Avodah Mailing List

Volume 03 : Number 169

Tuesday, August 17 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 11:12:18 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Chazal and Advanced Technology

>>So, if we're to try and distinguish intuitive wisdom from social advice (do we
have to be the Gra to even try?), it would be necessary to look into what other 
folks knew and when they knew it.  E.g.: do we find meat-fish prohibitions in 
non-Jewish codes?

Sholem Berger<<

My point is: that we seem SO qualified to just cavalierly dismiss statement X of
Chazal because after all we know better. 

I strongly object to this tone; I think this was the very hashkofo that led 
Reform to dismiss Halacho as being the product of a Dark Age mentality as 
opposed to acutlly possessing some advanced insights into both human nautre and 
spirituality.  I object to the supposition that somehow our science gives us a 
certain superiro edge over those poor well-meaing sages of long ago who were 
stuck with suich abusrd notions as a flat earth as well as the the earth begin 
the center of the solar system, etc. etc.

It is obvious to me that Chazal possessed far-reaching estoric wisdom which I 
understand is closely linked with advanced technology. If for example a Tanna 
was able to convert vinegar into oil, perhaps he had access to some form of 
"alchemy".  We tend to dismiss these stories as non-literal - and indeed they 
might be.  It is also possible that said Tanna had the advanced cheical know-how
to pull it off.

And it is also possible that Eliyohu, Elisha, as well as the Amoraim on Purim 
were able to "revive the dead" with some sophisticated techniques that would 
make mouth-to-mouth resusicitaion primitive by comparison.

It is also possible that Elisha cured Naaman via various chemical properties 
excluse to the Yarden.

My friends we are talking about a paradigm shift in udnerstanding all of these 
things - a shift people are unwilling to make.  Not only is that shift quite 
simple, it makes all of the "magic" throughout our literature quite accessible 
(recall Clarke's law).

The problem with this hypothesis (I'm not sure why it's not a theory <smile>) is
that we also know that chazal do say things which appear to be quite primitive 
and apparently quite disprovable.  Well that can be for several reasons:
1)  We really do no understand their point, or the technical language they used 
could not handle the sophistication..
2)  Just becuase chazal had access to advanced technology does not necesarily 
imply that EVERYTHING they knew was advanced, or that they were so advanced that
they were absolutely infallilble.  It is likely that side-by-side with their 
advanced knowledge they also accessed what was considered scientifically correct
by their standards.  The danger I see is that once we learn to dismiss their 
knowledge as primitive in science it is no big strech to say that their 
knowedlge was primitive re: human nature, society, sexual taboos, etc.  

One of the critcisms I heard wrt to Moses Mendelsohnn was that while he adhered 
to halacho, he lacked a certain emunas chachomim and proper deference to chazal;
so that he in fact undermined emnuno in our Mesorah despite adhering to halacho.

So I am not suggesting a totally uncritical approach, rather I am advocating an 
approach that includes both reverence for Chazal's potential, and caution in 
simply dismissing statements as being antiquated or anachronistic.  It's not 
that Chazal need to be considered infallible, rather we need to scrutinize them 
with great deference and humility. 
A recent KAJ newslett quotes R. Z. Gelley. I will paraphrase:  if Aveilus lasta 
only a year, why do we still mourn the dath of Talmidie R. Akvio during Sefiro? 
Answer: we mourn the loss of Torah that his 24,000 talmidim had which only 
survived thru 5 talmidim.

Professor Agus pointed out to us that these 5 talmidim were his youngest, the 
cream of the crop was lost.  Not only their creative minds wer lost, but their 
knoweldge of mesorah - including R. Akivo's vast esoteric wisdom.

