Volume 8 Number 89
                       Produced: Tue Aug 24 21:49:03 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bar Kamtza
         [Warren Burstein]
Jewish Fiction (2)
         [A Goldstein, Yisrael Medad]
Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster (5)
         [Michael Kramer, Arnold Lustiger, Elhanan Adler, Bob Werman,
Yisrael Medad]
There is no such thing as a "Women's Minyan"
         [Freda Birnbaum]
Translation of the Rambam's Sefer Ha'Maddah.
         [Immanuel O'Levy]
Yeridas HaDoros and Lubavitch
         [Yosef Bechhofer]


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 93 11:37:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Bar Kamtza

Could someone explain why, in the case of Bar Kamtza, was there a fear
that a horaat shaah (a temporary decree) would be misinterpreted,
while in other cases there was no fear of this happening, or at least
insufficient fear to refrain from issuing the horaat shaah?

/ nysernet.org    


From: A Goldstein <MZIESOL@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 08:34:36 IST
Subject: Jewish Fiction

For younger teens, there are two books by one Carol Korb Hubner and
published by Judaica Press: The Tattered Talis and other Devora Doresh
mysteries; and The Twisted Menorah and other Devora Doresh mysteries.
As the name implies, D.D. is a frum youngster with detective
capabilities.  Entertaining.

For grade schoolers, there is the Savta Simha series published by
Feldheim.  (The series is also great for reading to youngsters who can
understand English but cannot yet read it.)  There are at least 3 books
in this series.

There is an amazing amount of fiction with both modern orthodox and
haredi viewpoints/orientations (a lot of the latter based on Talmudic
incidents); these are meant for the young, even very young, and can be
read to if the youngster does not how to read English.  Be glad to
supply titles / names of series to anyone; my teenage son grew up on

From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 08:38 IST
Subject: Jewish Fiction

And the mysteries written by Joe Telushkin a k a Rabbi David Winter
with their hidden philosphical messages a la Yitz Greenberg aren"t
good Jewish fiction?
Yisrael Medad


From: <mpkramer@...> (Michael Kramer)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1993 09:04:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster

A short personal footnote to the recent postings about the Habonim train
tragedy.  About a year and a half ago we were travelling in the area
with some Hiloni [non-religious / secular - Mod.] friends from Haifa and
passed by the crossing.  We noticed the memorial there and asked our
friends what it was.  They told us about the accident--and (with much
disdain) about Rav Perets' comment.  It seems that the comment is as
much a part of the story as the accident.

I'm sure that Rav Perets meant well, that he did not mean to impugn and
blame the children or their parents.  But the result of his remarks was
only to add to the tragedy.  Not only was the families' pain heightened
but the rift between Dati'im [religious - Mod.] and Hilonim was widened.

No one expects the likes of Perets and (say) Aloni to agree, or get
along, or even be tolerant of each other.  But not all Orthodox Jews are
like Perets (and not all secular Jews are like Aloni).  Believing in
skhar va'onesh [reward and punishment - Mod.] does not necessarily
translate into the simplisitic formulations that underlay Perets'

Michael Kramer
UC Davis

From: <alustig@...> (Arnold Lustiger)
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 93 14:35:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster

I believe that in the Ma'alot atrocity, where about 40 children were killed 
by terrorists in 1974, there was talk among the Lubavitchers about all the 
Mezuzas in the school which was attacked being pasul.

This raises some troubling issues for me personally. First, would Hashem
kill children because of pasul mezuzahs in their schools?

Secondly, and more halakhically relevant, do schools have an absolute
requirement to have mezuzot?  Our local day school has very small
mezuzot, which I believe if checked would turn out to be pasul. The
principal apparently asked a shaila and determined that there is no real
requirement for mezuzot in institutions where one does not live.
Subsequently, I found out that the JEC school in Elizabeth has only one
mezuzah: on the front door with none at all anywhere else.

Which brings us back to the original question: would Hashem kill
children because of pasul mezuzahs in their schools *when the schools
are not even required to have them*?

Arnie Lustiger

From: <ELHANAN@...> (Elhanan Adler)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 02:42:18 -0400
Subject: RE: Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster

>This happened some time in 1985. Regarding this same incident, an Aguda
>M.K. claimed at the time that it had happened because the movie theatre
>in Petach Tikva had started opening on Friday nights.  People were
>outraged. We asked an Aguda friend of ours what she thought of the
>comment, and she said that most of their community agreed with the M.K.
>but everyone thought he was stupid for saying it to the press...

