Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 248

Monday, January 3 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 16:09:13 -0500
From: Michael.Frankel@dtra.mil
Re: YU is a Litvishe yeshiva in the mold of Volozhin (?) Cur

gil student writes: <Since my experience at RIETS was very different from RM
Frankel's, I'll offer it.  In my (recent) days at RIETS, a very powerful
figure in the Beis Medrash 
was R. Yitzchak Cohen, rebbe and mashgiach in the high school but
the mashgiach of the "yeshivish" crowd in the Beis Medrash.  His weekly
night "fire and brimstone" mussar shmuessen were always well attended and
When I attempted to establish an official "optional" mussar seder in the
Medrash (for fifteen minutes before Ma'ariv) I asked R. Hershel Schachter to

write a letter endorsing it which I hung up in the BM.  He was very much

It is interesting to hear the perspective of a talmid of more recent vintage
than myself - doubtless things have changed - and my own remarks were
certainly meant  to describe the riets reality as it existed in/through the
sixties and first half of the seventies - a period which marked the full
transition from a faculty (and administration as well) dominated by a
generation of pre-war european trained rabbonim  (to which those of us in
the 'yiddish' track were generally assigned, rather than to the nucleating
staff of younger american rabbonim, such as r. parnes) to one where the
roshei yeshiva and administartion are completely native americans and
trained essentially locally.   a transition no doubt mirrored in all
yeshivos of whatever ideological flavor.  i am also not surprised to hear
that an american born quasi?-mashgiach is much more successful at connecting
with and communicating with american bochurim than the older system i
experienced in the previous era.  all that having been said, and even
including encouraging quotes from r. aharon and r. schechter and the fire
and brimstone musar schmooze on thursday night by one of the rebbes which
i'm sure are accurately portrayed, the description is still very very far
from a musar yeshiva - indeed the very notion that a musar shmooze or even a
shiur would be "voluntary" or that it might be limited to fifteen minutes a
day highlight the vast gulf which, i infer from your description, still
exists between a yeshiva founded on the mesoroh of voloshin and a slabodka
spirit, which really took musar learning seriously - in terms of time
devoted,formal obligations on the talmidim, and educational goals. i suspect
that riets still has a ways to go before a  r.dessler might be comfortable.
nevertheless, life is change and organizations may certainly evolve as well.
it would be educational for me to hear from other list members who also have
recent perspectives on the current status of riets and its
possible/suggested/ evolution into a musar school (remember, even back in
the sixties it was possible to find a misilas yishorim or shaarei tishuvoh
in the bais medrash and possibly even a few who read them). while i have a
hard time believing that they have strayed that far from their ideological
origins, i certainly stand ready to be enlightened by more recent aidus.

Mechy Frankel					W; (703) 325-1277
michael frankeldtra.mil				H; (301) 593-3949

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Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 16:48:53 EST
From: DFinchPC@aol.com
Re: Boys will be boys

In a message dated 1/3/00 2:31:29 PM US Central Standard Time, 
gershon.dubin@juno.com writes:

<< I should have specified:  I meant playing sports,  not watching or
 following their professional teams.

In theory, I think I understand the distinction a number of list members have 
drawn between playing sports and watching sports. In reality, however, the 
distinction is somewhat elusive. You can't play unless you also watch, and 
watch carefully, especially team sports where role-playing is important. You 
learn by watching, and there's no better way learn (short of doing) than to 
watch people who are doing what you aspire to do exceedingly well -- the 
really talented professionals, like Koufax, Gretzky, R. Feinstein, R. 
Soloveitchik, RYGB, etc. (There is a difference in the way kids watch a sport 
that they seriously play, and the way they watch a sport for pure diversion. 
There's a curious classroom-like aspect to the former that is shown in the 
way the kids focus on individual players' moves, techniques, etc.)

Anyhow, even watching sports for pure diversion is pretty innocent. It's an 
innocent way of learning to learn -- gathering and analyzing statistics, 
weighing the significance of various modes of comparative performance (see 
also, e.g., our own discussion on who are, and what creates, Gedolim), using 
competitive analogues to describe the relative value of individual 
performances (see, once again, the example of our own discussion on Gedolim, 
among other subjects).