Consider that the Zohar is authored by RSBY, one of R. Akiva's junior Talmidim. 
It is likely that R. Akivo's own knowldge of Kabbalo was far superior.  Perhaps 
R. Akvio - while fallible - was on a VERY high madreigo of technical know-how 
amonst his other talents.  And it is also liekly that while a great deal of it 
survived, entire layers of undrestanding were lost.  So RSBY might know that 
doing X is bad for the Neshomo, but he might not have learned precisely how that
worked.  Maybe in the cave he discoverd some of the te'omim and not all.

So according to this theory, Chazal had vast repositories of esoteric wisdom 
(including technology) that got lost via plagues, persecutions etc.  And we are 
left with remnants, bits and pieces.  If one has a really neagtive attitude - 
one will see this as a meanignless hodge-podge of bubbe massis.  If you are a 
Gro, you will see that these are merely pieces of one great big jigsaw puzzle 
and begin to assemble the ddiffuse statements into a big cohesive picture, and 
also be capapble to of tossing aside the obvious chaffe.

Guess What, I am neither a cynic nor a Gro.  I know amongst those puzzle pices 
is a great big picture that unlocks the secrets of the unvierse.  I also know 
that within those pieces are various false leads and incompetent attempts at 
reconstruction that are doomed to be dead ends.  So I know that amongs the 
pieces of coal are real diamonds, but I am not quite sure which is which.  If I 
chuck it all out, I'll surely thow out the "baby with the bathwater".

Meanwhile, I also see that progressively a lot of mysterious chukim - as well as
obscure esoteric magic - are beginning to make more and more sense as technology
revelas its secrets.  From a long term historical view, we realize for example 
how much more efficeint it is to enslave machines and computers than it is to 
enslave humans.  While Par'oh required thousands of human slaves to provide him 
with ice cubes, we can spend a dollar for a giant bag at our local 7-11!  This 
trend is revealing to us that we are on the right track in understanding a world
that provides for out nees in a much more comfortable manner - sort of undoing 
the curse of bezeias apecho tochal lechem!  Zeh yenachmeinu!

However, we are really only novices at this entire process.  My hypothsesis is 
that if you give science another thousand years, those obscure chazals will make
even more sense - and perhaps a few will indeed fall by the wayside as being 
nothing more than ancient popular folk science.  But without the insight of 
someone like a R. Akiva or a Gro, it is premature to decide which is which.  So 
all I beg for is patience, due dilligence, and a certain humble awe.

Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 11:24:12 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Re: Zecher/Zeicher

As mentioned in my siddur (still in beta: http://www.aishdas.org/siddur.shtml>
Rav YB Soloveitchik repeated zeicher/zecher in Ashrei as well.


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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 11:38:04 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Re: Ma'aseh B'reishis

In v3n168, Yitzchok Zirkind <Yzkd@aol.com> writes:
: As I understand it, we cannot know "how we came to be" meaning Yesh M'ayin is 
: not Bcheik Nivra only Bcheik Haborei...

If this is what the Maharal meant, he would have limited ma'aseh bireishis to
the first few pesukim, not all the way until the end of Friday. Remember also
that the Rambam claims that the pesukim can (in theory) be understood as not
referring to yeish mei'ayin at all.

:                                    (i.e. Brioh means Yesh Mayin, Oretz means 
: earth, Shomayim means heaven, Sheishes Yomim means six days)

Well, "oretz" could mean "earth" or "the physical universe". Similarly,
"shamayim" means "heaven" -- but both are ambiguous, do we mean "sky/space"
or "the non-physical domain outside this universe".

Similarly days. In contemporary physics, measuring time without a reference
frame is believed to be meaningless.

So even k'pshuto is "nisht azoi pushit".

:         my approach is that Torah is taken Kipshutoi (as long as there are no 
: definate interpertations from Chazal otherwise), and that the sciences have 
: yet to find the true model.

I agree that science has yet to find the true model. For that matter, I'd
take the Maharal's comments about chochmah to mean that science can repeatedly
extrapolate better approximations, but never actually reach the truth.

