Avodah Mailing List

Volume 06 : Number 073

Wednesday, December 20 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 13:15:39 -0500
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: Dor Revi'i and TSBP

I hope that it is understood that I am not attacking the Dor Revi'i.

David Glasner wrote:

> I met an old acquaintance recently who told me that he had heard Rabbi
> H. Schachter discuss the Dor Revi'i in his tape series on the Oral Law. 

Anyone know where I can get hold of this?

> Rather than try to defend the Dor Revi'i, let me just ask you how you would 
> explain the Rambam in Mamrim 2:1 in which he codifies the law that a Sanhedrin
> may change a halakha decided by a previous Sanhedrin based on an alternative 
> interpetation of the Scripture? 

This only refers to NEW halachahs that are derived from Scripture through the 13
exegetical rules.

> How would you interpret the gemara in BM 59 conerning the dispute over tanur 
> achnai in which hazal disregard an explicit directive from the Almighty to 
> pasken the halakhah in accord with R. Eliezer?

There are a number of ways to interpret this gemara.  Simply, Hashem gave us the
Torah and a whole bunch of rules and then let us run with it.  It is now ours to
> As to Karaism, it is the Dor Revi'i who, by saying that rabbinic 
> interpretation of the Scripture is the conrolling halakhic authority rather 
> than some supposed literal interpretation of (an inherently ambiguous) text, 
> stands at the opposite pole from Karaism

Good point.

On a side point, in the discussions I have seen on this topic, both "frum" and 
scholarly, I have rarely seen the Maharatz Chajes quoted even though he wrote on
this extensively.  Does anyone know if he was refuted somewhere?  His arguments 
seem compelling to me, but what do I know?

Gil Student

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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 13:24:09 -0500
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Davening Daniel

Why was Daniel moser nefesh to daven in Daniel 6:11?  It was before the Anshei 
Kenesses HaGedolah had established a nusach so he could have been yotzei with a 
few quick words.  Also, according to the Ramban, tefillah is only miderabbanan 
(assuming that the derabbanan was already in force as Ibn Ezra does).  From the 
context, it does not seem like it was a time of shemad.  The king made a 
general, temporary decree for his own honor.  So how de we understand Daniel's 

Gil Student

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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 14:49:32 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: (Fwd) Parshat Vayishlach 5761

Rav Nebenzahl was translated as saying:
: 	Why then did Yaakov find their [Shimon and Levi's - C.S.] actions
: improper and criticize them? Perhaps Yaakov realized that his sons'
: motives were not free from personal bias...

My bar mitzvah derashah was on this nekudah. In particular, why did
Shim'on and Leivi get criticised for their kana'us, but Pin'chas did
not. And why didn't the criticism come until parashas Vaychi?

The answer R' Matis Blum (of Torah Ladaas fame) taught me to give
was that of motivation. Except he had Yaakov Avinu figure out their
impure motives much later than this conversation. The tochachah Yaakov
gives Shim'on viLeivi is "ki bi'apam hargu ish", referring to Sh'chem,
"uvirtzonam ikru shor" (49:6), the shor being Yosef (as per the usual
d'rashah on "alei shur" of 49:22).

Yaakov was willing to be dan likaf zechus until the truth about mechiras
Yosef came out. Then he realized that Shim'on and Leivi were capable of
kana'us for less noble reasons than a d'var mitzvah.


Micha Berger                 When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org            you do not chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org       You light a candle.
(973) 916-0287                  - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 15:59:52 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Age of Rivka

In a message dated 12/18/00 5:52:07 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
owner-avodah@aishdas.org writes:
>  I'm surprised no one's mentioned the Da'as Zekeinim m;baei Tosfos that 
>  makes a cheshbone that Rachel was 13 or 14, and not three

There are many Shitos see Seder Hadoros year 2192.

Kol Tuv, 
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 15:37:18 -0500
From: "Stein, Aryeh E." <aes@ll-f.com>
Mincha on Erev Shabbos Chanuka

L'chatchila, one should daven mincha on erev Shabbos Chanuka before
lighting his menorah.  I seem to remember seeing a shita that holds that
it is better to daven b'yechidus before lighting than to daven tefilah
b'tzibbur after lighting.  However, I've spoken with several knowledgable
people and they told me that they never heard of such a shita, and that it
is definitely preferable to daven with a minyan after lighting.  Has
anyone heard of such a shita?

(FWIW, on a related note, according to RSZA, when the first night of
Chanuka falls on Friday night and you light the menorah before mincha, you
should say Al Hanisim when you daven mincha [even though it is only chof
daled Kisleiv]). 


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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 16:00:45 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
Electric menorahs

AFAIK, it's accepted halacha that an electric menorah is pasul for ner
chanukah because it's like a m'durah (torch). OTOH, it's much easier to
see and lasts throughout the night (and many say that the definition of
"ad she'tichleh regel min hashuk" has changed since the time of chazal
and depends on the habits of each given society).

I have seen some people light both regular and electric menorahs.
What the chevrah think of this?