Sports are pretty concrete for those who take them that way, or are forced by 
youth and inexperience to look at them that way. That allows kids to think 
like kids. The deeper meaning of sports -- and of G-d, Torah, and the essence 
of any religion -- is available only to those who are mature enough to 
understand it. Watching and analyzing sports as typical fans lets kids start 
with the concrete. They can later build upon this concreteness a maturity 
that will permit them to accept and understand the more abstract values of 
complex systems. That includes moral systems. And let's face it. The 
complexity of Torah Judaism is infinite.

With all the real dangerous garbage out there, keeping track of who's batting 
what in the National League is harmless. It might even be beneficial, even 
for future Torah geniuses who will lead our people back from where we, the 
wiser ones, have put ourselves.

David Finch

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Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 17:07:50 EST
From: TROMBAEDU@aol.com
Re: Rambam on Ahavat Hashem

In a message dated 1/3/00 1:43:08 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM writes:

<< He asks: how does one
 achieve this?  Then, in a startlingly moving, almost romantic passage,
 he describes a person who contemplates creation is overawed by what he
 or she sees. >>

He also discusses this in Sefer Hamitzvot, where he goes on to say that Kiruv 
as practiced by Avraham Avinu, who went through the process pointed out 
above, is the logical extension of Ahavat Hashem.


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Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 17:24:00 -0500
From: "Clark, Eli" <clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM>
Halachah and Football

From my Purim files:

	The Halakhah and Football

(Reprinted without permission from the Journal of Halakhah and
Contemporary Sports)

	Despite the widespread popularity of football, there have been few
attempts to consolidate the wide range of halakhic material dealing with
the sport.  An early attempt, Guttmann's Der Religionphilosophische des
Foosball (Berlin, 1891), is sketchy at best and is distorted by the
well-known Wissenschaft bias against sports played by people named
Bubba; hence, the disproportionate amount of attention paid to Chess
(see, e.g., A. Geiger, Rabbi Akiba: die judische Chessenchampionien).

	The following, then, is a conspectus of Jewish law on football, its
cadences and contours, its content and connotations, its convolutions
and conglobations, its controversies and conclusions.

	The Talmudic Period

	The earliest halakhic source on football appears in the Palestinian
Talmud (Ma`aser Sheni 3:7).  The Gemara there discusses a controversy
that may well have been common at the time, though unheard of today:

	R. Dimi asked R. Bibi: A player who fumbles and a goat eats the ball,
what is the law?  Do we say that the defense would have recovered?  Or
[do we say that] as long as the goat eats, the ball remains in the hands
of the offense?  He said to him: There is no rule against goats.

	R. Bibi's answer, the famous "no-goat" rule, is the subject of a bitter
dispute among Aharonim.  In his classic responsa collection, Shtut shel
Shlomo, R. Shlomo Katznellenbogen argues that, according to R. Bibi, the
intercession of the goat is legal; therefore, the benefit accrues to the
team which was last in possession of the ball.  Katznellenbogen brings a
proof from a similar discussion in Nazir regarding field hockey.

	R. Barukh b. Barukh of Greps disputes the conclusions of the Shtut shel
Shlomo in his well-known halakhic monograph, Barukh She-Kivanti.  R.
Barukh argues there (ad loc., et seq., op. cit.) that R. Bibi's
"no-goat" rule assumes that, because the goat's consumption of the ball
impedes the progress of the offense, the goat must be regarded
le-halakhah as a shaliah (agent) of the defense.  As a result, the
defense has, through the instrumentality of the goat, recovered the
fumble.  This assumes, of course, that R. Bibi believes a goat may be
counted as a player on the field (Cf. Raavan on Baba Sali 58a, s.v. ahar

	On first blush, R. Barukh's explanantion seems untenable.  But a closer
examination of his argument reveals that the first impression was
correct.  R. Barukh seems to ignore the obvious question: if the goat is
a shaliah of the defense, then would not that team be subject to penalty
for having twelve men on the field?  R. Barukh's answer, apparently, is
that inherent in R. Bibi's statement that there is no rule against goats
is the notion that a goat, not being a man, cannot violate the rule
against twelve men on the field.

