Volume 9 Number 53
                       Produced: Tue Oct 19  7:18:11 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Calendar dates
         [Josh Klein]
Disasters and Inconveniences
         [Shaya Karlinsky]
Dvar Torah on Noach
         [Hillel Markowitz]
Mashiv Haruach for 30 days
         [Elliot David Lasson]
Personal Disasters (2)
         [David Clinton, Anthony Fiorino]
Placing Flowers at Gravesites
         [Neal Goldberg]
Tel Number in Israel??
         [Joseph Greenberg]


From: Josh Klein <VTFRST@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 93 06:48 N
Subject: Calendar dates

I can understand why we use "tet-vav" for the 15th day of the Jewish
month, since "yud-heh" is a name of God and we don't want to use that
lightly (tet-vav= 9+6=15=yud-heh=10+5, to refresh your gematria). Why,
though, do we use "tet-zayin" (=9+7=16) instead of "yud-vav"? I'm not
aware of "yud- vav" spelling one of God's names, nor is the combination
"yud-heh-yud-vav" a holy name.

Josh Klein VTFRST@Volcani


From: Shaya Karlinsky <HCUWK@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1993 15:32 IST
Subject: Disasters and Inconveniences

     After previous discussions about disasters and how they should or
should not be interpreted, Sam Gamoran (in MJ 9/47) asks "about the way
to interpret... an unusual event (that) happens to *you*?  What actions
should one take."  (As Sam himself writes, the examples he gives aren't
"disasters" [lo aleinu], but might better be termed serious disruptions
of daily life.)
     I'd like to take the opportunity to share some thoughts that I have
developed in researching the issue of "why bad things happen to good
people" may be helpful.
     The question itself "Why bad things happen to good people" presumes
that when good things happen to us, when things are going smoothly, we
have no questions, no need to ask ourselves "why are good things
happening?"  I think this is based on a premise common in US culture
today, "entitlement".  We seem to have a right to expect that things
will go well; if they don't, someone or something is at fault: in the
secular world it will be the manufacturer, my neighbor, the doctor, or
someone that I can sue or blame for "victimizing" me.  In the religious
world, we either blame G-d, our actions, or our Mezuzos.  I think this
is an oversimplification, to say the least.  While the principle of
searching our deeds when bad things happens runs throughout Judaism,
from the Torah through Chazal down to contemporary Jewish thinkers, it
doesn't always work.  As in Sam's case, we may not find any good
explanations for what is happening.
     The Gemara in Brachos (5a) says that if a person sees "yesurim"
(difficulties, which could even be quite insignificant, as indicated in
the Gemara Arachin 16b) happening to him, he should examine his actions.
If he doesn't find a suitable explanation, he should attribute the
difficulties to his "bittul Torah", not learning Torah when he has the
opportunity.  If he doesn't find that this could be the cause, he knows
that it is "yesurim shel ahava," difficulties caused by G-d's love of us
(see Mishlei Ch. 3).
     One explanation of "yesurmim shel ahava" is that G-d needs to renew
our awareness that he is there.  G-d expects us to maintain an ongoing
relationship with Him, constantly aware of His presence and His
interaction with us.  It is not enough for us to turn to Him - as so
frequently happens - only in times of troubles and difficulties.  So, if
we aren't sensitive to His presence and intimate involvement when things
are going smoothly, he needs to send a few waves to maintain the
awareness.  Our lack of appreciation when all runs smoothly of how good
things are for us, can require a little "trouble" to make us more aware
of G-d.
      A second explanation of "yesurim shel ahava" is that these
difficulties are not a punishment, but rather a challenge.  Not
everything bad that happens to a person should be interpreted as a
punishment.  That attitude is very destructive psychologically, it
creates tremendous problems in our conviction of the Almighty as
infinitely kind and infinitely just, and I simply don't believe it is
true that all bad things are the result of punishment.  (Not all sources
agree with what I am saying, but I have enough sources - including the
above quoted Gemara - to be confident to write it.)  One important
reason difficulties are visited upon a person can be as a challenge as
to how he will deal with the situation G-d is putting him in, how will
he behave, how will he react to G-d.  The RAMCHAL, in Derech Hashem,
Part 2, Ch. 3, is a very important source for further elaboration on
this idea.
     One final idea, somewhat related to this discussion.  When man
doesn't properly use the resources G-d has given him, they are taken
away.  These resources can be financial, they can be good health, or
they can be time.  If one is experienceing time-wasting inconveniences,
are we utilizing our time properly and effeciently?  If we experience
damage to something we own, are we placing too much emphasis on
appearances, on showing off our material possessions, as opposed to the
functionality of them.  Are we caught up in the "consumerism" culture?
This could be a misuse of resources G-d gives us.  Every resource that
we receive carries with it the responsibility to utilize it in some way
for His service.  If we don't live up to that responsibility, G-d may
send us a reminder, or may take the resource away.
     On this topic there were quite a few postings a while ago about the
Shabbos bus disaster that happened in Petach Tikva a number of years
ago.  I'd like to close with a story I heard from Rabbi Yakov Feitman of
Cleveland.  Quite a few years ago there was a terrible tragedy in
Brooklyn involving a child, and one of the local Rabbis used the
opportunity to awaken the community to Teshuva.  In doing so, he imputed
that the death of the child was due to a certain laxity in the deeds of
the parents.  The next morning Rav Hutner zt'l called this Rabbi and
said to him "I hear you changed professions."  The Rabbi was puzzled, he
said, since he was still only a shul Rabbi.  No, said Rav Hutner, I
heard that you went into ACCOUNTING.  You must be balancing G-d's
"books," since to say what you said yesterday you must have access to
His books.
     No one has access to G-d's books, and we can't know ANYTHING about
G-d's behaviour with another person.  It would be a great accomplishment
if we can develop some insight into what G-d is trying to communicate to
each of us in our daily lives.  Let G-d worry about his accounts with
other people.

