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Volume 04 : Number 137

Tuesday, November 16 1999

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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 16:01:28 -0500 (EST)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)

The second of three articles.


In Search of Simplicity
Nisson Wolpin


Downsizing. Voluntary Simplicity. Return to Basics. It comes by any number
of descriptions. According to the Trend Research Institute of Rhinebeck, NY,
Voluntary Simplicity is among the top ten trends of the 90s. Its unofficial
headquarters are in Seattle, but it is subject for discussion across the
country, including several feature articles in The New York Times.

In some cases, admittedly, simplification was adopted involuntarily, the
result of corporate downscaling. But even then, the "victims" have come to
appreciate their newly gained perspective on life. Similar scenarios can be
found describing other formerly affluent people who have scaled down their
life styles-not by force of circumstance, but by conscious choice.

For a variety of reasons, more Americans are working, earning and spending
less in search of a life richer in other ways. [See tables on adjoining
page.] (note: at end of article) Part spiritual, part practical, it's not
being cheap, practitioners say, and it isn't a regimen of deprivation. It's
more a matter of figuring out the difference between what you want and what
you need, and realizing how the country's spend-and-charge mentality can
keep you tied to a job or a life you don't want.,

Interestingly-and, one might add, ironically-guiding others in their pursuit
of simplification has become a growth industry of sorts. Producing books
and periodicals on the topic, and being featured on the lecture circuit on
the theme, are some who have succeeded in this endeavor. For example, Amy
and Jim Dacyczyn (pronounced decision) through frugality and belt tightening
bought their own home (a pre- 1900 farmhouse in Maine) after seven years of
marriage, on an annual salary of $30,000. She is editor of The Tight-Wad
Gazette and author of two respectably-selling books on simplification, as
well as a popular lecturer. (It's almost like Disney making a Walden Pond
there park to honor Henry Thoreau!) The point is not that there are hidden
fortunes in the hills of simplicity, but that the goal is popular enough to
spawn a growing literary output.


0ne waits for the tidal wave of downscaling to wash over the religious
Jewish community. Yet at first blush, the trend seems almost irrelevant to
us. There are those in the" ben Torah" class-struggling kollel families and
melamdim-who made their choices, more or less, years ago to forgo a life of
affluence. And those who would qualify as middle class in general society do
not have all of the same options available to them as do their non-religious
counterparts. A family paying a high rental or property tax in Flatbush or
Monsey can't chuck it all for a humble house in a Fort Worth suburb (as a
former IBM executive in San Fran-


interpretations, can be contorted to justify an ornate sterling silver
esrog box, quite aside from the costly esrog itself; similarly, a highly
stylized silver Chanuka menora, in addition to "a light for each member of
the household" (the Talmud's starting place for hidur mitzva on Chanuka);
a slew of gifts and ostentatious extras at a wedding, as part of the "basic
simchas chassan v'kalla.".. Yet this still leaves us with much non-mitzva
activity to question-the necessity for a three-figure price tag on a thirteen
year-old boy's fedora, the need for the suit or the outfit or the silk cravat
that are "right" this particular season, the burning necessity to possess a
human hair sheitel, styled just-so, the desired spot for mid-winter vacation
without which one's life is so deprived.


Instead of dwelling further on the particular items or expenses that are
perceived as bottom-line necessities, however, it may be worthwhile to examine
the human dynamic that drives individuals to seek new, ever-more stimulating
experiences and constantly upgrade their possessions and lifestyles. After all,
as a society, people are far more comfortable and affluent than a generation
ago, and yet-except for pockets of down sizers-people are as dissatisfied
with the status quo as ever.

Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, in an essay published as part of his Kuntras
Hachessed in Michtav Me'Eliyahu, discusses this phenomenon. His insights
form the basis for all that follows: People appear to be inherently ambitious
for improvement of their circumstances. In fact, a popular European proverb
had it that ambition is the substance of life; without a set of goals one is
actively pursuing, one is as good as dead. Indeed, civilizations flourish as
a result of the continuous growth that feeds on setting and pursuing clear,
identifiable goals; moreover, their full flowering is a product of their
escalating hopes and expectations.

This is troubling, because it implies that realization of a specific goal
does not usher in an era of prolonged happiness. "When one has a hundred,
he desires two hundred," Chazal say. "And when he attains two hundred, he
desires four hundred." If man is destined to forever desire more than he
possesses, then why bother? The promise of fulfillment that fuels the engine
of productivity is only a mirage!