	Whether this principle could be extended, R. Barukh does not say.
However, one might logically suggest that, under R. Bibi's rule, a goat
might similarly be allowed to commit holding -- or even roughing the
kicker  -- with impunity.  Such a result seems unlikely, not to mention

	The Geonic Period

	As one might imagine, there is precious little Geonic material dealing
directly with football.  However, Levin's Ozar ha-Geonim does contain a
fragment of a responsum by I.M. Pei Gaon dealing with first round draft
picks.  Assaf argues that this responsum is in fact dealing with the
basketball draft, based on the lower salaries mentioned in the text.  He
also suggests that the political turbulence of the period may have
discouraged violent sports; there is no contemporary evidence, for
example, of stock car racing.  Alternatively, it has been suggested by
Alon and others that football may have been played, but only during
blinding snowstorms, an infrequent occurrence in post-Talmudic
Babylonia.  More recently, an obscure scholar named Guiseppe has argued
that R. Sherira Gaon drove an ice cream truck; he has been ignored.

	The Period of the Rishonim

	In the early Middle Ages, especially in Spain, freedom and economic
prosperity brought with them football pools, i.e., gambling on the
outcome of football games.  The halakhic authorities unanimously
condemned the activity (see, e.g., Maimonides' Iggeret le-Frank's Bar
and Grill), each citing a different reason.  Some argued that a football
pool involves an asmakhta, others that it induces bittul zeman, bittul
ha-yesh and bittul hametz.  A third group invalidated the pools on the
basis of Rav's well-known dictum, "Only bet on a sure thing."
Unfortunately, we have no evidence regarding the success of these
efforts to eliminate the football pools.

	The subject of football cropped up in an entirely different context
with the outbreak of the first Maimonidean Controversy.  Many
anti-rationalists viewed the sport as an allusion to Aristotelian
metaphysics; Ramah, for example, demonstrated that the calling of plays
from the sidelines indicates a denial of free will.  But football found
an apologist in the unlikely person of Rivash.  In an oft-quoted
responsum, Rivash argued for the viability of a spiritual life based on
football; he suggested that the game was actually included within the
category of a milhemet reshut.  However, some have pointed out that in
Galut, where there is no Jewish king, Jewish participation in football
would therefore be restricted to playing defense and, perhaps, special
teams.  For this reason, many prefer to quote Rivash's second rationale
for football: "What else have you got to do on Sunday afternoons?  Mow
the lawn?"

	Kabbalists also made room for the game in their weltanschaaung, but
they tended to stress more abstract elements.  The ecstatic kabbalists,
for example, viewed the convexity of the football itself as an
expression of God's Name -- especially when balanced at the tip of one's
nose.  Theosophic kabbalists, on the other hand, put a great deal of
effort into lowering the number of players on the field from eleven to
ten, thus bringing the sport into harmony with the Sefirot.

	In Germany, we find that football provided a fertile source for
discourse on a variety of issues.  Mordekhai, for instance, quotes R.
Meir of Rothenburg as saying that the need for two witnesses on a get
(bill of divorce) is proven by football: "For there aren't two witnesses
over there (i.e., in a football game), and it is all disorder and chaos
(tohu va-vohu)."  Similarly, the Tur quotes his father, the Rosh, as
follows: "And our sages decreed that we should act beyond the letter of
the law (lifnim mi-shurat ha-din), for were it not [an obligation], the
world would not be sustained, but would be [a game of] football."

	This German view of football as chaotic and violent might, as Urbach
has suggested, have resulted from the lack of centralized authority in
Ashkenaz or it may simply reflect that these people were a bunch of

	The Period of Aharonim

	The Aharonim discuss football in a wide variety of contexts,  one of
the most interesting of which is the football tax controversy of 1752.
Imposed by the Hapsburg Empress Maria Theresa, the football tax fell
disproportionately on Jews and meeskeits.  Moravian Jewry sought relief
from their halakhic leaders, all of whom were wintering in Florida at
the time.

	In postcards from the Fontainbleu, several authorities argued that Jews
are halakhically exempt from a football tax because dina de-malkhuta
dina applies only where the king is named Fred.  In the wake of the
crisis, R. Jonathan Eyebeshuetz suggested that he should simplify the
spelling of his name.  He also distributed a tax-free amulet to his many
friends and acquaintances.

