Volume 8 Number 29

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aliyot for Shabbat
         [Lawrence J. Teitelman ]
Buying Aliyot
         [Shaul Wallach]
Halakhic/Codes ref. to rights to water resource usage
         [Arthur K. Bernstein]
R' Rakeffet's lectures on the Rav: #1
         [Jonathan Baker]
R. Yosef will speak on "Pikuach Nefesh and Returning Territories"
         [Warren Burstein]


From: Lawrence J. Teitelman  <csljt@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 93 11:01:25 EDT
Subject: Aliyot for Shabbat

Aaron Naiman (<naiman@...>) wrote:

> The mishna in the forth chapter of Tractate Migeela says how we never
> have less than three aliyot opposite the Torah, Nivee'eem and Kitooveem

The source also appears in Megilla 21a-b (beginning of third chapter);
cf. ibid 24a.

Rav Assi says that the three aliyot correspond to Torah, Nevi'im, and
Ketuvim, whereas Rava holds that they parallel Kohanim, Levi'im, and

Rav Soloveitchik zt"l (cited in Rabbi Menachem Genack, _Gan Shoshanim_
p. 91) found it puzzling that there should be a connection between the
reading of the Torah and the existence of other books (i.e. Nevi'im and
Ketuvim).  Consequently, he interpreted Nevi'im and Ketuvim as referring
to the kedusha of Nevi'im and Ketuvim embedded in the Torah itself
rather than that of NaKh.  Thus the three aliyot correspond to three
types of kedusha present in the Torah itself.

The Rav also explained the second opinion in the Gemara -- that of Rava
which says that the aliyot correspond to Kohanim, Levi'im and Yisraelim.
We know that Kohen receives the first aliya. This is based on the mishna
in Gittin 60a and the Gemara which follows which cites the verse
"ve-kidashto", one must sanctify the Kohen by giving him priority in
matters of holiness.  The Rav added that the practice of giving the
Kohen the first aliya is not simply part of the general rule that a
Kohen must receive the first honor, but rather it is part of the very
structure of the aliyot. (Hence the Gemara says that the aliyot
correspond to Kohen, Levi, Yisrael.) Accordingly, the Rav ruled that one
should not ask the Kohanim to step outside in order to give away their
aliya, because even if they can be mo(c)hel (forfeit) their honor (a
matter of dispute among the authorities), they cannot opt to detract
from the structure of the aliyot which have one designated for the

(ad kan divrei ha-rav; ve-kan divrei ha-talmid)

In the event that there is no Levi present in the shul, the practice is
to give the Kohen not only the first aliya but also the second. I
believe that this is consistent with the Rav's explanation of the
structure of the aliyot.  If the only issue was giving the kohen his due
honor, that would have already been accomplished with the first aliya.
However, there is a second aspect of having Kohanim, Levi'im and
Yisraelim all represented. Since a Kohen is also a Levi (see the Haftara
for Parashat Emor, "ve-ha-kohanim ha-levi'im"), we can realize that
structure by giving a Kohen the "Levi" aliya as well.  (Note that
primary sources give another reason for this practice relating to the
kavod of the kohen.)

Larry (<teitelman@...>)


From: Shaul Wallach <f66204@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 93 05:13:44 -0400
Subject: Buying Aliyot

     Gary Davis asks about selling `aliyot on Shabbat:

>I have just learned that in a synagogue in this area in the 1930's (and
>possibly later) Shabbat aliyahs were sold.  There was a lot of competition
>for the "best" ones, and so on.  Was/is this a common practice?  Did it
>originate in any particular part of Europe?  What are its Halachic

      Yes, it's still a very common practice in many synagogues in
Israel. I've wondered myself about its permissibility, even though I've
"bought" many myself. However, I don't think there is any question
about doing business on Shabbat because nothing tangible is being
"bought". On the contrary, one simply quotes an amount of money he
is willing to pledge in return for the privilege of going up to the
Torah. The money is ordinarily given to the synagogue or to some
other charitable purpose, and the Shulhan `Arukh explicitly rules
that it is permissible to pledge money to Sedaqa (charity) on


Shaul Wallach


From: <an989@...> (Arthur K. Bernstein)
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 93 12:06:14 -0400
Subject: Halakhic/Codes ref. to rights to water resource usage
I am seeking references (Talmud, legal codes, respona or other rabbinic
opinions) on legal rulings concerning claims/rights to use of water
resources.  Examples: "riparian rights" (a right as access to or use of
the water flowing in a river); claims on a well, the amounts of water
that can be drawn, and distance between several wells drawing from the
same underground aquifer (i.e. resource); and restrictions on shared
usage, such as watering animals with risk of polution, or irrigation
with excess flow returned.
I am a civil engineer, collaborating with a professor of political
science in preparation of a conference paper on how the critical
shortage of water resources in the Middle East affects the ongoing peace
I will greatly appreciate any assistance, however all references must
have English translations.  If you cannot provide direct references,
perhaps you can give me names and addresses of persons who might be able
and willing to provide this information.
Todah v'shalom.
Art Bernstein 


From: <baker@...> (Jonathan Baker)
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 93 18:48:16 -0400
Subject: R' Rakeffet's lectures on the Rav: #1

The following is a summary of a lecture delivered by Rabbi Aaron
Rothkoff-Rakeffet at Lincoln Square Synagogue on 7 June 1993.  It is
posted by permission of Rabbi Rakeffet (who said it's in the public
domain, but that I should try to quote him accurately) It is the first
of a series of six lectures by Rabbi Rakeffet entitled THE TEACHINGS OF