Actually, man is endowed with an inner urge to grow. The chosen area of growth
is only a matter of how the individual sees himself in his psychic mirror-that
is, how he defines himself. At any given point, he will sense a dissatisfaction
with his current status, and will then fix his ambition on a specific item or
experience or achievement that at the time is beyond his immediate grasp. Once
he will have acquired that elusive item (or what-have-you), he is convinced,
he will be happy. And he is, for a while. But once he has become accustomed
to the newly-gained goal, and he has internalized that increment of growth,
having incorporated it into his self-image, he begins to crave more.

The budding entrepreneur aspires to earn a net of six figures per year,
and then he'll be happy.. for a while. But once that's achieved, his sense
of contentment gives way to an urge to buy into a yet larger firm, which
eventually leads to the drive for hostile takeovers of other corporate
entities on yet a grander scale.

In terms of personal experiences: after a few years, the winter getaway
to Florida is not nearly calming or distracting enough. New horizons are
sought. Next year, Acapulco, perhaps; and then, maybe, the Riveria.... The
country bungalow becomes a summer home, and why not? In the same manner,
a family that makes do with a beat up station wagon, eventually needs a new
van. And then, of course, an additional car for "personal use. " Soon the
Town Car is traded in for a Lexus.

The Gemora in Nedarim relates an incident involving a known philanderer. Once
a man came home for his midday meal and his wife served him a course. Suddenly
this suspected adulterer appeared from out of a hiding place and warned the
husband not to touch his food. Unknown to the man or his wife, a snake had
tasted from the food and likely deposited venom in it. He could lose his life
if he eats it. "We see from this," says Rava, "that the man was innocent of
having had an affair with the woman. Had he been guilty, he would not have
hesitated to see the husband die, thus removing an obstacle to fulfilling his
desire. The Gemora asks. Isn't that obvious? No, replies the Gemora. Perhaps,
I would think that he would rather she be married than widowed, because "stolen
waters are sweeter" (Mishlei 19). Rava tells us that this is not the case here.

Commentaries (the Chasam Sofer, among others) ask why he would not want
to preserve the unattainability of the waters, so as to ensure their
sweetness. They explain in reply that sweetness is not an actual property
of stolen waters. It is merely an illusory feature of anything a person
craves while it is beyond his reach. Subconsciously, he perceives himself
as limited in self-definition as long as he does not possess that particular
item, or does not taste that forbidden fruit. The drive to achieve personal
growth endows that elusive item with an aura of excitement, sweetness,
and fulfillment. But the person driven by ambition or desire or perceived
need does not recognize that there is nothing intrinsically sweet about the
forbidden fruit. If he would, he would abandon the pursuit. In the case of
the adulterer, would he realize that it is only the unattainability of the
woman that makes her company exciting, but otherwise she is quite ordinary,
he would not be driven to engage in infidelity.

In much the same way, a person seeks to be in control of his future, leaving
nothing to chance. Thus he not only purchases insurance policies on his life,
his property and his business-which of course is rational-he feels compelled
to protect future generations from the vagaries of economic vicissitudes. It's
not that his children and grandchildren are so less talented than he is. It's
a matter of securing their well-being even after he is gone. If he does not
take care of them, he feels, no one will.

The political scene is no less fraught with illusory goals, that-when
achieved-only arouse expanded ambitions which are all the more difficult
to realize. Truly, "No man dies with half his desires fulfilled" (Kohelles
Rabba 1, 16).


It is almost a truism: "Who is wealthy? He who is satisfied with his lot"
(Avos IV, 1). It follows, of course, that since a sure sign of wealth is to
lack absolutely nothing, the wealthy man should naturally be satisfied. Yet,
no matter what one achieves, he will soon find himself thirsting for more. It
is endemic to the human condition. The only possibility for contentment,
then, is to assume an attitude that says: "Enough. I don't need more. I have
everything I could possibly want." Yet who doesn't lack for something new,
improved, or as yet untasted?

