Volume 8 Number 22

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Breaking Bread
         [Shaul Wallach]
Number of Jews in world
         [Mike Gerver]
Pepsi, Jewish Roots, Jews Raised in Captivity
         [Richard Pauli]
Rav Soloveichik's view on Techelet
         [Baruch Sterman]
Va'ad Ha'hatzolah
         [Shoshanah Bechhofer]


From: Shaul Wallach <f66204@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 93 05:56:32 -0400
Subject: Breaking Bread

     Steve Edell reports the following custom of breaking bread in
San Jose:

>As a friendly "warning" - if you do decide to stay in San Jose - almost
>ALL the congregants 'break bread', ie, say Motze, the same way: The
>blessing is said, the bread is cut & distributed, and only when everyone
>has a piece of bread, does the person who said 'Motze' then eat, then
>everyone eats.  It's a very nice custom that their Rav started, but for
>guests, a lot of times they get "caught". :-)

     This custom is not really an original innovation of their Rav, but
is mentioned by the Ram"a in his gloss on the Shulhan `Arukh (Orah
Hayyim 167:15). The source is the Talmud Yerushalmi (Berakhot 6:1):

       Rabbi Aba in the name of Rav: "Those who are reclined are forbidden
     to taste anything until the one who says the blessing tastes." Rabbi
     Yehoshua` ben Lewi said, "They may drink even though he has not
     drunk." Does he differ? What Rav said is when they are all in need of
     one loaf; what Rabbi Yehoshua` ben Lewi said is when each one has his
     cup in his hand.

Thus from the Yerushalmi it is evident that when one person says the
blessing, cuts and hands out a slice for each of the participants, they
may not start to eat until he does. The Beit Yosef on the Tur (Orah
Hayyim 167) adds that one should therefore be careful to eat immediately
before handing out slices to everyone. However, the Ram"a (in Darkhei
Moshe on the Tur, op. cit. note 10) holds that one is allowed to hand
out slices before eating himself, and ruled this way in his gloss on the
Shulhan `Arukh (op.  cit.). Rabbi Yosef Qafeh, in his commentary on the
Rambam (Hilkot Berakhot 7:5, note 10), notes that the custom in his
circle in Yemen was for the one saying the blessing to wait until
handing out pieces to everyone, even if they all had their own loaves
(pitot) in front of them.


Shaul Wallach


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1993 2:22:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Number of Jews in world

Michael Shimshoni, commenting in v7n93 on Robert Books earlier opinion
that there are about 100 million halachic Jews in the world, but only
about 14 million know they are Jewish, says that this implies the Jews
were about 2% of the population of the world 3000 years ago, and "that
seems completely wrong."

It seems quite reasonable to me. I have seen estimates, based on the amount
of land under cultivation, that the population of the world was about
150 million 2000 years ago, and I imagine it would be about the same, maybe
somewhat smaller, 3000 years ago. If the Jewish population was 2 million,
which is consistent both with the census data in Bamidbar, and with 
archeological evidence, then it would have been about 2%.

But there is no reason to believe that the Jewish population was about the
same fraction of the world population 3000 years ago as it is now. Over
a hundred generations, even a few percent difference is fertility, or in
survival rate of children, would make a huge difference in the number of
descendents. The Jewish population is known to have fluctuated greatly,
relative to the world population, during the last 3000 years. I have
heard somewhere that, before Christianity became popular, there were a
large number of Jewish converts in the Roman Empire, making up something
like 10% of the population of the Empire. During the Middle Ages, the
number of Jews in the world shrank to about 1 million, of whom 90% were
Sephardic. Starting in the 1600s and greatly accelerating in the 1800s,
the Jewish population, in particular the Ashkenazi population, started
growing rapidly, more rapidly than the population of the world during
that period. This could be due to such practices as washing hands before
eating and after going to the bathroom, prevalent among Jews for religious
reasons but not common among other people before Pasteur. This would have
allowed Jews to benefit even more than others from the improvements in
sanitation and nutrition that were allowing the population of the world
as a whole to grow. During the present century, of course, the Jewish
population has shrunk, both absolutely and even more in relation to the
world population.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: <eisenbrg@...> (Richard Pauli)
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 93 02:10:15 -0400
Subject: Pepsi, Jewish Roots, Jews Raised in Captivity