Joseph Dov (Ber) Soloveitchik was born in Pruzhan, Poland.  His father
was R' Moshe, his grandfather was R' Chaim Brisker, his
great-grandfather was R' Joseph Dov Halevy, his great-great- grandfather
was the Netziv.  At 8 years, his cheder teacher was an inspiring
Lubavitcher.  His mother thought he wasn't doing well in cheder, so his
grandfather R' Chaim tested him.  Joseph didn't know Bava Metzia, but
could recite the Tanya by heart.  R' Chaim was upset and wanted to
dismiss the teacher, and got R' Moshe to teach his son himself.  In a
speech to the YU Rabbinic Alumni in 1955, the Rav confessed that that
exposure to Tanya opened him up to philosophy, theology, eschatology,
etc.  It had changed his life.  With R' Moshe, he learned most of the
Shas, including the lesser-known sections in Zeraim, Tohorot and
Kodashim, with the Brisker Method.

What is the Brisker Method?  One should apply philosophical terminology
to the Talmud.  For example, R' Chaim was asked if someone could be paid
to put on tefillin for pay, and was later asked if someone else could
take Terumah for one.  His response was succinct: Chovat gavra, chovat
cheftzah.  In other words, for Tefillin, no, one couldn't pay someone
else to do it, since it's a mitzvah that is done on one's own person.
For Terumah, yes, one could have someone else separate it out, since
that is done on the property that belongs to someone, and doesn't depend
on his physical person.

His mother was well educated.  She imparted a great love of and
understanding for literature, from fairy tales to Russian literature,
such as Tolstoy, to Yiddish literature.  With the help of private
tutoring, Joseph Dov attained the equivalent of a Gymnasium education,
and went to the University of Berlin.  This was something of a
revolutionary act.  His mother probably approved, his father, well,
might not have disapproved as much as one might think.  After all, R'
Moshe's father and grandfather were staunch anti-Zionists, but he was a
Mizrachi-ite, so he might have understood his son's need to rebel.

The Rav and his colleagues at Berlin dressed in modern style, short
jackets, no yarmulkes, clean shaven, etc.  His contemporary, Menachem
Mendel Schneerson, attended Berlin wearing a bekeshe, beard and big
yarmulke.  They were also contemporary with Nechama Leibowitz, whom the
Rav thought of as the greatest Polish professor bar none.  (i.e., not
just greatest woman professor).

Reb Chaim Heller and the Rav: Reb Chaim was not a teacher to the young
Rav Soloveitchik, but something else.  R' Chaim merged Eastern Europe
with the Enlightenment, through being a Torah giant.  He founded the Bet
Medrash Elyon, where the idea was to mix Torah with scientific
knowledge.  Unfortunately, this was not successful, as the sort of
people he was looking for had to be R' Chaim Hellers themselves, and
there just weren't many people of his caliber.  R' Heller became a
father figure to Rav Soloveitchik in Berlin.  He was a connection to the
Rav's roots.

The Rav's uncle combined traditional Rambam study with Wissenschaft des
Judentums.  The uncle, Nachum Korakovsky (I think, my notes are somewhat
confusing on this), author of "Avodat Hamelech", a book in this paradigm
on the Rambam, had the young Joseph Dov cross-check rare manuscripts in
Berlin on four occasions for this book.  He seemed quite proud of having
been able to help his uncle, from a conversation in 1983.  This, among
other things, indicates the Rav's positive attitude towards scholarship
in the scientific study of Judaism, if done thoroughly and properly.  He
also approved of the critical edition of Baalei Tosafot.  On the other
hand, on some occasion in the 1970's he wanted to look something up in
the Mishneh Torah.  When someone handed him a copy of the new Frankel
edition, he said, "No, no, I want a *real* Rambam."  He was used to the
edition he had used while growing up.

Now we come to Tonya Lewitt, his beloved wife.  That's Tonya, not Tanya:
it's a Russian name.  They met on a trolley car in Berlin, Joseph
noticing her standing up, reading a book of Yiddish fiction.  He was
interested - who would be reading Yiddish on a Berlin trolley?  She
earned her PhD in Berlin as well as he.  She had a good personality
without relation to her husband, and passed that on to her daughters.
Her most important influence, though, was in helping the Rav relate to
the normal world.

A story: Rabbi Rakeffet (at the time Arthur Rothkoff) was an
undergraduate at YU in 1957.  He and his friends were clamoring for the
Rav to teach them as undergraduates: he had only been teaching the
rabbinical students until then.  Finally the Rav agreed.  On the first
day of class, he marched in, and started tearing the students apart.
They were all scared.  He starts firing questions at them.  The first
student mumbled something, and didn't know.  So the Rav wrote his name
on the board, and next to it "lo yada" (doesn't know).  The next says he
knows the answer, but it turns out he doesn't, so the Rave writes his
name down, with the comment "shakran" (liar).  Arthur went to the
Rebbetzin and told her what was happening.  She didn't say much about
it.  The next week, he comes in, complains at the students, "You're all
such a bunch of crybabies!"  But he didn't write the insults any more.
The Rebbetzin was truly a part of him, his real higher authority...


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 93 15:49:48 -0400
Subject: R. Yosef will speak on "Pikuach Nefesh and Returning Territories"

I would not normally think that this list would be the place to annouce
an activity of a political organization, but since R. Ovadia Yosef's
views on this subject have been an occasional topic of discussion here,
I think it's relevant to announce that he will be speaking at Machon Van
Leer in Jerusalem on Monday, July 19 at 8:30 as part of three evenings
of lectures sponsored by Oz V'Shalom/Netivot Shalom.

 |warren@      But the okra
/ nysernet.org is not all that worried.


End of Volume 8 Issue 29