The touchstone, then, is the focus, the ingredients of one's self- definition,
the reflection one sees in his psychic mirror. If a person sees himself as
a spiritual being, and measures his growth in spiritual terms, then Torah
studied and mastered, middos fine-honed and enhanced, chessed activities
assumed, realized, and expanded-these are the brush strokes that paint his
self-portrait on a spiritual canvas. The economics are but the circumstances
of his life; the means with which a person is meant to create Kiddush Shem
Shamayim: one person serves Hashem with an abundance of financial resources,
another with a paucity of funds; much as one person is handsome, another plain;
one is gifted with brilliance, another with mediocre mental resources; one
has a thrillingly beautiful singing voice, and the other is tone deaf. All
of them can be wealthy in the sense that they accept Hashem's edict as their
non-negotiable circumstances. So they are content with their predestined lot.

Spiritually, however, the possession of one hundred wets the appetite for two
hundred; the attainment of two hundred makes one crave for four hundred. The
fact that "No man dies with half his desires in his hands," in this context,
frees him from the rat race and places him on Yaakov's ladder of spiritual
ascendancy, ever climbing, ever reaching for a higher rung. All increments
of growth fire the ambition for more. And whatever has been achieved is
truly the individual's possession.

Material simplicity, in such a setting, can be a spiritual blessing.

Pages From Diaries of Simple Living -John and Carol Brookses (53 and 5 1)
who had been earning $150,000 together in their positions with IBM, now earn
less than half. They sold their spacious home in San Francisco, moved to a
smaller house in a Ft. Worth suburb, and are otherwise cutting corners.

They say they do not resent the dizzying drop, because as a result of being
shunted off the fast track-two among the hundreds of thousands of workers
displaced by job cuts in recent years-their values have changed.

They now have time to volunteer for charities, get together with friends, and
"talk more about cosmic realities. ", The Brookses are not alone in finding
that getting laid off in middle age and mid-career can trigger a reappraisal
of bedrock values. Employment experts and psychologists say that while most
laid-off white-collar workers strive to re-grasp the same rung on the ladder
of success, many rethink the ladder itself.

"Lost Jobs, Found Directions," by Trip Gabriel, The New York Times,
Sept. 7,'95.

"When I had a Job, it was everything to me, more important than my family"
admitted Larry Shane, 4 1, a former vice president and portfolio manager at
Prudential Securities in Rochester."Everything was income, the country club
and cars. Suddenly it's all yanked from under you, and you, ask yourself,
"Where's the meaning now?"

Since losing his job last year, Mr. Shane has given up the country club,
withdrawn his children from private school and lost a house in foreclosure. He
and his wife struggle to get by on her part-time job at a Gap store and on
disability checks from his old employer.

Yet, even if an offer to return to corporate life arose, he would not accept
it, Mr. Shane said. He has concluded that the race for prestige and possessions
is a sham.

"What's the difference between making $50,000 or $ 100,000? I'm not a better
person at $ 100,000. It hasn't been easy. It's been very painful. But I can
tell you it was the best thing that ever happened to me." says Shane.,

"Lost Jobs, Found Directions," by Trip Gabriel, The New York Times,
Sept. 7,'95.

Elaine St. James' closet contains one pair of black loafers, two skirts,
assorted pullovers, shirts and turtlenecks. Period. A 52-year-old author and
successful business-woman, she could afford more, but doesn't need it. So
she doesn't buy.

Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin gave up a promising Wall Street career for
"a middle-class neighborhood of Seattle, living on about $6,000 a year each,
plus interest on their nest eggs of $ 100,000 each. They could easily earn
more. They choose not to.

Gloria Quinones of East Harlem walked away from her $74,000 a year job
to focus on raising her sons. They subsist on her husband's salary as a
public school teacher, and "though she may not be buying any power suits,
she wouldn't want them anyway."

"I feel free:' she said."I've broken out of that loop and I don't want
it back."

Choosing to buy and earn less-to give up income and fast-track success for
more free time and a lower stress life-involves a quiet personal revolt
against the dominant culture of getting and spending

"Choosing the Joys of a Simpfified Life:'by Carey Goldberg, The New York
Times" Sept, 21, '95.