Kol tuv,

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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 16:12:48 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Alufim

In a message dated 12/18/00 5:52:07 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
owner-avodah@aishdas.org writes:
> However, I think the problem can be
> solved if we remove Korach from the list of alufim.

Sof Kol Sof there would be 13 Alufim (if Mamzeirus excludes completely all 
children of Oholivama should be excluded see Rashi D"H Bas Anoh 36:2, and 
also Amoleik see Rashi D"H VSimna 36:12).

Kol Tuv, 
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 15:55:48 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Neir Chanukah

In a message dated 12/18/00 5:52:07 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
owner-avodah@aishdas.org writes:

> R.Y. Zirkind:
>  > AIUI the Pri EItz Chayim says so clearly, but IMHO it would be extra
>  > and a new Nusach, (it is not Doimeh to Leila Uleila "Mikol").
>  It is clearly not a new nusah among Jews; the Teimoni nusah is "ner
>  shellahanukka."

As I said I wrote Bkitzur, I am aware that there is such Nusach, my point was 
that to say that as a compromise between opinion of 13 words (w/o Shel) and 
14 words, by saying the 2 words together that would be compared to creating a 
new (vs. Hacro'ah) Nussach, Al Derech of "Ein Hacro'as Shlishis Machras" 
(Psochim 21a etc.).  IMHO in Kadish we need a word that is Mechabeir Leila to 
BIrchasa Min Kol or Mikol would both do, Ner and Chanuka are self understood.

Kol Tuv, 
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 23:13:51 +0200
From: D & E-H Bannett <dbnet@barak-online.net>
Ner (shel) Hanukka

> "lehadlik NER Chanukkah as opposed to the more common "lehadlik ner SHEL
> Chanukkah?"

Not really so "more common". Not only Chabad, but also the Sefaradim say
ner hanukka. Sa'adia Gaon and the GR"A (M"R 239) also omit the "shel".

Most old sources that do not omit the shel have shellahanukka in one
word rather than the modern two word version. Despite the postings that
mentioned shelichanukka, the old style is shellachanukka (ha'omeir la
v'lo li eino kofer ba'ikar). As in examples mentioned already, the use
of shel preceding another word was, in the times of chazal, usual the
one word version

But then, it is not the shell that counts but the contents inside.

Hag Sameach.

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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 20:20:40 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
The Sources that Ban the Behavior that Occurred on the Glatt Yacht

At 05:36 PM 12/19/00 -0500, RJJB wrote:
>So it seems that the foe is on the other shoot: the pro-dancing side
>is bringing teshuvot as well as deeds, while the anti-dancing side is
>bringing chshash and chshad.

Another comment:

RCS quoted the teshuva from our very own R' Herzl Henkin that assurs public 
dancing! What more do you want?! First published in Ha'Ma'ayan Tammuz 1978. 
The other sources that talk about it explicitly are cited by the Kedoshim 
Teheyu p. 50, note 60 and on, including the Aruch Ha'Shulchan OC 529:7 and 
EH 22:3, the Ben Ish Chai Shoftim 18 and Sdei Chemed. See also the Biur 
Halacha 339:3.

But I thought it was unnecessary to provide sources, that logic alone could 
win the day here. I apologize for my naivete.

The logic I proposed is that of none other than Maran R' Yisroel Salanter, 
Or Yisroel Iggeres 35:

U'l'inyan rikkud im isha ervah ha'regil imo, bechol ofen zu "pesik reisha" 
she'yavo l'negi'as basar, v'af im ragil b'zeh v'kim'at rachok mei'hirhur, 
mekol makom, keivan she'le'fa'amim yachol lee'heyos mee'zeh hiskashrus 
ha'ra'ayon, v'yivaleid mee'zeh kirva yoseir me'ma she'hayah ima me'kodem, 
la'Ramban zeh issur d'Rabbanan v'la'Rambam zehu issur d'orysa.

v'hu ha'din l'nidon didan.

v'tu lo midei.

ygb@aishdas.org      http://www.aishdas.org/rygb 

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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 00:15:42 -0000
From: "Sholem Berger" <sholemberger@hotmail.com>
Ashrei without a nun

Apart from the other reasons given for the absence of a nun in Ashrei 
(Chazal's drash, and the existence of a nun-enriched version at Qumran/in 
the LXX): I have read in a few places that the acrostics in Tehilim, of 
which there are quite a few, are not always complete to the last letter. To 
understand this in human terms one might remember that (lehavdil) the form 
of a sonnet is not always set in stone: rhyme and meter can change to convey 
a desired effect. Just so with Tehilim.

Sholem Berger

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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 20:39:37 EST
From: MSDratch@aol.com
Re: Ashrei

: There is a version - I believe in the Dead Sea Scrolls or perhaps the

But ne'eman would not follow the pattern of the Ashrei in which many
of the verses come in pairs and the key word is repeated and used in
those couplets:

Chet: ve-rachum
Tet: ve-rachamav

Lamed:  malkhuto
Mem: Malkhutekha

Samekh: hanoflim

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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 16:20:31 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Mincha on Erev Shabbos Chanuka

"Stein, Aryeh E." <aes@ll-f.com> wrote:
> L'chatchila, one should daven mincha on erev Shabbos Chanuka before
> lighting his menorah.  I seem to remember seeing a shita that holds that
> it is better to daven b'yechidus before lighting than to daven tefilah
> b'tzibbur after lighting.