However, I don't see how you can say the Torah's p'shat describes what
occured any better. The Maharal uses this as one of the cases where chochmah
will exceed nevu'ah in scope.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 17-Aug-99: Shelishi, Seitzei
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 358:3-9
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 24a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Nefesh Hachaim I 8

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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 11:55:31 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Re: Mitzvos Ma'asiyos of the Season

Allen Baruch <Abaruch@SINAI-BALT.COM> writes:
: Something that I feel is symptomatic of this "disconnect", is the trend
: towards purchasing "pre-approved" Esrog/Lulav sets. Yes, there is a l'shem
: Shomayim, but in my experience the lack of personal involvement definitely
: takes away from the connection to the mitzva.

I semi-agree, depending on what kind of approval is involved. I would love it
if someone who learnt hilchos lulav v'esrog more recently and more completely
than I did gave a hechsher to my 4 minim. However, once guaranteed of being
yotzei the chiyuv, I would want to shop on my own for hiddurim. I hazard to
guess that such shopping is a hiddur mitzvah of greater value than some of
those I look for in the esrog itself.


PS: As a general courtesy, and not just for this list, people should set
line wrapping on. Your emailer should break long paragraphs down to lines of
less than 80 characters before sending. Aside from being useful for digests,
it's proper netiquette not to assume your reader's software will do it.

Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 17-Aug-99: Shelishi, Seitzei
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 358:3-9
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 24a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Nefesh Hachaim I 8

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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 12:08:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Re: Software Piracy

:      a certain rav does permit copying casette tapes in a situation
: where the copier would otherwise not buy the tape (because then there
: is no hefsed to the author of the tape).  Any thoughts about this?

Ba'al nefesh yachmir.

Tying this into the discussion of tzadik she'eino tov... If derech eretz
kadmah laTorah, I wonder what value tzidkus has without the prerequisite.
In which case, the ba'al nefesh would do well to start with chumros in
this domain, and only then worry about the bein adam lamakom's.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 17-Aug-99: Shelishi, Seitzei
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 358:3-9
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 24a
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Nefesh Hachaim I 8

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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 12:17:48 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Erroneous Psak

>>Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 21:46:56 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject: Re: Erroneous Psak

I stand corrected. It's not the role of one's poseik or rav to be machmir
when one's development calls for it. That role is more that of rebbe or
mashgiach ruchani. It should also be made clear that the advice is LIFNIM
meshuras hadin.

Unlike other posters, I still think there's a place for this kind of


I once received a Sh'ailo:
Congregant:  Rabbi, is it true that my son will not be permitted to be buried in
a Jewish Cemetery?
Me:  What makes you say that?
Congregant: Well, he refused to give his wife a Get...
Me:  Why is he doing that?...

IOW, I NEVER answered the query, reading between the lines (this one was easy!) 
I saw that this situation could be creating an aguna and addressed THAT instead.

Any sensitive poseik will factor into consideration certain "unasked" questions.
A cute story concerns George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.  Gershwin applied for a
job as Berlin's secretary.  Berlin accepted Gershwin's application and advised 
him: "If I were you I would not take this position.  Better for you to be a 
first rate Gershwin than a second rate Berlin...".  IOW the answer is YES but I 
advise you as a mentor/friend to say NO.

So too with psak.  Sometimes you can answer the question literally, and then 
proceed to offer advice.

Rich Wolpoe


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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 12:26:25 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Copyright She'ilo

Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 11:14:01 +0300
From: Hershel Ginsburg <ginzy@netvision.net.il>
Subject: Re: Avodah V3 #166 Software Piracy

>Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 07:06:54 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
>Subject: Re: Avodah V3 #162: Software Piracy
>- --- Hershel Ginsburg <ginzy@netvision.net.il> wrote:


>> d) Insufficient income or hope of ever attaining a sufficient
>> income
>> potential to be able to afford expensive software.
>While your answer is tongue-in-cheek, someone did tell me off-line
Dear R Hershel Ginsburg,
I am pleading for some free legal advice, but it might be useful to the list.
My daughter's piano insturctor asked me as follows:
Q: Is it OK to manually trasncribe music onto music sheets and then to photocopy
those sheets and to distribute them to her students?