	R. Jacob Emden responded by attacking the amulet and criticism of
football as Sabbatean.  In a passionate pamphlet, Sport Emet le-Ya`akov,
R. Jacob argued that football is the only sport not engaged in by the
Frankists.  Which may well have been true.  R. Jacob also instituted
"Siddur Night," in which he gave out free copies of his siddur to the
first one thousand fans.

	With the advent of the Enlightenment, football became the football in
the controversy between maskilim and traditionalists, both claiming that
the sport strengthened their position.  But the details are really
dreary, so we will not go into them.


	As we have seen, the history of Halakhah and the history of football
are intertwined.  My conclusion is that they always will be.  As Vince
Lombardi once said, "Talmud Torah isn't everything, it's the only

Eli Clark

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Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 17:25:14 EST
From: TROMBAEDU@aol.com
Re: Boys will be boys

In a message dated 1/3/00 4:49:15 PM Eastern Standard Time, DFinchPC@aol.com 

<< With all the real dangerous garbage out there, keeping track of who's 
 what in the National League is harmless. It might even be beneficial, even 
 for future Torah geniuses who will lead our people back from where we, the 
 wiser ones, have put ourselves. >>

I agree wholeheartedly with R' David's point. I only point out that the 
typical Sports Channels one finds on Television also include a great deal of 
material not appropriate for young B'nei Torah. (Beach Volleyball, Beer 
Commercials, Female Bodybuilding, etc.)

I agree in a limited way with R' Eli's post on this subject. As a true talmid 
of R' Aharon, I find he denigrates music at the expense of literature, :-), 
but on a philosophical level, I might also point out that there is a fine 
line between restoring the spirit to be a better "Learner" or "Mitzvah 
Performer," and restoring the spirit because it is an intrinsically valid way 
to experience the beauty and glory of God. IOW, Mozart doesn't just relax us 
and give us release, it is in and of itself an expression of Mah Gadlu......


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Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 0:38 +0200
From: BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il

Apart from the Rambam (Hilchot De'ot 4:14 and 4:15) see the Shulchan
Aruch Orach Chaim 301:2 ("bachurim ha'mitangim bikfitzatam umrutzatam..").

I like the lashon of the Rambam (H. Deot 4:15) "v'chol mi she'yoshev
l'vetach V'EINO MITAMEL...").


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Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 17:45:35 EST
From: Pawshas@aol.com

A couple of points regarding R' Eli Clark's preliminary thoughts on 

A. I am confused by REC's apparent suggestion that the idea of leisure qua 
leisure for the average Joe is not so recent; to prove this, I need only 
point to the Halachos regarding Tiyyulim on Shabbos and Tisha beAv, and 
during Niddah periods.

B. REC suggests that we start with the Rambam, but I am perplexed by the 
choice of this guide. The Rambam does present a relatively early concrete 
perspective on engagement beOlam haZeh, but there are scattered earlier 
For example:
1. The last lines of Yerushalmi Kiddushin regarding tasting everything the 
world has to offer, and
2. Eruvin 54a advising parents against stinting on their Olam haZeh in order 
to leave wealth to their children.
One could argue that this is not necessarily an issue of leisure, per se, but 
I believe it fits into the discussion as a precursor, if nothing else, of the 
later views. It is easier for one to argue that there is value in observing 
nature when a Tanna has said the same thing, even if the former did so as a 
means of reciting Berachos and the latter does so to enable him to have 
energy to learn Berachos.

C. REC then points out that people need a certain segment of free time, and 
are not capable of the intensity of a Vilna Gaon. Recreation serves as a 
Although REC does not appear willing to go this far in his preliminary 
thoughts, that seems to render recreation a Chiyyuv, as a recharger, rather 
than as a Mutar means of spending time when one is not learning.
Obviously, this is more than a semantic point. If recreation is to be used as 
a recharger, we don't select our recreational activity based on redeeming 
value, but rather based on its ability to recharge our cells to a maximum 
extent over a minimal passage of time.
This is based on the simple calculation that the Torah one learns with the 
recharged batteries will outweigh the gain of morally/culturally edifying 
recreational experiences. If that is not true, then the activity is not 
recreation, at all; it is a much-needed part of one's education.