These statements disturbed me very much at the time, and still do. Yes,
we believe that disasters are a sign of divine displeasure - however, it
always amazes me how some people claim to know the cause (in this case -
the Petach Tikva movie theater fight). Perhaps that's easier than
looking for the cause in one's own back yard: sin'at hinam [unjustified
hatred] in our own circles, inui ha-din [unduely drawn-out legal
proceedings] in Rabbinical courts, etc. It's always the other guy's

* Elhanan Adler                   University of Haifa Library              *
*                                 Tel.: 972-4-240535  FAX: 972-4-257753    *
* Israeli U. DECNET:      HAIFAL::ELHANAN                                  *
* Internet/ILAN:          <ELHANAN@...>                          *

From: <RWERMAN@...> (Bob Werman)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 02:42:16 -0400
Subject: RE: Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster

Allen Elias writes:

>I don't remember when but it was a school bus from Petach Tikvah.
>It was hit by the Haifa-Tel Aviv train at an unofficial crossing.
>22 children were killed. It was not the Lubavitcher Rebbe who called
>for examining the mezuzas but someone from Bnei Brak.

If my memory is not playing tricks, it was Rav Peretz, then Shas [no
longer] minister [no longer] who infuriated the mourning country by
suggesting that the tragedy was the result of lack of piety,
particularly improper mezuzoth, and could have been averted by ... etc.

Religious Jews all believe that there is room for improvement in others'
behavior.  Most of us also believe that there is room for improvement in
our own behavior.  I would hope that only few of us claim to know the
EXACT equation of what good acts would prevent which tragedy before the

__Bob Werman    <rwerman@...>    rwerman@vms.huji.ac.il

From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 08:48 IST
Subject: Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster

Re the recent discussion, I think there was a mistake in the
identification of the school tragedy.  My memory recalls the Ma"alot
incident in 1974, where the children came from Tzfat, but I do not
remember if the *klafim* (scrolls) that were bad were in Tzfat or the
Ma'alot school.

Yisrael Medad


From: Freda Birnbaum <FBBIRNBA@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 93 19:52 EDT
Subject: There is no such thing as a "Women's Minyan"

Smadar Kedar says, in V8N84, re: Women and Public Prayer:

>I would like to focus here on just one point regarding women and public
>prayer: The desire to pray in a women's minyan seems to misapply a
>secular notion to a religious activity.

Once again, may I remind the readers of mail-jewish that NO
halachically- oriented womens' davening group calls itself a minyan.
They are usually called "women's tefillah group" or something close to
that.  This is deliberate.  The women understand that their tefillah
group is NOT a minyan.  The use of the term "minyan" to apply to them is
only done by outsiders, some in unawareness and some... who knows?

Those groups calling themselves "egalitarian minyans" or some such are
NOT to be confused with any halachic women's davening group I have ever
come across, and as a board member of the Women's Tefillah Network I
have run across many.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbbirnbaum@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: <imo@...> (Immanuel O'Levy)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 04:00:49 -0400
Subject: Translation of the Rambam's Sefer Ha'Maddah.

While in Yeshiva in Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel, four years ago, I wrote a
translation of Sefer Ha'Maddah, the first book in the Rambam's Mishnah Torah.
I have decided to make this translation available to all, and it has been
uploaded to the archives at israel.nysernet.org in the following directory:


Although I have retained the copyright on this translation, it may be freely
distributed in any form (disk, paper, etc) provided that the copyright
message at the beginning of each file is retained and that distribution is
on a non-profit basis.

Comments on the translation are welcome by email - <imo@...>


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 93 03:20:45 -0400
Subject: Yeridas HaDoros and Lubavitch

     Yechezkel Shimon Gutfreund disagreed with my observation about
the concept of Yeridas HaDoros and Lubavitch. My observations are
based on a letter written by a Chabad Chosid, Tzvi Wilhelm, which is
circulated internally in Chabad, conversations with knowledgable
Chabad Chassidim, and conversations at a recent Farbrengen in Chicago
with my Uncle, Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet.

     (I will be in Israel for a week for my brother's wedding, so I
     will not be able to immediately respond to any further comments)

     A basic Chabad tenet is that every Rebbe is the Unifier of the
Generation ("Yechida Kelalis") with Hashem. He therefore encompasses
the people of the generation, and, therefore transcends and is greater
than any other individual. Each Rebbe passes on all the levels and
perceptions that he attained to the next Rebbe, who is, therefore "the
replacement plus" (a quote from the present or previous Rebbe, I
forget which) of his predessesor, i.e., even greater. Thus, the
present Rebbe is the greatest of all Lubavitcher Rebbes (BTW, the
belief in the Rebbe's infallibility is linked to the Yechida Kelalis
concept, but that is another issue).
     Some - though by no means all - Chassidim believe that the
logical extension of this concept leads to the conclusion that each
Lubavitcher Rebbe in turn is the greatest human being who has ever
lived until his time.
     Thus, regardless of what they may think of the stature of the
"Masses" of the generation, in terms of the Rebbe, the active
phenomenon is an ascent, rather than descent, and, moreover, this
ascent is theologically mandated.
     Rabbi Lamm's approach is not theological, but that is not the
topic of this note.

P.S. I have tried to be very objective, and if there are responses -
even in my absence - I would hope that they adhere to the same style.


End of Volume 8 Issue 89