Then ideal lighting time is between Mincha and Maariv whcih corresponmds
to the time the Menorah was lit in the BM.

Many if not most Poskim (brought down by the MB, I believe) say it is
better to Daven Mincha B'Yichidus on Erev Shabbos becuase of the fact
that the Menorah was lit after the Tamid Shel bein HaArbaim. This is
why on weekday nights we do not light before Mincha. BeShas HaDchak
one is allowed to light after Plag HaMincha which is an hour and a
quarter Shaos Zmanios before Tzeis. The reason for this is that it
is Samuch to the time that the Menorah was lit, ie after the Tamid
Shel Bein HaArbaim. This is the reason that we can light after Plag on
Erev Shabbos. It counts as bein HaArbaim, and since on Shabbos it is
impossible to light after Shkiah we rely on this rationale, provided
the oil burns the half hour after Tzeis HaKochavim which approximates
the time of Ad SheTichleh Regel Min HaShuk.

The reason it is better to Daven Mincha first is beause it a Ktzas
Tarti D'Sasri because if you say that Plag represents K'ain the post
"Tamid Shel Bein HaArbaim time", how can you daven Mincha afterwards?
This act (of Davening Mincha) contradicts the previous act of Lighting.

The Shelah says, however, that we should not be Mevatel Tefila Betzibur
for this reason and advises that if it is not possible to daven Mincha
with a Tzibur before lighting the Menorah on Erev Shabbos than one
should rather light first, and Daven with a Tzibur after, and that this
is preferable to Davening Mincha B'Yechidus.


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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 20:36:51 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Mincha on Erev Shabbos Chanuka

At 03:37 PM 12/19/00 -0500, you wrote:
>L'chatchila, one should daven mincha on erev Shabbos Chanuka before
>lighting his menorah.  I seem to remember seeing a shita that holds that

Is that not only when Chanukah begins, like last year, IIRC, Friday night? 
Which leads, if not done as above, to the predicament that generates RSZA's 
chiddush below.

ygb@aishdas.org      http://www.aishdas.org/rygb

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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 09:18:29 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Re: Mincha on Erev Shabbos Chanuka

> L'chatchila, one should daven mincha on erev Shabbos Chanuka before lighting
> his menorah.

I suggested this last year (avodah vol 4 #163) for a different reason:
tadir (mincha) v'aino tadir (neiros chanukah) tadir kodem. Though
according to HM it works out even better because the chiyuv of mincha
is chal even before the chiyuv hadlakah.


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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 05:59:21 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@blaze.net.au>
zemer lechanuka

From: "Avi Parnes" <avparn@hotmail.com>
> A zmirot that I have includes something called : zemer leshabbat channuka
> shel haibn ezra. It starts : Hay hay bet kor timkor tachkor lichvod shabbat
> channuka. I have been trying for years to understand the zemer...

I don't think that there is a problem with simple pshat.
It talks about (even) selling a bes kor to have a feast on Shabbos Chanukah.

This zemer is brought in the Emden siddur (but not in the new 2-volume
edition, which is supposed to be more meduyek-so maybe it wasn't in the
edition that RY Emden published himself.)

But it is an extremely puzzling zemer.

It basically talks about spending Chanukah,
not drinking water but shikerring...
And although it mentions Shabbos Chanukah,
 it also talks about going to the pub (beis hayayin)
twice daily (throughout Chanuka).

Many years ago I stayed with a couple - him an Oberlander, she a Vienner
and they sang this zemer on SC.

Today someone told me that his Rebbe, Rav Dushinsky shlit'a (Rav of the
Edah Charedis) also sings this ditty.

I haven't been able to find out much more about it.

Maybe our resident librarian R' Yisrael Dubitsky can find something on
this (and if indeed it is from the Ibn Ezra?)


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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 09:22:22 -0500
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gdubin@loebandtroper.com>
Chashad on Chanukah

From: "Markowitz, Chaim" <CMarkowitz@scor.com>
> since there is still an element of persum for
> the people outside, the halacha of chashad still applies and if one has
> 2 doorways one should lightby both doors.

> My question is that bzman hazeh that we light by the window should we
> be worried about ma'aris ayin also?

	Although we still light at the window,  we are not makpid, at least
not le'ikuva,  on the zman.  What chashad is there if I pass by your
house and see no menorah lit:  I can assume that you come home from work
at, say,  6PM, and light then.  If I pass by at 6PM,  you lit at 5:30 and
it just went out.  Ergo no chashad?  Or maybe we need to light in all
windows,  to burn from shekia until alos hashachar?