Example, I have several Books with Shlom Carlebach's compositions.  They are 
scored for guitar.  The paino teacher might want to take the meodly and to score
it with corresponding piano chords.  And then to take her scored version and to 
photocopy them.   AFAIK, she will not be seeling them, but she will be using 
them professionally as part of her lessons for which she gets paid.

Rich Wolpoe

PS Just what is your precise distinciton between a hypothesis and a theory?

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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 12:27:25 -0400
From: David Glasner <DGLASNER@FTC.GOV>
Re: Satmar and Klausenburg

My illustrious friend Mechy wrote:

On a more substantive vector - though possibly of interest only to the two
of us - David continued his response to my en passant remark as follows:
<<< it is true that some of my revered ancestors of certain persuasions did
make the odd attempt to ride some of DDG's revered ancestors out of the
occasional town on a rail, >>> That's what you say, I have yet to see any
evidence that any of your ancestors (underline ancestors) ever tried
(whatever their ideological differences with the Dor Revi'i) to do any such
thing. Would you care to cite chapter and verse? 

At first i figured, why pick at old wounds? - but hokay.  I was specifically
thinking of two incidents when citing the above. (and I assume that I need
hardly add that nobody ever tried to physically ride anyone out of town on a
rail.  They would have been quite satisfied to see david's ancestors buy a
ticket and depart by train).    The first involves the bans issued by the
satmar rebbe zt"l against the klosenberger rov's pisaqim, bais din,
shichitoh, etc.  In short, a rather emphatic dissing and dismissal of the
rov's position in town. I know that david is familiar with this since he
referenced this unpleasantness in a footnote to his Tradition article on the
Dor Rivie. 

Mechy, Mechy, Mechy.  You're still not getting it.  And you're usually so 
quick on the uptake.   Ancestor.  The Satmarer Rebbe was not (repeat, 
not) your ancestor.  (Or have I still failed to penetrate the intricacies of your
family tree?)  Whatever unpleasantness (lashon n'kiah) occurred between 
the Satmarer Rebbe and my grandfather and great-grandfather thus in no  
way implicates your ancestors.  Recall that this whole discussion got 
underway when Rabbi Bechhofer (I think that we are having this 
disucssion in public largely for his amusement) suggested that since you were 
mi-bais the Satmarer Rebbe or something to that effect, you might have 
something to contribute about any possible minute changes in the nuances 
of the Satmarer's attitude toward the Zionists and their collaborators pre- and 
post-Holocaust (as if there could be any nuances in thermonuclear warfare).  
Since I thought that being a first cousin twice or thrice removed doesn't quite 
qualify you to be a member of the Rebbe's household (imagine for example 
saying that the Dor Revi'i was mi-bais whichever grandson of R. Akiva 
Eiger that became a rebbe), I thought it appropriate to forestall any possible 
confusion between the respective ideological and hashkafic positions so 
ably espoused by you and your cousin.

(BTW, I fear there is an error in that footnote which asserted
that the satmar rebbe during this period was living in satmar without yet
having assumed an official position there.  In fact, the future satmar rov
(for he was not just a chassidic rebbe but the town's elected chief rabbi)
was at this time living in Ourshvah. where he was serving in official
capacity as chief rabbi.  After a few more years there he moved to Carolyi ,
again as the chief rabbi.  He didn't actually return to Satmar until 1934. -
where he had indeed lived for a few years at a much earlier time as a
younger avreich - when his older brother the atzei chaim inherited the real
family job in Sighet - and was clearly subservient to the then satmar rov,
R. Y. Greenwald . there was also another quite brief interlude in satmar
during his ourshvah rabbonus in a WWI retreat).  

