Volume 65 Number 28 
      Produced: Sat, 05 Feb 22 15:30:06 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Cognitive Dissonance? 
    [Joel Rich]
Food for Thought 
    [Joel Rich]
International Holocaust Remembrance Day 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Jewish demographics 
    [Chaim Casper]
Looking for sources 
    [Joel Rich]
Thanksgiving (was Has Novi God, a secular Russian holiday, ,,,) (4)
    [Joseph Kaplan  Steven Oppenheimer  Michael Mirsky  Ben Katz, M.D.]
Thoughts on MO 
    [Joel Rich]


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 18,2022 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Cognitive Dissonance?

In his Parsha Shiur for Vayigash (5722),


Rabbi Hershel Schachter touched on various topics, including but not limited to: 

Yehuda's nidiui; 

Haod avi chai (didn't Yosef know?); 

Mitzvah for klal yisrael to be together; 

Why Yerushalayim was split between two shvatim; 

Why Yosef needed permission to send agalot; 

Favoring Binyamin? 

Is HKBH still in galut after hakamat hamedina?

Shimon marring Dina? 

Yishuv eretz yisrael; 

Need for continual halachic reevaluation; 

Kavod av; and 

Why Yosef exempted the priests.




Would all agree on these points philosophically? If so, do we aspire/act this way?

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 25,2022 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Food for Thought

John Kennedy said the ancient Greeks defined happiness as the full use of powers
along lines of excellence. It struck me that this was very similar to an insight
I heard from Rabbi Nissan Alpert Z"L discussing Yaakov's blessing to Yissachar:

"Yissachar is a large-boned ass, couching down between the sheep-folds. For he
saw a resting-place that it was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and he
bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant under task-work."

How does the second half of working hard follow logically from the first half of
finding a pleasant land? Rabbi Alpert commented that the Jewish definition of
happiness or satisfaction is working hard to fulfill God's will in this world.

Joel Rich


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 27,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, Jan. 27, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

I must admit that until recently I was not aware that there was such a day.

Project Witness,  which is doing a wonderful job educating people about the
Holocaust, has posted a video titled The Day the Rabbis Marched at


The founder and director of Project Witness is Mrs. RUTH LICHTENSTEIN.  She is
also the publisher of the Hamodia newspaper.

I cannot resist pointing out that when I was writing articles for the Hamodia, 
the editor was not very happy with the fact that I often included Internet URLs
and would delete them from my articles before they were published in the paper.
 Of course, today the Hamodia has a web site, and Project Witness posts videos
on the Internet.  Apparently, I was just ahead of the times!

Yitzchok Levine


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Tue, Feb 1,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Jewish demographics

Back in November, 2021 (MJ 65:14 ff), we talked about Jewish demographics and
how many Jews there are in the US/Israel/the World.   Recently, Anshel Pfeffer
raised the question of what difference does it make how many Jews are there.  
His point is that it may sound counter-intuitive to ask why we need to count
Jews, after a third of our number were exterminated in the Shoah. But there are
critical ethical, if not statistical, reasons to push back against our
demographic obsession, not least when Israel is doing it

Comments, anyone?

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL
Neve Mikahel Israel


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 25,2022 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Looking for sources

Im looking for sources on two questions:

1. When the leviim wash the cohanims Hands Im told that they do one pour versus
the two or three used on other occasions. Is this the case and if so any sources?

2. When making personal requests in the amida is there a requirement similar to
the standard text that there is some standard audibility? Again if so looking
for sources.

Joel Rich


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 18,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Thanksgiving (was Has Novi God, a secular Russian holiday, ,,,)

Prof. Levine (MJ 65#27), in response to a comment by Michael Mirsky (MJ 65/26)
about Novi God that "there is this non-Jewish festival called 'Thanksgiving'
that everyone in the US including many Orthodox Jews celebrate", said the following:

> This assertion is simply not true! Thanksgiving is not in general celebrated in
> the Orthodox circles I am familiar with. 

Mr. Mirsky is correct. He did not say that all Orthodox Jews celebrate
Thanksgiving  or even that most do. He said many and the fact that it's not
celebrated in Prof. Levines circles is irrelevant to that assertion because it
is celebrated almost universally in the Modern Orthodox community and I know
many Jews to the right of the MO community who also celebrate it. I"m sorry that
Prof. Levine is not familiar with the MO community or that his familiarity with
the more right-wing community is limited only to those who do not celebrate
Thanksgiving. But Orthoduxy is broader than he thinks. As for the halachic
question, the debate is well known and there are numerous articles and teshuvot
going both ways. A beautiful example of "eilu veeilu divrei elokim". 