The following are responses from Richard Pauli (to whom I bring mail-jewish),
who has no network access:

Subject: Pepsi
Recently the subject of the Kashruth of Pepsi has come up. I have
personally been boycotting Pepsi for the last 23 years since I made Aliyah.
1) Because they only sold in east-Jerusalem and the Arab States until the
Gulf War. 2) During the Jewish Boycott of the Soviet Union  to free Soviet
Jews, - Pepsi opened up a factory there. I can't tell you that the product
is not kosher but the behavior of the company towards the Jews and the
Jewish State leaves something to be desired.
- Richard Pauli

Subject: Jewish Roots
My cousin Daniel Pascheles has been looking for anybody else in the Jewish
world named Pascheles. I am interested in knowing if anybody has the Porges
family tree. It is supposed to go back to Spain - possibly to the Ramban.
The last entry that I know of was my Father's Name - Felix Pauli over 70
years ago. The family tree was in Poland prior to World War II. Lastly does
anybody know of the family Pentlodge from Czechoslavokia. It doesn't sound
Jewish, but might be a mispronunciation of a similar Czech or Hebrew name
corrupted by generations of family in the U.S.A.
- Richard Pauli

Subject : Jews Raised in Captivity
In Volume 7 Issue 74 Anthony Fiorino states "Raised in Captivity. What does
this mean? Surely they are not exempted in  any  way  from  obligations  in
mitzvoh."  Well  I  beg to differ from you. My father of blessed memory was
born in 19ll C.E. to a father who had broken  away  from  Judiasm  and  any
thing  Jewish. In  1914  C.E. at the tender age of 3, with the out break of
World War I,  my  grandfather  placed  my  father  in  the  local  orphanage
(Catholic)  while  he moved with my grandmother to his army base. If it was
not for Hiltler tracing my father's roots, he would  have  been  completely
assimilated  into  Austrian society. A number of years after his arrival in
the States, he married my mother, a fifth generation reform Jew. It was not
until my maternal grandmother's Yahrzeit, at the age of 7+ yrs. did  I  see
the  inside  of  a  Synagogue  - the Steven Wise Free Synagogue. It was not
until 1956 C.E. at the age of 9 during the Sinai Campaign did I  even  here
of  a country called Israel and it made no more of an impression on me than
Hungary which unwent a revolt about the same time.
Shortly there after I learned about Channucha and Pessach from  the  Reform
Synagogue. It  was not until the Six Day War at the age of 20 did I see for
the first time Tephillin and a place called  the  Wailing  Wall. I  was  so
intergrated into American Society and with my non-Jewish sounding name that
I  got  to  hear  all  the  anti-semitic  remarks  made when Jews are not
around. It was only by coming in contact with Othodox Jews at CCNY  did  I
get  convinced  in  the existence of G-D. What about people from the Soviet
Union - who for 74 years or more have lost contact with Judiasm? You really
want to make all my 6th and 7th generation Reform  Jewish  family  and  the
people  in  the former Soviet Union obligated to perform Mitzvot which they
have never  even  dreamed  about  in  their  wildest  dreams??? What  about
children or even adults born on a MAPAM Kibbutz, who are indoctrinated with
be  belief  that  they  are  socially advance and religion is primitive, to
believe that the Bible is anything more than a collection of stories written
by their primitive ancestors?
- Richard Pauli


From: Baruch Sterman <baruch@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1993 13:08:08 +0300
Subject: Rav Soloveichik's view on Techelet

Moshe Podolak writes

>There is, however, another opinion.  This can be found in Rav
>Soloveichik's "Shiurim Lezecher Abba Mari z"l" (p. 228).  On his lecture
>on two types of tradition, he mentions the dispute his grandfather,
>Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveichik had with the Rabbi of Rodzyn.  Rabbi Yosef
>Dov argued, essentially, that with respect to tradition things work
>differently.  Proofs and opinions have no power where tradition is
>concerned.  The son does as he saw his father do.  The Rav did not
>elaborate, but I imagine that the point was that once the tradition of
>how to make techelet has been lost, it cannot be restored through proofs
>and opinions.  As a result there is no longer any techelet that is in
>accordance with tradition.  Moshe