I appreciate your careful reading of my footnoes, but now I'm really upset 
with you.  Why didn't you point this out when I showed you the article 
before(!) it went to press?  Hmph.

The other incident I had in
mind involves a slightly earlier ancestral pairing.  When the Dor Rivie's
father, R Avrohom Glasner originally got the nod for chief rabbi in
Klausenberg it was not without virulent opposition.   The focus of those
unhappy with the choice was R Glasner's ostensible 'modernizing" ways, in
particular his knowledge of, and willingness to darshen in, the german
language.  The "conservative' opposition in particular was led by R. Hillel
Lichtenstein (along with his son-in-law-henchman Akivoh Schlesinger) who
wrote a simultaneously pleading and disrespectful letter to the Kisav Sofer
begging him to use his influence with his nephew (by marriage) to get him to
decline the klosenberg job which under no means was he ro'ui to assume
because of R. Glasner's violation of the Chasam sofer's issur (in his
tzavo'oh) directed against rabbonim who might darshen in european languages
- - though r. Lichtenstein opined that perhaps he might still be suited to
serve as an aide to the kisav sofer in Pressburg.  Tthis was not meant as a
compliment to either man. Now, providing ostensible legal basis to sustain
this attack on R.Glasner's fitness to assume the job was the "pisaq din" of
Mikhailovitch, where, again organized by R. Lichtenstein, a self constiuted
"bais din" issued a "pisaq" that shuls which had such german language
diroshos were assur to enter into (this was the first in a list of nine
other chato'im - bimah in center, weddings in shul, choirs,  etc.  i.e the
range of Hungarian yeihorig ve'all ya'avors).  This pisaq din was circulated
and endorsed by seventy one (get it)  hungarian rabbonim  amongst the most
prominent being my great great grandfather, the Yeitiv Lev (R. zalman leib
teitelbaum) of Sighet .

Would you by chance happen to have a list of the signatories.  I would be 
curious to see if any of my own non-Glasner ancestors were signatories.

  This pisaq was issued in 1866, not coincidentally
the same year R. Glasner assumed the Klosenberg job and thus should also be
considered as my ancestor's contribution to the campaign against R.Avrohom

Well, this is pretty mild stuff.  It obviously had no effect on the outcome.  R. 
Avrohom got the job.  Furthermore, the aforementioned R. Lichtenstein was 
eventually reconciled with my great-grandfather.  In the autobiographical part of his 
hakdamah to Dor Revi'i, R. Moshe Shmuel mentions that his youthful habit of 
subjecting visiting Rabbis to critical questioning when they were invited to 
darshen in his father's shul in Klausenburg prompted R. Lichtenstein to write
the young Moshe Shmuel to request that when R. Lichtenstein came to 
Klausenburg the young Moshe Shmuel not interrupt him, because he was 
planning to give a discourse on mussar not halakhah.  If the R. Licthenstein 
was mollified, I see no reason to suspect the Yeitiv Lev of having been more
Catholic than the Pope (just speaking figuratively, of course).  Moreover, as I 
think I once pointed out to you, there is published record of amicable 
correspondence between the young R. Moshe Shmuel (probably from the 
1880s or early 90s in vol. 1 of the Dor Revi'i's responsa) and the Yeitiv Lev.

Sofo shel davar.  There was no hint of personal animosity between Glasners
and Teitelbaums until your cousin took it upon himself to launch a crusade to
disestablish the beit din and religious institutions of Klausenburg.  You can 
draw your own conclusions about who are the outliers in this particular 

<<< and - closer to modern times - the continued lack of civil discourse (at
least according to the one-side report -guess that would have been the dor
shishi) >>> though your syntax habitually tends toward complexity, I can
usually divine your meaning, but now I'm lost <<<
I believe no syntax should remain untortured for very long.  In the long run
it, it is a powerfully creative force catalyzing and energizing new literary
forms and expressiveness which greatly enrich our language. However, I
suspect the confusion here may have been amplified not just by my syntax but
a slip of my pen, which is to say I should have written the dor chamishi,
not shishi, in the above paragraph since it was indeed david's grandfather
(successor to the dor rivie in kloisenberg) who rode that fateful kastner
train with the satmar rebbe.