Rabbi Dessler on "Living With The Wolf Pack"

Many years ago, when I was wandering in the lands of the North, I observed
a pack of ravenous wolves running in search for food .All of a sudden
they found the carcass of a small animal lying in their path, and they all
pounced on it in ferocious intensity. But they were unable to devour the prey
because each one attacked his neighbor, jostling him out of the way. They
bit and fought one another until all were wounded and bled profusely. And
so they fought until all lay exhausted on the snow, and only a few of them,
the strongest, at last got their teeth into the carcass. A moment passed,
and these too began fighting one another, biting, clawing and wounding,
until one of them was victorious, snatched the carcass in his jaws and ran.

As I reflected on this savage scene, I observed the victor running in the
distance, his path over the snow marked by bloodstains from the many wounds
he had sustained. I said to myself "it has cost him blood; but at least he
managed to still his hunger. One could apply to him the verse,'By his life
he obtains his bread."'

Then I took another look at the others. I saw that their wounds were worse
than the first one's; they had lost blood; their strength was gone. And what
had they gained from all their fighting? The shame of the vanquished. They
had been beaten by their fellow, who had eaten and enjoyed, while they had
nothing but their hurts; and their hunger, which had led them to fight in
the first place, was still as intense as ever.

Now when I reflect on the hunger of the man who craves for material things,
this memory from earlier times arises in my mind. It can serve as a parable
for the human situation. The victor in the battle of life also comes out of
it wounded, ill and exhausted-And what is more, his victory is a hollow one
because his hunger is never stilled, but rather redoubled and intensified,
as we have seen. And if such is the lot of the victor, what shall we say
of the fate of the vanquished? And most people in the world end up as the
vanquished in the competitive rat-race.

Strive for Truth Volume I by Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, translated by
Rabbi Aryeh Carmell (Feldheim Publishers)

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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:01:19 -0800 (PST)
From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: chabad messianic minyan [mail jewish 30-11]

--- "Newman,Saul Z" <Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org> wrote:
> please see the above mail jewish reference for rav
> elyashiv's opinion on the
> above topic

>and Rav Eliyashiv told him the following:
>A Chabad messianic cannot be counted in a minyan.  If
you are in a shul
>with all Messianics, then you shouldn't take an
Aliyah since the brocho
>would be levatala (in vain).

Can anyone verify this?



Do You Yahoo!?
Bid and sell for free at http://auctions.yahoo.com

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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 16:01:51 -0500 (EST)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)

The last of three articles.


Dr. Aaron-Twerski
(Dr. Twerski is a professor of law in Brooklyn Law School and serves as
chairman of Agudath Israel of America's Commission on Legislation and Civic
Action. He is a frequent contributor to these pages.)

The truth be told, I was uncertain as to whether I should write this
article. The Jewish Observer had forwarded to me numerous letters responding
to an article that I had written entitled "Time for Tikkun" that appeared
on these pages a year ago. The article appealed for firm takanos (rabbinical
ordinances) to deal with all aspects of simchos (public celebrations of private
milestones). The article was taken from a speech that I was privileged to
deliver at last year's National Convention of Agudath Israel.

Unlike the standard appeal for restraint, I attempted to place the problem
of the lifestyle of our community in broader perspective. I noted the high
incidence of tension-related physical and psychological afflictions that had
become prevalent in our community. There was an attempt to relate the need for
restraint to the phenomenon of large families, limited incomes and impossible
demands made by the cost of chinuch. The article discussed the time drain of
being constantly on the go from one affair to another, with diminished time
for self-development in Torah and attention to one's spouse and children. And
there was discussion of the views of certain educators in our communities who
report declining academic performance of students over the past several years.

It is fair to characterize the reaction to my address and the subsequent
article as extraordinary. It was clear that the article had struck a
responsive chord with many who seemed to identify with the description of
our tension-filled harried lives and the impossible financial pressures that
rob us of peace of mind and any sense of tranquility.

A sampling from the letters reinforces the observations set forth above. (See
sidebars for letters from Abraham Dicker, Rabbi Binyomin Field, and a
correspondent who requested that his name be withheld.)


To the Editor:

There is no question that Dr. Twerski's plea for downsizing the lavishness of
our simchos (Feb.'96)is right on the mark. But, let's face it, the average
Joe (or Moish) is not strong enough to withstand the pressure of the "keep
up with the Jones" (Cohens) syndrome.

The crux of the problem actually suggests a solution: If an average baal
habayis refuses to order "french service," or omits sable, etc., at a
bris, he is labeled a "cheapskate, " However, if distinguished leaders of
our community would agree to curtail extravagant expenditures at their own
simchos and would insist that their fellow baalel simcha adhere to reasonable
takanos, then the average person could follow suit without embarrassment.


