmost care and concentration.

It struck me recently that these four worlds might also be paralleled by the
four modes of Biblical interpretation - Peshat [literal understanding], Remez
[allusion], Derush [homiletic exposition], Sod [mystical insight] - commonly
referred to by their acronym PaRDeS, literally meaning 'orchard' and,
figuratively 'paradise'.

Schematically one might arrange these as corresponding naturally to the 'four
worlds' in ascending order, and my 'pile of paper analogy', as:

Peshat - olam haasiah - fourth impression

Remez - olam hayetzirah - third impression

Derush - olam haberiah - second impression

Sod - olam haatzilut - top sheet

Perhaps the acronym may be more than fortuitous and the four modes of
interpretation might really lead to a closer connection with Hashem.

Any comments?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 25,2019 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Rape

Michael Rogovin wrote (MJ 64#36):

> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 64#34):

>> 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
> I do not see how one can associate flirting with rape or even an
> invitation to a consensual sexual encounter. Flirting is certainly a way of
> indicating interest or attraction to another person, but that is far from
> expressing a desire to have sex, either immediately or even after repeated
> flirting. Indeed, even if it WERE expressing such an interest, that would not
> be an invitation to rape, which is by definition forcible sexual relations
> without consent. Interest in a possible future sexual encounter is not
> consent, and even consent to sex is not consent to forcible sex.

I fear Michael has misunderstood the point I was making but, perhaps, what I
wrote was not entirely clear - if so I apologise for misleading him
regarding what I meant.

I was certainly not suggesting that "one can associate flirting with rape" but,
as he says it is "certainly a way of indicating interest or attraction" and this
is liable to be misinterpreted by some men. It is for this reason that
traditional Jewish practice has been to frown on gender interaction outside the
immediate family on any but the most superficial, and clearly non-relational,
level - and flirting would clearly be a prime example of this sort of behaviour.

Whether flirting involves a Torah or Rabbinic prohibition, or is 'merely' a
breach of traditional practice, is irrelevant - it is certainly unwise outside
marriage precisely because of the possibility of misinterpretation.
Unfortunately, in some more 'modern' groups, gender-distancing has been
abandoned as being too 'extreme'.

> The Torah prohibits sex with one's spouse without consent, and certainly, we
> can assume that there is ongoing flirtation and prior consent to sex in a
> marriage. How a rape victim could be deemed partially responsible because she
> flirted with the perpetrator is beyond my comprehension.

Within marriage, one would hope that the couple would have evolved sufficient
understanding for them not to misinterpret their spouse's intention - so
Michael's comparison seems unjustified.

Martin Stern

From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 28,2019 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Rape

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.
> 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.

I agree with Leah's conclusion, but not with her thought experiment.  Some
people are more responsible than others; we know that and must take that
into consideration.  For example, someone might counter that a person who
leaves a gun in his automobile glove compartment in his car on the street is
partially responsible for it being stolen -- even though I have seen cars on
the street and not been tempted to break into them.

A better analogy would be to ask whether I am responsible for being robbed
on the street if I go out alone and unarmed to a lonely parking lot in a
place where people people can take for granted that I am likely unarmed? I
would say no.  Only the robber is to blame.

What makes the difference between going out unarmed and leaving a gun
in my car is the question, "How easy would it have been for me to avoid
allowing the temptation without unduly constricting my life?"

In the first case, it would not have been so much trouble to bring the gun
into the house with me after parking the car for the night.  In the second
case, I might have no choice but to live where the threat from the regime to
armed citizens is greater than the danger from criminals -- so my only way
to avoid putting a stumbling block before the criminals would be to remain a
prisoner in my own home.

The latter is more the situation of the woman, whose only alternative is to
remain a prisoner in her home.  It would be no more fair to blame her than
to blame the man forced to live where the law requires people to make
themselves helpless and vulnerable for getting mugged when he goes out.