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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 09:38:21 -0500
From: "Markowitz, Chaim" <CMarkowitz@scor.com>
RE: Chashad on Chanukah

> From:	Gershon Dubin [SMTP:gdubin@loebandtroper.com]
> Although we still light at the window,  we are not makpid, at least
> not le'ikuva,  on the zman.  What chashad is there if I pass by your
> house and see no menorah lit:  I can assume that you come home from work
> at, say,  6PM, and light then.  If I pass by at 6PM,  you lit at 5:30 and
> it just went out.  Ergo no chashad?  Or maybe we need to light in all
> windows,  to burn from shekia until alos hashachar?

	acording to your line of reasoning, then the whole din of chashad
goes out the window. Even in the days of the gemara, why should there be a
chashash of chashad-just assume the person will ligth later or already lit.
Of course you can answer that in the days of the gemara where one lit for
the rabim so then you had to light at a certain time (from shekiah/tzais
till tichleh regel min hashuk) but b'zman hazeh that is not the case.
However, my question was based on the minhag during the days of the Tur.
During the Tur's time, it seems the hadlakah was for bnei bayis,(and
l'choirah zman is not m'akeiv)  however since there was an element of
persumei nissa for the rabim due to the fact the menorah was placed by the
door, so the Tur is choshesh for chashad. My question then was why are we
not choshash also.

	I did hear that the Brisker Rav was makpid to make sure the candles
were lit very late since tichleh regel min hashuk lasts longer.

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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 09:43:05 -0500
From: "Markowitz, Chaim" <CMarkowitz@scor.com>
Chashad on Chanukah

>                                        Assuming one paskens that you light
> where you eat, it is possible that you would still have to light where you
> sleep because of chashad.
> (people see you are home at night and have not lit) . I thought maybe it is
> not true. Maybe chashad only applies if there exists a chiyuv to light in
> that place....

I am embarrassed to say that I wrote the above without checking the shulchan
aruch. The shulchan aruch says the opposite of what I wanted to say. There
is a chiyuv of chashad for an achsenai. However, my question on why this is
so still remains.


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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 09:49:30 -0500
From: "Gershon Dubin" <gdubin@loebandtroper.com>
RE: Chashad on Chanukah

From: Markowitz, Chaim [mailto:CMarkowitz@scor.com]
> in the days of the gemara where one lit for the rabim so then you had
> to light at a certain time (from shekiah/tzais till tichleh regel min
> hashuk) but b'zman hazeh that is not the case.

      Exactly my point.

> I did hear that the Brisker Rav was makpid to make sure the candles
> were lit very late since tichleh regel min hashuk lasts longer.

      The story goes that he lit until the chilonim left the theater across
the street.   I have a neighbor who puts in enough oil so that it burns
through the night,  and usually until the next hadlakah.  Paranoid on
chashad, maybe <g>?


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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 09:48:51 -0500
From: "Markowitz, Chaim" <CMarkowitz@scor.com>
FW: Chashad on Chanukah

From:	Gershon Dubin [SMTP:gdubin@loebandtroper.com]
> Exactly my point. 

But you ignored my point-my rayah (or kasha) is based on the Tur.

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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 10:15:15 -0500
From: "Ron Bratt" <RBRATT@courts.state.ny.us>
An Onen on Chanukah

The MB brings down that an Onen who is home alone on Chanukah lights for
pirsumei nisa. Since an Onen is asur be'mitzvos aseh, this would lead
me to conclude that lighting, without a bracha, is *not* a mitzvah and
that this lighting is strictly for pirsumei nisa and that pirsumei nisa
is separate and distinct from the mitzvah of hadlakah.

Further on though, the MB discusses what one should do if he comes home
late. So late that all his bnei bayis is sleeping. If he wakes up a
member, fine, then he lights with a bracha. But if he is alone, he
lights *without* a bracha. Does he get the mitzvah of lighting? And if
so, how can the onen light even if he lights without a bracha? Further,
can pirsumei nisa exist without the kiyum of the mitzvah? You can have
the most exquisitely mehudar esrog, but if it is pasul it can't be hidur.
I can't these two issues.

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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 09:22:55 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Re: Electric menorahs

> AFAIK, it's accepted halacha that an electric menorah is pasul for ner
> chanukah because it's like a m'durah (torch).

It also does not resemble the menorah of mikdash (Ramban in Milchamos
makes a big deal of this; there is also a tshuvah in Yechaveh Da'as with
other sources).

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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 08:53:23 -0500
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@segalco.com>
genetic conditions

I'm looking for sources regarding telling the truth to a child who is
reaching marriage age about family genetic conditions.  Assume that the
disease relates to the ability to bear children(i.e. say 25% of pregnancies
will fail) but is primarily not contingent on the spouses genetics.  If the
condition is not treatable,can one argue not to tell the child so as to
spare them needless agony up until and if the condition presents, or does
the issue of parental trust and the right of the potential spouse override?


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Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2000 11:30 PM
From: Louis.H.Feldman[mailto:lfeldman@ymail.yu.edu]
Re: Ashrei

> They way I heard it, it's the LXX which has a line that would
> back-translate to Ne'eman. It also appears (from those Notzri editions
> of "Psalms" that have it) that the line is "Ne'eman H' bichol divarav,
> vichasid bechol ma'asav"....