Moshe is correct in his recording of the Rav's objection to Techelet,
and he is also correct when he says that the Rav attributed this
objection to his grandfather. However, it is not clear that this indeed
*was* Rav Yosef Dov's actual objection. The Radziner met with a
tremendous amount of opposition to his claim that he had found the
Hilazon and techelet. He responded to the objections, eloquently and
forcefully, in his book Ein Hatechelet. In the introduction to that work
he responds to the Av Bet Din from Brisk, both quoting the actual letter
from Rav Yosef Dov and then giving his answer. If you read the
discussion, it is clear that Rav Yosef Dov's objection is not what the
Rav attributes to him.

What he says, in fact, is the following: The Radziner claimed that a
squid was the hilazon, and the black ink it squirts was the techelet
(after the addition of certain chemicals, etc.). Rav Yosef Dov objected
that squids have been known for thousands of years, and everyone also
knew that squids squirt black ink. If my father and grandfather knew
about squids, said R.Y.D., and didn't suspect it to be the hilazon, it
is as if there is a tradition - a mesora - that squids are *not* the
true hilazon. Therefore, until the Radziner can explain what *new* thing
he is showing us, we will have to reject his squid = hilazon equation.
And so, the Radziner's answer to R.Y.D. is to show what exactly he has
discovered - which is the process for turning ink into techelet, etc.

It is clear that this objection is very different from the Rav's. In the
one case, R.Y.D. claims that a mesora is not necessary, but at least
there should be no anti-mesora. In the other case, the Rav claims that a
positive mesora is required. Needless to say, this has its most
important consequence in the question of Murex techelet. If one needs a
positive mesora, that may be a problem, but if one needs only to show
why previous generations did not know of the hilazon, that is a
different story altogether.

I raised this issue - namely the apparent contradiction between what the
Rav claims his grandfather said and what we have recorded as his words -
with Rav Lichtenstein. He offered two possibilities. 1) The Rav was
quoting from an unpublished family source. 2) Since the actual
descriptions and characteristics of the hilazon and techelet brought
down by the Gemara and Midrash are self-contradictory and ambiguous, and
it would be virtually impossible to determine what the actual hilazon is
from the sources alone, in such a case, a mesora - a clear tradition -
is required. I then asked him if sources that could be taken into
account might be archeological and chemical as well, but the discussion
took a different turn before he got to answer that.

Rav Shachter at YU, on the other hand, feels that the Rav is mistaken 
in the quote he attributes to his grandfather. 

By the way, the claim that one needs a positive mesora in order to
introduce a new halacha is not new. There were those who rejected the
Radziner on this basis claiming "Chadash Asur min Hatora" - the new is
forbidden by the Tora - a bastardized application of an unrelated law
which was raised as a banner against enlightenment, etc. The Radziner
replied to that objection in a beautiful polemic which I urge every
modern Jew to read, and sets forth a model of Judaism based on truth and
openness. He says, quoting Rabennu Yona, that if someone is convinced
that a halacha is correct, but refrains from doing what his heart and
mind urge because his fathers and grandfathers never did it, his
community does not do it, and when he was young he didn't do it, about
such a man the Tora writes, "Arur asher lo yakim et divrei haTora hazot"
- Cursed is the man who does not uphold this Tora.

Baruch Sterman - Efrat, Israel


From: <sbechhof@...> (Shoshanah Bechhofer)
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 93 20:58:24 -0400
Subject: Va'ad Ha'hatzolah

Mike Gerver inquired about books describing the activities of the Va'ad 
haHatzolah.  Two very readable books:  A Fire in his Soul (Amos Bunim)
                                       The Silver Era (A. Rothkoff-Rakefet)
Neither is specifically about the Va'ad but both contain a lot of
information about it.

Shani Bechhofer


End of Volume 8 Issue 22