Volume 9 Number 1
                       Produced: Thu Sep  2 21:18:37 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Galut and Geulah (2)
         [Michael Kramer, Bruce Krulwich]
Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster
         [Allen Elias]
LeDavid: Hashem ori veyish'i [Psalm 27]
Mezuzah, Disaster, & Superstition
         [David Mitchell]
Reaction to Disasters
         [Turkel Eli]
Rosh Yeshiva vs. Av Beit Din
         [Anthony Fiorino]


From: <mpkramer@...> (Michael Kramer)
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 93 16:45:43 -0400
Subject: Galut and Geulah

A question related to Warren Burstein's post about the positions of
various groups on the relation between the State of Israel and the final

The standard text for the "Prayer for the State of Israel" refers to the
state as "reshit tsmikhat geulateinu"  (lit.  the beginning growth of our
redemption).  My LOR alters the text slightly when he recites the prayer
in shul on shabbat: "she'tehei reshit . . . ."

As I understand it, the standard version reflects the official rabbanut
position, which follows from Rav Kook.  Is my rabbi a member of the third
group that WB mentions, "Religious Zionists"?

Michael P. Kramer
UC Davis

From: Bruce Krulwich <krulwich@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 93 10:28:18 -0400
Subject: Galut and Geulah

Warren Burstein writes:

> I recently heard a series of lectures by Prof. Aviezer Ravitsky in
> which he contended that the distinction between religious Zionism and
> Haredism is that the latter insists that no state between galut and
> geulah exists (he classifies the belief of the school of Rav Kook as a
> form of Haredism in that itviews that the return to Zion necessarily
> is the start of the geulah) while religious Zionism posits a state
> that is neither galut nor geluah.

My impression is that a great number of people who classify themselves
as "religious zionists" would say that they are followers of R' Kook,
and many of them would agree with the statement that Prof Ravitsky
attributed to R' Kook, that the current return is in fact the start of
Ge'ula.  The clearest sign of this is the phrase in the prayer for the
state of Israel that is read in many shuls, "guard and protect the state
of Israel, the start of our return from Galus."

On the flip side, I think that many people who classify themselves as
charedim would come close to your second statement, by saying that there
is a stage that is part of Galus, the final stage of Galus, that is
specifically movement towards Ge'ula, and that we are that stage now.
This is referred to by many as Ikv'sa D'Moshicha [the footsteps of
Moshiach].  See, for example, the book by that name that has recently
been translated into English.  I believe that this was the view of the
GR'A when he formed the religious yishuv that predated the formation of
the state, and perhaps also of the Gerer Rebbe and Chazon Ish.  Note
also the variation on the standard prayer for the state of Israel from
R' Moshe Feinstein, who inserted one word to change the phrase I quoted
above to "guard... the state of Israel, THAT IT SHOULD BE the start of
our return from Galus."  (Note: I haven't found this in Igros Moshe, but
I heard it from several sources.  Anyone have a reference for it?) [I
don't believe that it is in the Igros Moshe. I spoke with a Rabbi in
Philadelphia, who was close with one of Rav Moshe's sons, I think R'
Reuvan. He asked the question about the T'filah to R' Moshe via his son
(this was in the later years of R' Moshe's life, from my memory). R'
Moshe'd response was that as written, it was a statement of prophecy,
not t'filah. With the addition of the term of the word sheteha - THAT IT
SHOULD BE it becomes a proper form of T'filah. This responsa was a
verbal one and was not written down, at least in the case I am aware of.
Mod.] I have seen other similar variations attributed to other
non-religious-zionist poskim.

Dov (Bruce) Krulwich


From: Allen Elias <100274.346@...>
Date: 25 Aug 93 10:26:26 EDT
Subject: Kosher Mezuzah and Disaster

>From: <alustig@...> (Arnold Lustiger)

>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*?

Checking mezuzahs is customary during the month of Elul so this
discussion is timely. No one said the children from Petach Tikvah were
punished because they did not have kosher mezuzahs in their school. I
now remember seeing the interview in which Rabbi Peretz spoke about this
issue. His words were taken out of context.

The purpose of the mezuzah is protection against Evil. It says on the
mezuzah (my translation): "And you shall write them (these words) on
your doorposts and gateposts, in order to prolong your days and the days
of your children ."  Whether or not a certain building is required to
have a mezuzah is not the point. If someone wants Divine protection then
they should make sure they have a kosher mezuzah on there doorpost.

Is there any harm in suggesting to people to put kosher mezuzahs on
their doorposts to protect themselves and their children?


From: <bloomdov@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 93 03:23:18 -0400
Subject: LeDavid: Hashem ori veyish'i [Psalm 27]

Ezra Tanenbaum shared with us some thoughts on Psalm 27, appropriate for Elul
season. I would like to add 2 taamei hamikra oriented notes.