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 18,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Thanksgiving (was Has Novi God, a secular Russian holiday, ,,,)

In response to Prof. L. Levine (MJ 65#27):

I would point out that  many Orthodox Jews do, indeed, celebrate Thanksgiving in
the U.S., not as a religious holiday, but as a day to get together with family
and friends.  This is certainly true of the Modern Orthodox community, a sizable
portion of the Orthodox community.  And in those homes where families get
together for dinner, turkey is often served.

The Rav, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik, celebrated Thanksgiving - see Rabbi
Dr. Aharon Rakefet-Rothkoff's book "From Washington Avenue to Washington

For an excellent review of this subject, see Rabbi Yehuda Spitz' article,
"Thanksgiving: Harmless Holiday or *Chukos HaGoyim*?" available online.  See
also Rabbi Michael Broyde's article in the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary
Society (vol. 30, pp. 42-65) where he lists a number of poskim who ruled
leniently regarding Thanksgiving and turkey.

Rabbi Spitz concludes his article with the following observation:

"Although nowadays for many in Yeshivish and Chassidic circles the idea of
observing even some semblance of Thanksgiving may seem an anathema, it is
interesting to note that many authorities of the previous generation did not
seem overly concerned. In fact, as is widely known, the annual Agudas Yisrael
convention, attended by many Gedolim, was traditionally held over Thanksgiving
weekend for many decades, with turkey on the menu. Additionally, Rav Yosef
Eliyahu Henkin's authoritative Ezras Torah calendar (with halachos for the whole
year) noted Thanksgiving along with other secular holidays."

See, for example, Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetsky's Streets of Life column in Ami
Magazine #143, October 2, 2013, titled Tagging Along pg. 94. I have also heard
this from noted historian Rabbi Berel Wein. Parenthetically, Rabbi Kamenetsky
also mentions that his grandfather, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky *ztl* did not partake
of the turkey, due to issues of *Mesora*; which is a topic for another time, IYH.

So I would suggest not getting too exercised over the Thanksgiving issue.

Steven Oppenheimer, DMD

From: Michael Mirsky <bracha.mirsky@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 18,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Thanksgiving (was Has Novi God, a secular Russian holiday, ,,,)

In response to Prof. L. Levine (MJ 65#27):

Indeed, Jews celebrating Thanksgiving is questionable halachically. The same is
true for Jewish Russians celebrating Novi God.

Most of the links that Prof. Levine provided do not open for me. However, the
one that I could access from Ohr Sameach confirms what I heard before about Rav
Soloveitchik and other Rabbeim. In the Ohr Sameach article it says: "Other
contemporary poskim who allowed eating turkey on Thanksgiving include 

Rav Eliezer Silver, 

Rav Yosef Dov (J.B.) Soloveitchik (the Boston Gaon)
<https://ohr.edu/6105#_edn13> , 

the Rivevos Efraim,

and Rabbi Yehuda Hertzl Henkin.

They explain that Thanksgiving is "only a day of thanks and not, Heaven forbid,
for idol celebration". Therefore, they maintain that merely eating turkey on
Thanksgiving cannot be considered Chukos HaGoyim."

So although there are differences of opinion among poskim, my statement about
many Orthodox Jews celebrating Thanksgiving is not incorrect as I would say that
"many" Orthodox Jews are followers of these rabbeim. I do agree that my
assertion about Novi God being in a similar category is up for discussion.

Michael Mirsky

From: Ben Katz, M.D.<BKatz@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 19,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Thanksgiving (was Has Novi God, a secular Russian holiday, ,,,)

In response to Yitzchok Levine (MJ 65#27):

Contra Professor Levine, many modern Orthodox Jews celebrate Thanksgiving, as
did the Rav (R JB Soleveitchik).


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 25,2022 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Thoughts on MO

A conversation re the future of MO:

Me - It will definitely be interesting to see. I feel that my generation
(including me) was not successful in creating a MO model that would work in the
United States.

Someone I respect - I agree with this diagnosis, I just don't think it was
anyone's fault I don't believe that that approach is sustainable long-term in
the United States. It was a powerful and effective way of preserving post World
War II
Judaism facing indescribable cultural pressure.

Me - OTOH there is the Rav's '14th ani maamin' - shekol hatora kula yechola
lehiskayem bechol makom uvechol zman [that the whole Torah can be kept in every
place and in every ers].


Joel Rich


End of Volume 65 Issue 28