Dear Micha,
	The passage is, indeed, in the Septuagint version of Psalm 144
(145), second half of verse l3: pistos Kurios en tois logois autou, kai
hosios en pasi tois ergois autou.  The translation is: The L-rd is
faithful in His words and holy in all his works."

All the best.
Louis Feldman

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Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 23:53:29 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>

Since we are discussing [on Areivim -mi] RYBS and RHS, this is a good
time to circulate my essay, commissioned by a major Orthodox publication,
then rejected by them for PC reasons:

Torah as Biography: Three Seforim of or about HaRav Yosef Dov HaLevi 
Soloveitchik zt"l

Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Rabbi Bechhofer, Rosh Kollel of the Noble Kollel of Yeshivas Beis HaMidrash 
LaTorah in Skokie, IL, is the author of Bigdei Shesh al Masseches Bava 
Basra and Eruvin in Modern Metropolitan Areas.

(Hebrew) Nefesh HaRav, by Rabbi Hershel Schachter,
Reishis Yerushalayim, Jerusalem, 5754.
"At the conclusion of a year after the petira of Maran HaRav Yosef Dov 
HaLevi Soloveitchik zt"l: A collection of statements; Descriptions of 
Ma'asim; Words of Appreciation."

(Hebrew) Beit Yosef Shaul, edited by Rabbi Elchanan A. Adler,
Yeshiva University, New York, 5754.
"Insights and Explanations in Teachings of Maran HaGaon Rabbi Yosef Dov 
HaLevi Soloveitchik zt"l on Matters of Sifrei Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzos."

(English) Shiurei HaRav, edited by Rabbi Joseph Epstein, originally 
published in 1974,
revised and expanded edition, Ktav, Hoboken, NJ, 1994.
"A Conspectus of the Public Lectures of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik."

"Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: One does not build [nefashos] monuments
for Tzaddikim. Their words commemorate them." (Yerushalmi Shekalim,
end of the second perek; Nefesh HaRav, p. 1).

The deaths of HaRav Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik zt"l, the Lubavitcher
Rebbe zt"l, and the Klausenberger Rebbe zt"l, have brought a period of
twilight to its dark end. This period began with the loss of the Satmar
Rebbe zt"l and HaRav Yitzchok Hutner zt"l, and continued with the deaths
of HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt"l, HaRav Yaakov Kaminetzky zt"l, and HaRav
Yaakov Ruderman zt"l. The sun of American Gedolei Torah of epic stature
educated in the great mesoros of Europe has set. We have entered a period
of diminished Torah knowledge and prowess.

Precisely because we have lost the living link to the past, it has become
crucial to maintain and expand the written link. Hashem's Hashgacha is
clearly manifest in enhanced archiving technologies developed over the
last half century. These technological advances allow detailed records
of the greatness of the vanished Torah Giants to continue to inspire,
motivate and instruct us.

Histories do not provide the best means of inspiration, motivation and
instruction. Teachings and records of the personal conduct of Gedolei
Torah create far more powerful impressions. The three seforim reviewed
here are of this latter nature. These Seforim are not historical
biographies of Rabbi Soloveitchik, known to his talmidim as "The Rov"
(for the origin of the title, see Nefesh HaRav p. 70 note 18). They are
Torah biographies: works that reflect Rabbi Soloveitchik's unique Torah
approach to Halacha, Agada, Ahavas Torah, and Yiras Shomayim. As Rabbi
Soloveitchik himself put it (Nefesh HaRav p. 280):

"[Hashem says] I will teach people My conduct through the Gedolei
Yisroel. Through them the Shechina is revealed. Not just in what they
say explicitly in the name of Hashem, but from their lives, from their
biographies, because the Shechina is reflected in the Gedolim."

1. Nefesh HaRav

Rabbi Hershel Schachter, one of Rabbi Soloveitchik's greatest talmidim,
attempts to convey his Rebbe's essence via statements of and stories
about Rabbi Soloveitchik. Rabbi Schachter's extraordinary memory and
scholarship allow him to enhance his portrayal with his own rich analysis.

From Rabbi Schachter we learn that Rabbi Soloveitchik always attempted to
apply the approaches of his Rabbeim - his grandfather, Reb Chaim zt"l,
his father Reb Moshe zt"l, and his uncle Reb Velvel (the Griz) zt"l -
to his own learning, personal concerns and public issues (Nefesh HaRav
p. 8. Page numbers in this section are from Nefesh HaRav). Although
positions Rabbi Soloveitchik took in areas such as the importance of
secular studies led to charges that he had departed from his predecessors'
pathways, his response to such challenges was that apparent departures
only occured when unprecedented circumstances required new approaches
(p. 24).