1. The major break in the first pasuk (verse) is after the first word, LeDavid.
LeDavid is a title or heading similar to chapters that begin mizmor ledavid,
ledavid mizmor etc. What follows is the "body" of the verse - Hashem is my
light and my salvation.

   It is therefore a misnomer to refer to the perek (chapter) as "Ledavid
Hashem" or "LeDavid Hashem Ori". At the least, refer to it as "LeDavid, (comma
and pause) Hashem Ori VeYish'i".

2. The last pasuk is often read by the chazan:
  "kaveh el hashem hazak veya'ametz libecha (who takes a breath here as if
    there was a comma)
                                   vekaveh el hashem".
   (Hope to the Lord be strong and gather strength -- and hope to the Lord).

    This reading is incorrect according to the teamim (trop or accentuation)

    The major pause (disjuctive accent) in this verse is the "oleh veyored"
on the _first_ "Hashem". The oleh veyored is comparable is its use to the
etnachta in Torah trop (the 21 books) [examples and explanations can be
found in Vol 4 of Taamei Emet by Mechal Perlman, whose works I mentioned in
the past on the list].

    The verse should be read:
        "kaveh el hashem (take a breath here since there should be a comma)
         hazak veya'ametz libecha, vekaveh el hashem".

    The _meaning_ of the reading is found in the commentaries, I believe
Metzudot and Radak:
      Hope to the Lord, (and _even if you are not answered at first_,
      _continue to_ ) be strong an hope to the Lord.

The middle "hazak veyaametz libecha" is not timewise with the first "kaveh
el Hashem", it follows a period of time of non-response. The exhortation of
David Hamelech is to strengthen yourself internally and to _continue_ to
hope for salvation.

 A correct reading and understanding I believe is even more spiritually
 uplifting to someone "down in the dumps", or worried or depressed in Elul-

                                 Dov Bloom


From: David Mitchell <H7HR1001@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 93 09:28:51 CST
Subject: Mezuzah, Disaster, & Superstition

Regarding all the commentary on the tragic loss of children, whether in
a school bus from Petach Tikvah or by terrorists in Ma'alot, we need to
clarify what the Jewish stance is on such disasters.  Rabbi Dovid
Gottleib, of Or Sameach, in his lectures on Derech HaShem, makes it
clear that we do not believe in superstition.  We believe that there ARE
reasons for all events, but we can not know WHY HaShem brought them
about.  A good rule of thumb suggested by R. Gottleib is to try to
generate more than one explanation for why a given event might have
occurred.  So, in the cases above, when individuals were able to
hypothesize pasul mezuzot, theaters operating on Shabbos, failure to
keep kosher, etc., it becomes clear that we cannot figure out why the
disaster occurred, and it is therefore inappropriate to do so.  At
worst, it is chillul HaShem, and at best, it is superstition.

David Mitchell


From: Turkel Eli <turkel@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 93 09:11:20 -0400
Subject: Reaction to Disasters 

      Elhanan Adler writes

> 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
> fault!

   To second what he writes it seems prevelant in certain circles to
always blaim others for tragedies. I remember that when there was a
drought in Israel several years ago it was announced that it was divine
punishment for some archaeological digs.

   To put the matter in perspective the Rambam states then when a
tragedy occurs in a community each person should examine his own actions
and do Teshuva. He does not state anything about blaming others. In this
season coming into Rosh haShana we should all concentrate on improving
ourselves and worry less about others.

    Rav Chaim Halberstam (1793-1876 the author of Divrei Chaim) was a
major gadol in both Halakhah and a hasidic rebbi (ancestor of the
present Bobover rebbe). He once wrote "When I was young I thought I
could the world, but I soom realized that I'd better just concentrate on
the Jews of Sanz. When I failed in that, I took it upon myself to
improve the conduct of my family. I gave up on that too and I'm trying
to improve myself, but even in that I have failed" This from one of the
saints of the previous generations.

Eli Turkel


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 93 16:02:34 -0400
Subject: Rosh Yeshiva vs. Av Beit Din

For what it's worth, Rav Gedalia Schwartz, David Novak's example of the
Rosh Yeshiva/Av Beit Din dichotomy, is on the record as being strongly
opposed to women's tefila.  See his review of R. Weiss' _Women at
Prayer_ (Tradition 26:3).  In fact, R. Schwartz makes a direct reference
to his "more than three and a half decades of experience in the American
pulpit rabbinate" as a factor in his negative view of women's tefilah.

The shift of focus in halachic-decision making away from the cammunal
rav and towards the rosh yeshiva is discussed in R. Jonathan Sack's
_Arguments for the Sake of Heaven_ (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1991).

Eitan Fiorino


End of Volume 9 Issue 1