D. One more thought: Any careful consideration of recreation will also have 
to include the Moshech Es haLev factor. Baseball could well rejuvenate a 
tired brain, but what happens when that brain begins to tire faster, in 
expectation of a break for baseball?
We know that this happens; it's basic psychology. Fun is addictive. One 
question, then, is how we can allow for recreation which aids in digestion of 
Torah, without allowing it to have the attractive force of dessert after a 

Mordechai Torczyner
Cong. Ohave Shalom, YI of Pawtucket, RI http://members.tripod.com/~ohave
HaMakor! http://www.aishdas.org/hamakor Mareh Mekomos Reference Library
WEBSHAS! http://www.aishdas.org/webshas Indexing the Talmud, Daf by Daf

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Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 18:26:34 -0500
From: gil.student@citicorp.com
Kevurah For Body Parts

Are tonsils and other removed body parts required to be buried?  Why or why not?

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Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 18:34:24 EST
From: DFinchPC@aol.com
Re: Kevurah For Body Parts

In a message dated 1/3/00 5:28:53 PM US Central Standard Time, 
gil.student@citicorp.com writes:

<< Are tonsils and other removed body parts required to be buried?  Why or 
why not? >>

How does one say Kaddish for tonsils? Must one tear a hole in one's neck, or 
may one rely on the hidden surgical scar in one's throat? Can you bury 
tonsils in a sealed biohazard-proof container (see the United States EPA's 
rules on this subject) or must you use a small pine box with holes in the 
bottom? If the latter, do we not run into a major issue of church vs. state?

I'll stop now.

David Finch

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Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 17:47:18 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Kevurah For Body Parts

On Mon, Jan 03, 2000 at 06:26:34PM -0500, gil.student@citicorp.com wrote:
: Are tonsils and other removed body parts required to be buried?  Why or why
: not?

I am under the impression that they are. I've buried my sons' orlos.

My greatgrandfather, R' Yisrael Avraham Abba Krieger (Rav of Kashduri,
Litta; Frankfurt-am-Mein; Boston; talmid and ben-bayis of the Or Samei'ach)
was noheig to save and bury fingernail clippings and barber cuttings as well.
My grandfather clarified that his father did NOT consider this to be din.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 30-Dec-99: Chamishi, Shemos
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 91b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 18:05:20 -0600 (CST)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: YU is a Litvishe yeshiva in the mold of Volozhin (?) Cur

I am still curious as to RMF's objections. I do not know what you think
about Slabodka, but my impression is that Slabodka, which underwent bitter
upheavals because of mussar, break-offs, internal battles etc., was a
yeshiva exactly like Volozhin and Telshe (true, Telshe had modern
improvements like a "grade" system, dining room, etc.) in that gargantuan
personalities were resources around which students rallied or against
which students rebelled, issues of weigt in Dereh Ha'Limud and Avodas
Hashem were of prime, focal interest, and young scholars were subject to a
course of study so rigorous that only the best and brightest could truly
master the system. To the extent that RIETS is a yeshiva, it fits that
mold precisely. Iindeed, to a certain extent it is even moreso, as the
extraordinary rigors of double schedule may well consign those other than
the best and brightest to hopeless mediocrity. 

YU was a marketplace of ideas. So was Slabodka. It happens, one assumes,
that the Alter was an individual so captivating, and his population one so
thoughtful, that many of his students became Ba'alei Mussar, like my hero
RAEK, R' Chatzkel Sarna, R' Yitzchok Hutner, etc. In RIETS, on the other
hand, the Mashgi'ach was not as captivating as others (i.e., let us say,
RYBS, and, to a lesser extent, R' Dovid Lifshitz) and the student body
was, like most Americans, less thoughtful. You may not have noticed, but
there is, again, little difference in this respect between RIETS and the
Lithuanian mold yeshivos - even those claiming direct lineage from
Slabodka - today in EY and America. Mussar, to my lasting dismay, is
essentially dead.