Thanks for the clarification, though, as you suggest, not all the ambiguity 
latent in your remark has been dispelled.

Following up the above, Rabbi Bechhofer wrote:

As usual, fascinating history. Could I ask, however, please, to have my
memory refreshed? The Kastner train, if my dim recollection serves, was
the subject of the book "Perfidy". But I recall little more. How were the
Klausenberger and Satmerer involved?

Yes that is the Kastner train, except that there was more than one train, 
since not everyone was released at the same time.  Kastner was a 
prominent community leader and  Zionist from Klausenburg, and among 
the 1500 or so people who were selected to be released were my 
grandparents, an aunt, my mother and my older brother (my father had 
been sent to perform slave labor for the Hungarian army).  Those 
designated for possible release were sent to Bergen-Belsen and were
held there in separate quarters.  Subsequently, there were charges that
Kastner had in fact collaborated with Eichmann for his own benefit, was
interested in saving only his family and cronies, and could, if he and his
colleagues had cared to, saved many more.  This, of course, dovetails
with the account of the supposed Zionist political interest in increasing 
the number of martyrs for the cause provided by Rabbi Weismandl.  The
charges led in the 1950s to a famous libel suit brought by Kastner, then
a sub-cabinet official in the Israeli government, against the author of a 
pamphlet making these accusations.  The lower court found that 
Kastner had not been libeled, a crushing blow to Kastner, the
government and the Zionist establishment.  The decision was reversed
on appeal, but the suspicion of a political fix tainted the appelate 
decision.  Shortly thereafter, Kastner was assasinated in broad daylight
while walking on the street in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

The Satmarer's involvement is simple.  He was also one of those 
ransomed by Kastner.  This has always been a sensitive point in Satmar, 
because, at a superficial level, it might appear to the untutored eye that, 
since he was saved from the hands of the Nazis by the Zioinists, some 
feeling of gratitude might properly have moderated, if only ever so slightly, 
the mighty torrent of vituperation toward the Zionists and their collaborators 
that issued forth almost without pause from the Satmarer's own lips and pen 
and from his numerous representatives and underlings.  The explanation, of 
course, is that the Satmarer Rebbe did not want to be saved by Kastner 
and at first refused emphatically all entreaties that he be saved by the 
Zionists.  It was only because the deceased father of Kastner's assistant 
appeared to the assistant in a dream and instructed him to save the Rebbe 
at all costs that the Rebbe finally deigned to allow himself to be saved by 
the forces of darkness.  The truthfulness of this (by now well-known and 
widely accepted) narrative has been questioned by some scoffers who for 
some reason keep asking for independent (i.e., non-Satmar supplied) 
evidence supporting the official version.  As a footnote, I would just mention 
that my grandmother's eyewitness (but admittedly not entirely unbiased) 
testimony about the interaction between the Satmarer and Kastner's 
representatives before he was selected to be included in the Kastner 
group does not fully accord with the official version of events.

David Glasner

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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 13:06:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@icase.edu>

Subject: conflict and psak

Shlomo Abeles writes

Lest we may think that the Munkatcher was just your average 'small-time'
Rebbe  (as some recent posts seem to  insinuate), maybe it should be emphasised
that in addition to being a rebbe of tens of thousands of Chassidim, he was Rav
of a large Kehilla,
Rosh Yeshiva to hundreds of talmidim and a Mechaber of seforim on
Halacha, Agaddah, Mussar etc. as well as one of the most important leaders of
Hungarian Orthodox Jewry.