To the Editor:

We suffer from pizur hanefesh (massive distraction) today more than ever
before. There is not only a perceptible decline in academic performance
with some, but the myriad social ills that afflict the general community are
slowly seeping into our own circles-and at younger ages. Added to the stresses
of the social calendar are the necessary commitments to the various mosdos
(institutions) that need our help... and we are without a doubt obligated
to help them.

What was troubling were the proposals... or I should say lack of proposals. The
items that Dr. Twerski is suggesting be curtailed or controlled are beyond
the reach of most of the Torah community (without going into debt or taking
tzeddaka away from struggling mosdos). Even $1,000 bar mitzva celebrations
may be extravagant when repeated 7,8, or 10 times. There's no doubt that the
cost of putting on simchos must be reduced, but is that even a beginning? What
about our daily lifestyles? Ironically, on the pages of Dr. Twerski's article,
there appeared two interesting ads that say something to us about lifestyle:
camping in Eretz Yisroel (at any cost?) and Pesach get-aways. (Is that what
was meant by yetzias Mitzrayini?) RABBI BINYOMIN FIELD Baltimore, MD


To the Editor:

I am in perfect agreement with Dr. Twerski's proposals. However, please note
the following:

Dr. Twerski focuses on the financial drain of the t'nayim-vort- wedding-sheva
berachos extravaganzas, and adds that the costs of a wedding present and
babysitter are expenses many guests would be happy to forgo.

There is another issue to consider: TIME. There is nothing more precious than
time. Rabbi Aharon Kotler (in Mishnas Reb Aharon) was highly critical of
those who use a sefer in a beis midrash without returning it to its proper
place; such practices steal the time of those who must later search for
the sefer when they need it. It seems to me, and I know that others agree,
that the new Orthodox institution of the gala "vort" is one colossal waste
of the precious time of scores of people. Why is it necessary to say "Mazel
tov" in person, in a formal suit and tie? What is wrong with a simple phone
call? In a generation that is so in need of zechuyos (merit), what right
do we have to take fathers away from learning with their sons, mothers
from their mothering, men from their sedarim (set times for Torah study),
and women from their mitzva projects, so that they can wish us Mazel tov?

It seems to me that many mechutanim whose vorts I have attended are in complete
agreement with this. But they "do it for the kids' " Perhaps the time has
come for every yeshiva and Bais Yaakov to institute a pre-engagement class
to instruct their students concerning the "wrongs" and "rights," from dating
to engagement to wedding to marriage.

Dr. Twerski focused on the emotional stress brought about by unnecessary
simcha expenditures. A major area of stress that his article did not address is
getting to the point of making a simcha. Too many parents and their daughters
endure years of stress over the fact that they are shut out of a large part
of the shidduch market due to their low financial status. I know a fellow
who earns just enough to support his family and learns a couple of hours a
night. His daughters are in the young teens. Someone suggested that he quit
his learning seder in order to take on a night job so that he will have what
to offer when his daughters reach shidduch age. He brought this issue before
a renowned talmid chacham (to whom money was never an issue when he married
off his children). This scholar was adamant in saying that the man should not
sacri- fice his learning for such reasons-and he lamented the fact that the
shidduch situation in our community should necessitate asking such a question.

As an aside: Some twenty years ago, the son of a well-known rav became
engaged. The boy was considered a "real catch," and after the engagement,
someone asked what the amount of the promised nadin (dowry) was. "Oh, one
hundred thousand dollars" came the reply. "You see," the rav continued,
"my future daughter-in-law is so special, her material needs are so minimal,
that over the course of time she will surely save my son a hundred thousand

Time has proven him right. His son remained in kollel for many years and
they have raised a beautiful family.

It seems to me that this issue of shidduchim is a crisis of sorts that should

Why it is Difficult to Respond

The letters and oral comments share in common a profound sense of helplessness
and deep seated frustration that after years of agonizing about the problem,
little has been done to ameliorate it.

And that gets me to why I was reluctant to write this article. Frankly, I
have little more to say. I have no rejoinder to those whose pain I feel. No
turn of a phrase. No witty quip can right their sense of frustration. They
are, in my opinion, altogether right. The sad reality is that this problem
of lifestyle and takanos is simply not uppermost on the priority list of
the community leadership.