Even in slabodka itself, the sway of Mussar was not universal. I am sure,
that like, say, Ponovitch, where one finds an amazing number of talmidim
on the balcony during the brief Mussar Seder, there were many in Slabodka
that were not aflame with the flame of Mussar. Our old friend R' Saul
Lieberman comes to mind. I do not even think one can truly classify R'
Isser Zalman or R' Aharon Kotler as Ba'alei Mussar, albeit they were great

Telshe may be analyzed in a similar manner (as may be the Alte Mir), ve'od
chazon la'mo'ed.

I wish to clarify, however, that I think your characterization of a Mussar
yeshiva may be applied to Kelm - which may be why such luminaries as RAEK
and R' Yaakov Kaminetzky were not happy in their brief sojourns there.

So, R' Dessler, as a Kelmer, may not have been happy in RIETS. But he
would have recognized the pattern of Lithuanian yeshivos. 

And, l'ma'aseh, RMF, in his dichotomy between Lithuanian and Frankfurtian
yeshivos, do you seriously believe there is a hava amina to place YU/RIETS
in the Frankfurt category?

On Mon, 3 Jan 2000 gil.student@citicorp.com wrote:

> RM Frankel wrote:
> >>to suggest, as does RYGB, that the presence of a mashgiach in the form
> of R. Lesin somehow put it in the musar camp is to seriously
> misunderstand the daily reality of riets (and an appropriately relevant
> point to claim my own bona fides as a been-there-done-that aid re'eyoh-
> I was intimately associated with RIETS for a long time, including an
> eleven year stint as a talmid min haminyon).>>
> Since my experience at RIETS was very different from RM Frankel's, I'll
> offer it.  In my (recent) days at RIETS, a very powerful figure in the
> Beis Medrash was R. Yitzchak Cohen, rebbe and mashgiach in the high
> school but unofficially the mashgiach of the "yeshivish" crowd in the
> Beis Medrash.  His weekly Thursday night "fire and brimstone" mussar
> shmuessen were always well attended and his constant presence in the
> Beis Medrash (unbelievably, he was almost ALWAYS there)  made him a
> major influence on many talmidim.  He was frequently approaching
> bachurim and talking to them.  [R. Cohen frequently quoted the mashgiach
> and it took me years until I found out he meant R. Lessin]
> When I attempted to establish an official "optional" mussar seder in the
> Beis Medrash (for fifteen minutes before Ma'ariv) I asked R. Hershel
> Schachter to write a letter endorsing it which I hung up in the BM.  He
> was very much in favor of it and quoted from the Rav in Halachic Man
> about the importance of learning mussar today.  I then discussed it with
> most of the rebbeim (R.  Bronspiegel, R. Rosensweig, R. Parnes, R.
> Twersky, etc.) all of whom encouraged their talmidim to learn mussar
> during that time.  From what I was told, R. Ahron Soloveitchik said
> something to the extent that "If R. Chaim were in America he would beg
> his talmidim to learn mussar." 
> However, wasn't it very clear from the start that YU was patterned after
> Volozhin?  Wasn't the yeshiva originally named (way back) Eitz Chaim
> after the yeshiva in Volozhin?  I distinctly remember that R. Hershel
> Schachter, in the first lecture in the official Torah U'Madda lecture
> series, started by saying that the yeshiva follows the mesorah of
> Volozhin. 


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: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 19:19:17 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Re: Mayim achronim

< It is also possible to compare mayim acharonim to heseiba at the Pesach 
 seder.  >>

What does one thing have to do with another?  

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Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 19:17:32 -0500
Re: Bes Din

I don't recall if I issued a call to action or not, but I do believe that
the Jewish community should demdnd honesty and integrity from rabbanim and

----- Original Message -----
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
To: <avodah@aishdas.org>
Sent: Sunday, January 02, 2000 7:55 PM
Subject: Bes Din

> > > Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 16:19:50 -0500
> > > From: "Daniel B. Schwartz" <SCHWARTZESQ@WORLDNET.ATT.NET>
> > > Subject: Re: Bes Din
> <<Actually, if you will look back to the beginning of this discussion,
> you will see that it started not as a call to action, but as a request,
> although a strongly worded one, that a person who (later) admitted to
> knowing NOTHING about the bias din' situation in America refrain from
> persuading other uninformed individuals to blindly enter 'botai din'.
> I do not remember posting or seeing a posted request for you to take any
> action.>>
> It did not start that way,  but certainly Mr. Schwartz,  if not Mr.
> Klagsbrun,  gave his reasoning for publicizing the issue as a call to
> action on the part of the Jewish community at large or this list as a
> representative thereof.  If there is no call to action,  I see no point,
> as I and several other posters have stated,  in perpetuating the lashon
> hara. Since you deny even this to'eles, I shall drop the subject.
> Gershon

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 19:22:52 -0500
Re: Bes Din-Call to Action

I will submoit to you that you can do precisely that.  Demand that rabbanim
take action.  They will know how to fix the problems that exist.  It should
not be surprising why so many people don't take their disputes to beth din;
because whether people have concrete information or not, they know that
there are problems.  Also, I have personally spoken of cases and encounters
I have had with Batei Din;  I simply left out the names.  The information is
out there.  It seems that there is a love for the status quo, and far to
much deference fo rabbanim.
----- Original Message -----
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
To: <avodah@aishdas.org>
Sent: Sunday, January 02, 2000 10:34 PM
Subject: Bes Din-Call to Action

> > Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2000 20:23:18 -0500
> > From: "S Klagsbrun" <S.Klagsbrun@WORLDNET.ATT.NET>
> > Subject: Re: Avodah V4 #238
> <<I do not remember posting or seeing a posted request for you to take
> any
> action. >>
> I know that you lawyer folks would call this ex post facto,  but I will
> quote in answer a post from Avodah 04/244 to answer your question of
> 04/242:
> <<> However,  you do urge the readers of this list to act.  I ask again
> and
> > again,  bottom line,  what should any of us do?  Those with information
> > are not sharing it,  but you would have us do battle with virtually
> every
> > beis din in America on virtually no facts.
>     The best thing to do is to lobby rabbanim, roshei yeshivot an other
> important commumnal leaders to fix the situation. Insist that major
> organizations make this a priority.  Demand the rabbininc credentials of
> corrupt rabanim be revoked etc.  In short demand honesty.>>
> This certainly sounds like a call to action.
> To which I say,  and say again,  this cannot happen without some factual
> information.  Nobody can lobby to, as you say,  fix the situation without
> concrete knowledge that it is broken.
> Gershon

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 15:55:07 +0200
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il>
Re: perogatives of a king

On 3 Jan 00, at 15:41, Eli Turkel wrote:

> > 
> > > > 
> > > > A Jewish king does not have to justify any expenditure.
> > > > 
> > > I am not convinced of this.
> > > He certainly has the right to spend on his household and on an army
> > > and to build roads.
> > > I would doubt that he can distribute money freely to his friends.
> > > What are legitimate needs can be discussed but I again assume they
> > > have to be rationale.
> > 
> > See Hilchos Melochim Perek 4.
> > 
> Rambam there says that a king can spend money on battles and for
> his own and his servants needs.

What are his own needs? Who is to say what a king needs and 
what he doesn't need? That sounds like a pretty open-ended 
spending provision to me. As I read the Rambam, he can take 
whatever he wants from whomever he wants. He is supposed to 
pay for it (kind of like eminent domain), but since he can't be called 
before a Beis Din, I don't see where anyone can contest the value 
he places on whatever he takes. Yes, he is supposed to act l'shem 
shamayim (4:10), but if he doesn't, I don't see where his public has 
the right to take any action against him.

> There is nothing there about a king's right for "civil rule",
> i.e. can a king spend money on public parks?

If he feels that he or his servants need public parks, I would say the 
answer is yes.

> There is certainly nothing i saw that says a king can give money
> to whomever he feels like it.

If it fulfills his needs (whatever they may happen to be) I think he 
can give money to whomever he pleases. Suppose the king wants 
to give me money so he pays me an outrageous sum of money to 
come and keep him company. Wouldn't that be permitted 
according to the Rambam? Isn't that giving money to whomever he 
feels like giving it to?

-- Carl

Carl M. Sherer, Adv.
Silber, Schottenfels, Gerber & Sherer
Telephone 972-2-625-7751
Fax 972-2-625-0461

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.
Thank you very much.

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