I have never denied that the Munkatcher was a gadol in both niglei
and nistar. On the contrary I am disturbed by his attitude to German Jewry,
Aggudah, other admorim and especially the fight with the Belzer rebbe
precisely because he was the leader of tens of thousands of Chassidim.
Similarly, the old fights between Lubavitch and Satmar is troubling
precisely because of the importance of these two groups. Had any of these 
groups been nobodies that there fights would not be of importance.

Unfortunately, division among Jewry is an ancient tradition and is
continuing. I am currently visitaing the US. In this city I remember visiting
years ago when there was one day school and one central hasgacha.
There are now 3 day schools and 3 hasgachot. Some of this is due to the
growth in the community. However, in the old days there was a stress on
unity within the orthodox community which is now diminished. I assume,
that there is nothing special about this city and it is typical.

In addition to affecting relations ones attitude towards unity, and more
generally towards secular Jewry, also affects psak halacha. Several examples:

Rav Soloveitchik paskened that one could allow the use of the community mikveh 
for conservative "geirus" when the alternative was a split in the community.

As previously mentioned on this list R. S.Z. Auerbach allowed opening
a restaurant during the 9 days when closing it would encourage some jews
to eat treif instead. He also allowed a rabbi to invite people for shabbat 
both to shul and to shiurim even though they would drive to these events when 
it was known that the people drive anyway and the alternative to religious
events was their driving to the movies etc.  Finally, he also paskened that 
one could invite nonreligious Jews to ones house for a meal even when they 
wouldn't wash hands or make berachot.

All these piskei halachot are based on the premise that one should do what one 
can to bring nonreligious people to religious ideas and people even when some 
other technicalities arise. I am sure other poskim would disagree and state that 
one cannot involve oneself in a problem area to "save" other Jews.

I completely agree that one cannot always override halachic difficulties
in order to help a nonreligious person or to help unity. When it is permitted 
requires a psak of a major figure. What I am saying is the psak will depend on 
the attitude of the posek towards unity as a goal in its right.

Kol Tuv,
Eli Turkel

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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 13:05:09 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Ellul Humor Alert

A ba'al tshuvah house painter was meeting with his Rebbe during the Days of Awe,
and wondering how he could correct his previous misdeeds. 

"Rebbe, I've done awful things as a painter. I've done sloppy jobs, used 
inferior quality paints and lied about it, I cut my paints with turpentine, and 
cut corners. How can I make up for these evil deeds that I've committed in a 
previous life?" 

The Rebbe thought for a while, looked at the painter and then pronounced: 
"Repaint, Repaint, and thin no more." 

Rich W.

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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 13:21:26 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Satmar and Klausenburg

On Tue, 17 Aug 1999, David Glasner wrote:

> way implicates your ancestors.  Recall that this whole discussion got
> underway when Rabbi Bechhofer (I think that we are having this
> disucssion in public largely for his amusement) suggested that since you

Is this not a value? Perhaps even a major one? :-)

Seriously, I always appreciate history lessons!


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

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Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 12:11:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
Re: Repeating for vocalization change

"Jonathan J. Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com> wrote:
<<But he thought it did change
the meaning: dam naki would be "innocent blood", per the Kaplan
chumash (which has dam, like the Massorah), while dom naki (per
Onkelos) is rendered by, e.g., Mendelssohn, and New JPS, as "dom
shel naki" - "blood of an innocent."  Are they both nouns, or is
one a noun and one an adjective?  That seems to be the difference. 
Onkelos renders it "dom zacai", while Targum Yerushalmi has "adam

Question: What is the definition of mishaneh et ha'inyan, for which
we cause a ba'al koreh to repeat what he read (see OC 142)?  Does it
mean (1) that the meaning of words changes (here, it clearly does),
or (2) that the concept/idea is changed (here, I'm not so sure--is
there ultimately any difference between innocent blood and blood of
an innocent)?

Kol tuv,
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