Shortly after last year's Convention, several meetings were held. It quickly
became evident that not all constituencies could be pleased. Creating sensible
takanos is very difficult. As they say, the devil is in the details. And the
details are truly terribly difficult. But in One final letter needs to be
cited. The writer is a highly respected member of our community, Nosson Munk:


To the Editor:

After reading Prof. Twerski's article, I decided to get involved, and find
out what it would take to get moving toward the desperately needed takanos on
downsizing simchos in general, and weddings in particular. I spoke to many
well known and respected people, Roshei Yeshiva, Rabbanim, wealthy ba'alei
battim, and mechanchim (educators) who over the last twenty years have been
working on getting a takana issued.

Dr. Twerski's conclusion is that our gedolim would like to enact takanos,
but are keeping silent because "they sense in us a cynicism incompatible
with the kind of emunas chacharnim necessary for a true allegiance to Torah.'

Furthermore, even if some frum, wealthy individuals do agree on a downsizing
formula, it will be insufficient for getting a takana enacted. A critical
mass must demonstrate a readiness to respond before takanos will be enacted.

The bottom line, then, is that we are therefore doomed to remain without
takanos and must suffer the consequences. This is not cynicism, but the very
sad and true reality. Hashem Ya'azor! NOSSON MUNK Brooklyn, NY

I do not fully agree with Reb Nosson. True, we are so beleaguered with problems
of survival that this issue has not gotten to the top of the list. But
discussing the problem and examining its causes promotes public awareness,
and keeps the subject on the agenda, bringing closer the day when ultimately
takanos will be enacted.

To be more specific: Addressing the issue of overspending and the need
for downsizing, in speech as well as in print forums, is bound to make
a difference-albeit incrementally-in how we think and how we act. Over
a period of time, the over-spender is bound to feel some discomfort, and
the belt-tightener will bask in a degree of self- righteousness instead
of embarrassment.

And then, ultimately, a greater sense of readiness to respond to community
wide takanos will prevail. Even if they are spelled out on a sliding scale,
reflecting varying degrees of wealth or poverty, they will be salutary and
most welcome- across the board.

The affluent may not feel that they need any kind of restraints, thank you. But
in a time when so many dedicated melamdim are far behind in their meager salary
payments, extra tens of thousands of dollars lavished on personal simchos
is somewhere between criminal and obscene. There is unarguably a spiritual
benefit to the wealthy man who responds to such restraints. Moreover, these
extravagant gestures raise the ceilings on what is to be considered standard,
and the ceilings simply must be lowered.

Members of the middle class suffer most directly from upscaling, for they,
more than anyone else on the economic ladder, do not wish to be perceived
as schnorrers."

And then we have the average head of family blessed with many children, who
struggles to meet monthly expenses, and is forced to negotiate tuition and
camp scholarships for the kids. He and his wife are certainly hard pressed
to maintain respectability, and still bring their children to the chupa in
style, with joy-and solvency in place.

All-everyone of these members of Klal Yisroel--find themselves echoing the
pleas of Yitzchok Avinu when his father placed him on the mizbe'ach (altar),
in preparation to offer him as a sacrifice. According to the Midrash,
Yitzchok cried out, "Bind my hands and my feet, father, lest I swing out
and render myself unsuitable for a Korban!"

We too plead to our rabbinical leaders:

"Bind our hands, that we do not spend foolishly! Bind our feet lest we go
in ridiculous ways, and make our simchos unsuitable in your eyes!"

We need takanos. And we are readier than ever.

Go to top.

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 16:16:55 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>

From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: Lubavitch
<<> How do you explain what is going on in 770?>>

	I'll bite;  what is going on in 770?


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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 21:53:10 GMT
From: "Sholem Berger" <sholemberger@hotmail.com>
Diffusion of the phrase "Eylu v'eylu"

The phrase Eylu v'eylu divrey eloykim khayim has achieved
almost common currency -- the question is why and how. A cursory Bar-Ilan 
search reveals (besides the two instances of this phrase in Bavli in Eruvin 
and Gittin) one mention in Tosfot, somewhat more in Yerushalmi, and quite a 
large number of references in the Rishonim.