A good example of such attempts is Rabbi Soloveitchik's approach to Eretz
Yisroel (he generally insisted on using either the classic Eretz Yisroel
or, when referring specifically to the State, Medinas Yisroel, rather
than "Israel" - p. 93). He held the establishment of the State to be a
positive and lofty development (p. 85), and identified with the Mizrachi,
a chiddush in the House of Brisk. Rabbi Soloveitchik, however, devoted
significant thought to the intellectual reconciliation of his position
with that of his illustrious, anti-Zionist uncle (p. 86). Readers familiar
with Reb Velvel's views will be skeptical of such efforts. Revealed in
this attitude, however, is Rabbi Soloveitchik's self-imposed imperative
to integrate what others regarded as his own chiddushim with the heritage
of Beis Brisk.

We also learn, however, that Rabbi Soloveitchik held that the central
mitzva in Judaism is VeHalachta BiDerachav, to emulate Hashem's
attributes and conduct. Therefore, just as Hashem is unique, each
individual must strive to develop the unique potential with which Hashem
endowed his neshama (p. 60). Perhaps the drive for uniqueness underlies
Rabbi Soloveitchik's infusion of Machashava - Jewish Thought - in the
Brisker derech. Examples include the connection of the future to the
present and of our generation to those yet to come (Rabbi Soloveitchik
opposed the lyrics of a popular song: "He'Avar ayin ve'he'atid adayin
ve'hahoveh k'heref ayin" as antithetical to this Torah perspective - pp.
51, 300). These ideas are remarkably similar to those expressed by
contemporary Ba'alei Machashava.

One perceives a strong resemblance in style between Rabbi Soloveitchik and
other Ba'alei Machashava. An expressive warmth that typifies Machashava,
prevalent in Rabbi Soloveitchik's works, is not manifest in writings
of others, such as Reb Velvel, from Beis Brisk. In his youth Rabbi
Soloveitchik had a Lubavitcher Melamed who taught him Chassidus (pp. 39,
72). The similar ways in which Rabbi Soloveitchik and other Ba'alei
Machashava express their ideas suggests that this early training struck
a chord in Rabbi Soloveitchik's soul.

Rabbi Soloveitchik held that our religion frowns on "ceremonies."
We do not engage in behavior for its "esthetic" value. Such conduct
"vulgarizes" Judaism. All behavior must be grounded in pure Halacha (p.
95). Rabbi Soloveitchik spent much effort proving that various minhagim
were what he called "kiyumim," expressions and fulfillments of Halachic
norms (p. 74).The most interesting section of Nefesh HaRav is therefore
its Likutei Hanhagos, stories and sayings arranged in the order of the
Shulchan Aruch. Rabbi Soloveitchik warned not to accept statements that
Ba'alei Battim would relate in his name (p. 47). It is therefore welcome
that a Talmid Chochom of Rabbi Schachter's stature vouches for this
collection. Precious gems abound. While Rabbi Soloveitchik did not intend
that others necessarily follow his personal hanhagos, all the hanhagos
are enlightening. Some are also sure to generate controversy. For example:

+ One should not recite Tefillos (other than Tehillim) at times or on
occasions other than those enacted by Chazal (p. 108).

+ Reb Chaim and Reb Moshe held that Aseres HaDibros should not be
recited in ta'am elyon because then the pesukim are not punctuated as
Moshe Rabbeinu decreed (p. 141).

+ We are no longer permitted to place a pot of raw meat on a stove just
before Shabbos, because our ovens are more efficient than those of Chazal
(p. 156).

+ Reb Chaim ruled that if one forgot Ya'aleh v'Yavo in Shacharis of Rosh
Chodesh but will say Musaf within zman tefilla, he should not repeat
Shemoneh Esrei (p. 174).

+ Reb Moshe ruled that if the kos yayin filled during the recitation of
the Maggid part of the Haggada spilled, the Haggada should be repeated
(p. 186).

+ Rabbi Soloveitchik opposed the minhag to sing Yigdal because it
resembles the Christian custom to recite the Catechism (pp. 165, 231).

+ Whenever possible, schools for boys and girls should be separate. Rabbi
Soloveitchik only allowed Maimonides to be coeducational because otherwise
there would have been no Orthodox Jewish education for girls in Boston
(p. 237).

+ Women are required to cover their hair. One cannot bring proofs to
the contrary from wives of Talmidei Chachomim that were not meticulous
in fulfilling this Halacha (p. 255).

+ Just as a king must always wear a crown, so too it is appropriate that
a Chosson wear a felt (not straw!) hat throughout his wedding (p. 256).

Nefesh HaRav concludes with a collection of Rabbi Soloveitchik's peshatim
and derashos on the parshi'os (including an uncharacteristic Kabbalistic
explanation of why Friday night we cut the bottom challa and Shabbos
morning the top one - p. 282).

Rabbi Schachter does not address his Rebbe's involvement with secular
philosophy and zeitgeists. Rabbi Schachter's work adheres, in this
respect, to the perspective expressed by Rabbi Soloveitchik himself
regarding details of the personal lives of Gedolei Yisroel: "Matters
like the relationship of a Gadol with his father-in-law etc., are of
no significance, and are just 'history,' from which we can derive no
lessons for our lives" (p. 280). Indeed, Nefesh HaRav also contains
little material on Rabbi Soloveitchik's personal life. Nefesh HaRav is
not historical biography, it is Torah biography.