Shaya Karlinsky
Yeshivat Darche Noam / Shapell's 
POB 35209   Jerusalem, ISRAEL


From: <hem@...> (Hillel Markowitz)
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 93 00:27 EDT
Subject: Dvar Torah on Noach

The following is a short summary of a dvar torah given by Rabbi Y.
Kaganoff of Darchei Tzedek in Baltimore during Shalosh Seudos this
shabbos.  Any mistakes are mine alone as I am summarizing from memory.

We all know of the meforshim who say that the initial description of
Noach as Ish Tzadik, Tamim Haya Bedorosav is actually to Noach's
discredit.  That is that in the generation of Avraham, Noach would not
have been that great.  The terms used are actually more on the order of
not doing anything wrong.

Ish - is the highest term used for humanity.

Enosh is the lowest term since it was in the generation of Enosh that
idol worship began.

Adam - is the term for man who has his potential for good or evil.

Ish - is for a man who has reached his potential.  It is also used as a
term for "master" as in "Ish Haadamah" which calls Noach the master of
the Earth.

Tzadik is actually used in the terms of the results of a court trial
rather than the way we normally call someone a tzadik nowadays.  That
is, someone declared innocent is called "tzadik".  This actually means
only that someone has not done anything wrong.

Tamim is a term showing the attitude of Noach.  That is he was
wholehearted in foolowing the path of Hashem.

What is the reason for considering him as less than Avrohom?  When we
read about the great gedolim or hear the stories of past tzadikim we
often despair of reaching their level or being able to affect the world
as they did.  This teaches us that as long as we are wholehearted in our
efforts to follow Hashem to our best potential, we can effect the world.
Noach saved the world even though he was unable to affect more than his
own immediate family.

Hillel Markowitz                    <H_Markowitz@...>


From: <Elliot_David_Lasson@...> (Elliot David Lasson)
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 93 08:38:01 -0400
Subject: Mashiv Haruach for 30 days

The question was asked as to why the poskim picked 30 days as the period
of time within which one would have to repeat Shmoneh Esreh (in case of
doubt).  I believe that this has something to do with the chazakah
(presumption) that something which is repeated 90 times (i.e. 3 amidot
perday for 30 days) becomes habit and rote.  I recal that someone poses
the suggestion for an individual to repeat the phrases "mechaye meitim
ata rav l'hoshia...mashiv haruach umorid hagashem" 90 times within this
30 day period to crystallize this habit.  This way an individual can
assume that mashiv haruach was said.

Elliot Lasson
14801 W. Lincoln
Oak Park, MI 48237-1210


From: <ai917@...> (David Clinton)
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 93 20:30:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Personal Disasters

Sam Gamoran asked about responding to personal disasters...

Now, I'm not claiming to be divinely inspired or to have any special
connections...so I can't say anything definitive, but I can share with
you what I heard years ago from my rebbi.

We had been speaking about the idea that Hashem sends problems to people
to encourage them to better themselves - to do tshuva (see Gemara
Brachos 5b and the story with Rav Huna.  I think the Sharei Tshuva in
the beginning of the 4th chapter also speaks about this) and I asked my
rebbi how we are supposed to know which area Hashem is hinting about?
After all, I, at least, do lots of things wrong...

The answer was (perhaps in the name of Rabbi Dessler - my rebbi's rebbi)
to look at the problem/tragedy and see if it relates more directly to
any specific mitzvos you're having trouble with.  For instance, dental
problems might lead us to think about loshon harah (slander).

More than that, I can't tell you, but I hope this helps.

Boruch (David) Clinton

From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 93 01:27:43 -0400
Subject: Personal Disasters

The gemara in brachot (first or second perek) discusses yisurin shel
ahavah, sufferings of love, brought by G-d.  The gemara there describes
what one must do when troubles are occuring -- and if, after analyzing
one's deeds and thoughts, one cannot find flaws which need correcting,
one should conclude that the troubles are yisurin shel ahavah.  See
brachot for the full discussion (sorry, I don't remember the daf).

Eitan Fiorino


From: Neal Goldberg <GOLDBERG@...> 
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 93 00:07:38 -0400
Subject: Placing Flowers at Gravesites

        I was recently asked why it is not customary for one to decorate
the gravesites in Jewish cemetaries with flowers.  Perhaps somebody
would have an answer to this inquiry??
                        Thanks in advance.


From: Joseph Greenberg <72600.225@...>
Date: 19 Oct 93 00:57:55 EDT
Subject: Tel Number in Israel??

I would greatly appreciate it if one of our Israeli members would be
able to find out and post, preferably as direct email, the voice _and
fax_ telephone numbers of the Moriah Hotel in Jerusalem. I am unable to
find these numbers here in the US. Thanks for your help.


End of Volume 9 Issue 53