My question is this: has anyone addressed the
diffusion of the phrase Eylu ve'eylu, not as a philosophic concept (which 
has of course been often written about,and not just
by Avodah listmembers!) but as a linguistic
and stylistic trope, so familiar that it could be
referred to by many of the Rishonim without explanation?
Thanks for any help you can give, and feel free to write
me off-list with any suggestions of useful sources.

Sholem Berger

Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 16:25:44 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>

> From: "Daniel B. Schwartz" <SCHWARTZESQ@WORLDNET.ATT.NET>
> Subject: Re: Bechora
<<> > Yaakov  *gave*  Esav bread and soup.   The diyuk is that this was 
> the reason for the sale,  not the price.
>     Precisely what then was the consideration for the birthright?  
> Also how
> do those exegetes reconcile their view with Esau's anguished cry of
> "vayakveini zeh pa'amaiim?">>

	If memory serves me correctly  (, and Yankie Schachter will forgive me
for relying on memory),  my recollection is that the price was
unspecified. The anguished cry was because "talyuhu vezovin" : he was
forced by his hunger to sell.  Although he presumably got a good price
according to these meforshim,  the very fact that he sold it at all was
under duress.

<<>     Perhaps he should have made an initial offer more in tune with 
> the value of the bechora.  The fact that he did not, raises a question
> exactly who desecrated what>>

	This is,  obviously,  not according to the above cited meforshim,  but
according to those who say the nezid adashim was the price.  The bechora
was infinitely valuable to Yaakov and virtually worthless to Esav.  How
does one set a fair price on that?  In Esav's mind AT THE TIME he got a
good deal.  He didn't complain until the second "vayakeveini"


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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 16:54:05 -0500
From: "Michael Poppers" <MPoppers@kayescholer.com>
Re: Bechora

In Avodah 4#136, DSchwartz replied:
> Precisely what then was the consideration for the birthright?  Also how
do those exegetes reconcile their view with Esau's anguished cry of
"vayakveini zeh pa'amaiim?" < ... and ...
> Remember a basic rule of capatilism is that
everything has a price....The asset in question can be present valued. <
The birthright included both responsibilities and benefits.  The Esav of
Chapter 25, who spurned the birthright because of its responsibilities and
drawbacks (see RaShY on 25:32) -- and, I would venture, might have been
willing, as a result, to pay Ya'akov in order to unload its burden, much
less accept a token in return for it -- may have been less mature (and was
certainly younger: based on RaShY 27:2, he was 63; he was 40 only a few
p'sukim earlier, and he was probably somewhere between 13-40 in Chapter 25)
than the Esav of Chapter 27, who better understood the benefits of the
birthright (and, perhaps, regretted his previous actions).

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ
(credit goes to Rabbi B.Blau for evoking the above thoughts in his d'rasha
last Shabbos morning)

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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 14:58:08 -0700 (MST)
From: Daniel Israel <daniel@pluto.ame.arizona.edu>
Re: Birthrights and their value

A follow up to my earlier post:
Those who are discussing the market value of the birthright, check the
Ramban.  The market value is zero if Esav dies before Yitzchak.

Daniel M. Israel
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:58:52 -0800 (PST)
From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: chabad messianic minyan [mail jewish 30-11]

--- "Newman,Saul Z" <Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org> wrote:
> please see the above mail jewish reference for rav
> elyashiv's opinion on the
> above topic

>and Rav Eliyashiv told him the following:
>A Chabad messianic cannot be counted in a minyan.  If
you are in a shul
>with all Messianics, then you shouldn't take an
Aliyah since the brocho
>would be levatala (in vain).

If the statement in MJ about R. Elyashiv's Psak is
accurate, then it raises some serious questions about
davening in a shul heavily populated with messianists.

1.Does R. Elyashiv represent predominant thinking
amongst the poskim?

2.How is he defining Messianics? 
   a) Is it anyone who believes that the Rebbe is 
   b) Is it those who believe that he is still alive? 
   c) Is only those that believe that he is G-d? 
   d) Is it any of the above?

3. Is one Yotzei Tfila  B'Tzibur if a Mashichist is
the Shaliach Tzibur?  If a Mashichist is called to the
Torah can we answer Amen?  What about Kaddish... Yehe
Shme Etc.

4. There is a caterer here in Chicago that has a
Mashiachist as it's Mashgiach Timidi.  Can one eat
from this caterer?



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