2. Beit Yosef Shaul

Beit Yosef Shaul, a Torah journal, contains essays by Roshei Yeshiva
and Roshei Kollel of YU's Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchonon and
members of its Gruss Kollel Elyon. Most of the essays are based on
Rabbi Soloveitchik's insights into matters of Sifrei Torah, Tefillin
and Mezuzos. Although of great significance to Lamdonim, these essays
will probably not interest laymen.

Beit Yosef Shaul, however, also contains the entire Aggadic portion
of Rabbi Soloveitchik's 1959 yohrzeit shiur: "A Yid is Geglichen tzu
a Sefer Torah" ("A Jew may be Compared to a Sefer Torah"). The essay
appears in the original Yiddish, as transcribed at the time by Dr. Hillel
Seidman. Rabbi Soloveitchik himself checked, corrected and encouraged
publication of this transcript. A full translation into Hebrew by Rabbi
Shalom Carmy follows. Anyone with at least some knowledge of Yiddish,
however, should read the original, and refer to the Hebrew to fill the
gaps. The translation is accurate and readable, but only the Yiddish
preserves the dramatic majesty of the original oration. The sweep and
splendor of the shiur, the way it intertwines Halacha, Machashava and
Derush, is brilliant.

Rabbi Soloveitchik develops the idea that the Jewish neshama in the
spiritual realm and the Sefer Torah in the physical world are parallel
entities. He notes that no time (except Shabbos), place or object can
become sacred unless a person does a deed to sanctify it. One cannot
instill that which one does not possess. All "concrete" kedushos - such
as that of a Sefer Torah - must therefore be external manifestations of
the internal kedusha of a Jewish neshama.

There are two steps in the production of a Sefer Torah: 1) Ibbud, the
preparation of the parchment; 2) Kesiva, the writing of the letters. In
the development of a person there are two stages: 1) Chinuch, when the
parents prepare the child's character and personality to accept Torah
and Mitzvos; 2) Talmud Torah, when the parents inculcate their child
with actual Torah and Mitzvos. In the history of our nation there were
also two stages: 1) The period of the Avos, which prepared our national
character and personality; 2) The period of Mattan Torah, when Hashem
inculcated us with the Torah itself.

Mezuzos are written on duchsustus, parchment from the layer of the
animal's hide closest to the flesh. Tefillin are written on klaf, the
layer closest to the hair. A Sefer Torah is written on gvil, parchment of
both layers. Mezuzos rectify sins associated with man's flesh; Tefillin
rectify sins associated with man's hair. We allude to the two types
of sinners in Aleynu when we say: "And all sons of flesh [bnei basar]
will call unto Your Name; To turn toward you all evildoers in the land
[rish'ei aretz]."

Aveiros of the flesh are those of the Dor HaMabbul, sensual lust
and desire (Ba'alei Machashava link this type of sin with Yishmael).
Judaism demands Ibbud of this sensual aspect of an individual. The Ibbud
of sensuality is Tzenius. The essence of Tzenius is found in Yitzchak, who
allowed himself to be restrained atop an altar. Tzenius is restraining
our lusts - mesirus nefesh to Hashem. A Mezuza affixes the words of
mesirus nefesh: Bikol levavecha u'bikol nafshecha u'bikol meodecha,
to the places where we engage in our most sensual activities.

Aveiros of the hair are those we associate with Esav _ the "Man
of Hair." Esav's primary sins were those of interpersonal strife,
culminating in murder. Hair symbolizes chatzitza - separation, strife,
and the resulting degradation of others. Those were the sins of the Dor
Haflaga, who cried when bricks fell from their scaffolds and broke,
but were unmoved when a worker fell to his death (Pirkei D'Rabbi
Eliezer). Rabbi Soloveitchik notes that their unity resembled the unity
of Communism _ a unity born of disregard of individual value, leading
to interpersonal cruelty and atrocity. Such negative traits are broken
with Avraham's trait - diligent pursuit of chesed and love. Tefillin
straps restrain the hand that is all too often stretched out in rejection
("semol docheh"), its parshios written on klaf to rectify sins of hair.

Moshe Rabbeinu rectified both types of sin. Even the most instinctual
basar ambition, that his children continue his work after his death, was
denied him. A great leader cannot focus on his own basar. He belongs to
Am Yisroel. On the other hand, Moshe Rabbeinu at the Burning Bush covered
his face lest he see "Elokim." Some mystery, some unknown, had to remain
in his understanding of Hashem's ways. One who knows the rationale of all
Hashem's ways, why there are pain and poverty, sickness and suffering,
can no longer feel sympathy and mercy. He understands that all is truly
good! When Moshe did ask "Hareini nah es kevodecha" ("Please show me
your glory"), Chazal tell us that Hashem showed him the knot of the
Tefillin. To ensure that a great leader will empathize with the plight of
his people, he must understand the message of Tefillin. Moshe's perfection
allowed him to be the great Sofer. He had sanctified both layers of
parchment _ gvil. Moshe thus became a suitable conduit through which to
convey the letters of Torah - the Sefer Torah - to the Jewish people.