Frank Silbermann
Memphis, Tennessee


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 25,2019 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Tachanun query

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 64#35): 

> Why are the rules for which days we don't say tachanun not the same as those 
> for not saying lamenatzeach?

Benei Sefarad are more consistent.  The Ashkenazi minhag is a little different.

According to Rabbi Naftali Hofner's Sefer Halacha (She'ar Tefilot Hayom page
21), Sefer Minhagim LeRav Avrohom Klausner writes that all days that Hallel is
recited, we do not recite Lamenatzeach.  This is the Ashkenazi custom.

According to the Levush (132:1), Rama (131:1) and Ch. Adam (klal 32-34)
according to minhag Ashkenaz, Lamenatzeach is recited on other days when
Tachanun is not recited such as, Erev R.H, the days between Yom Kippur and
Sukkot, Isru Chag, 15 Shevat, Lag B'Omer, Sheloshet Yemei Hagbala, whereas the
Pri Chadash  (131:1), Ma'amar Mordechai (s.k 6), Sh. Keneset Hagedola and Chesed
Le'alafim, (R. Eliezer Papo) s.k 14  write that the custom of Benei Sefarad is
to not recite Lamematzeach on these days.

Regarding a Bris, see Sefer Halacha referenced above.  Regarding a Bet Avel, see
Sefer Halacha (33:6).

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.

From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 28,2019 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Tachanun query

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 64#35): 

Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, zt"l, (1881-1973) was the leader of the American
Orthodox community and possibly the gadol hador (ultimate halakhic authority)
during the 1950s and 60s until his death in 1973.   His lasting major impact is
that he is the author of the luach tefilah (schedule of prayers), published by
the chesed organization Ezras Torah, that is used today throughout the US,
Canada and beyond.   The reader (if he doesn't already own and use it) has
probably seen the little book used by the gabbai in shul or the wall poster
version hanging in the bet medrash.   

Rav Henkin ruled that whenever Hallel (Psalms 113 - 118 plus introductory &
concluding brakhot) is said, lamenatzeach is not said.  The reason, I believe,
is that lamenatzeach is a mini-Hallel by itself.   It talks about 

'God answering me in my time of need:  They may come with their weapons, but we
will fight with God's name.   They will fall but we will be victorious!'

If so, why repeat these themes by saying Hallel?   That would be repetitiously
repetitively redundant, plus it would be saying the same thing twice!   And if
you notice, there are a number of siddurim that list erev Yom Tov (the day
before a holiday) and isru Hag (the day after the holiday) as days where we
don't say lamenatzeach.   Yet, using Rav Henkin's principle, the Ezras Torah
luach says that, yes, we do say lamenatzach on those days.

On the other hand, the rules of tachanun are different from those of
lamenatzeach.    As it name implies, tachanun is a techina, a prayer of
supplication.   Whereas lamenatzeach sings praise to God for His taking care of
us, tachanun begs God for forgiveness.   

"You, God, are a merciful and forgiving KIng ... Have mercy on us and all your
creatures ... Please God save us ..." etc. etc.   

In fact, one could say that tachanun is a continuation of the daily Amidah which
is why the Rambam holds that the daily shacharit or minchah Amidah without
tachanun is an incomplete tefilah.   

Because of this difference in themes between lamenatzeach and tachanun, I would
suggest that the two are not similar and hence are not governed by the same

Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL and Moshav Neve Michael, Israel


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 21,2019 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Tefillin, Shabbes, & Bris - All Osos

Lawrence Israel wrote (MJ 64#35):

> We don't wear tefillin on Shabbes because each is an os, and we don't need 
> two.
> We keep our tefillin on when there is a bris after the morning service, as 
> each is an os, so we keep them both.
> Can anyone explain this apparent contradiction?

I checked and found that, according to the Shach at Yoreh Deah 265 and Magen
Avraham 25:28, the decision is to wear tefillin to INCREASE the element of Ot.

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 64 Issue 37