There are many points of convergence between Rabbi Soloveitchik and
other Ba'alei Machashava here. Noteworthy, however, is the divergence.
Reb Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin zt"l writes that the Dor Haflaga's unity
was not the essence of their sin. The sin was an intent to use that
unity for illicit purposes (Kedushas Shabbos 28b). Rabbi Soloveitchik,
however, clearly views the unity itself as a sin, because its purpose
was to devalue individuals (a kin'a sin). It is tempting to speculate
that a Chassid can see no inherent negative in unity. In Chassidus, the
Klal is everything. A Litvak, however, stresses personal development,
and sees the loss of individual identity as a great tragedy. The pursuit
of such a goal is a sin.

3.Shiurei HaRav

In a dictionary "conspectus" is: "1. A general survey of a subject. 2. a
synopsis." On the one hand, one can taste here from a broad smorgasbord
of Rabbi Soloveitchik's thoughts. On the other hand, neither Nefesh
HaRav's flavor of personal recollection nor the Beit Yosef Shaul's taste
of Rabbi Soloveitchik's own words are in this volume.

Emotion does come through. Readers may be moved by Rabbi Soloveitchik's
beautiful interpretation of "HaKatan." This description was first
given to the great Tanna Shmuel HaKatan. Rabbi Soloveitchik notes that
many Gedolei Yisroel were like Rabbi Soloveitchik's grandfather, Reb
Chaim: "...the man of iron discipline in the intellectual sphere, who
captured the richness of halakha in acute, exact, logical molds, was
swept without reservation in a bold stream of simplicity, innocence,
sensitivity, perplexity, childish confusion, but also immeasurable
confidence: R. Hayyim ha-Katan! What was my father z"l? A genius and a
child!" (p. 63. Page numbers in this section are from Shiurei HaRav). One
senses Rabbi Soloveitchik's nostalgia for the innocence of a bygone era,
prior to contemporary complexities.

We also find Rabbi Soloveitchik's mystical bent here. Examples include the
relative nature of qualitative time discussed in "Sacred and Profane." "It
is the ideal of Ketz [Redemption] to conquer time . . . A qualitative
time experience enables a nation to span a distance of hundreds and
thousands of years in but a few moments" (p. 21). Rabbi Soloveitchik
employs this idea to explain the early Exodus (before the planned four
hundred years) from Egypt. This idea is very similar to that expressed by
the Michtav Me'Eliyahu (vol. 1 p. 309) in explaining phenomena such as
kefitzas haderech. The experience of time as long or short is relative
to the intensity of the events and the spiritual level of the people
experiencing those events. Great people and epic events manipulate and
telescope time. Another example is Rabbi Soloveitchik's analysis of the
dialectic of chesed/hispashtus and gevurah/tzimtzum in "The Seder Meal."
Rabbi Soloveitchik's abstracts the outward, expansive movement of chesed
and the inward, contractive movement of gevurah (p. 164). His discussion
parallels Rabbi Hutner's similar dialectic of ahava and yirah (Pachad
Yitzchok Shabbos Ma'amar 2). More revealing, however, is an off hand
comment at the beginning of the essay (emphasis mine): "As a child,
I vividly sensed the presence of G-d on two different occasions . . . "

We also glimpse here idealism reminiscent of Slabodker Mussar: "William
James saw happiness as the goal of religion. Judaism sees greatness as
the goal. Not the greatness of business or political or military success
but the greatness of heroism of the spirit . . . Judaism is not concerned
with what is not heroic" (p. 133).

Rabbi Soloveitchik was a highly complex, sometimes controversial
individual. His complexity was heightened by his brilliance, and
compounded by his tendency toward the isolation that he glorified:
"...g'vura implies a human flight from society (it is the flight of the
lonely one to the Lonely One)... G-d wanted the Jews to present to the
world a movement of g'vura..." (p. 165). The argument could be made that
Rabbi Soloveitchik himself idealized and romanticized the "tragic" figure
of the "Lonely Man of Faith," misunderstood, improperly appreciated by
his generation, yet true to his own personality and goals (see Nefesh
HaRav p. 65). That he was successful in cultivating this isolation,
yet was also one of the greatest public Marbitzei Torah of his time is
truly remarkable.

Reading these works, however, one senses that in mind and spirit Rabbi
Soloveitchik was anything but lonely. Rabbi Soloveitchik believed that
part of the uniqueness inherent in VeHalachta BiDerachav was his selection
of specific Ma'amarei Chazal to reflect his particular perspectives
(Nefesh HaRav p. 72). One of his favorite ma'amarim was the Gemara in
Sota 36b. It is related there that Yosef did not sin with Pothiphar's
wife because his father's image appeared before his eyes, refocusing his
perspective on Jewish sanctity. "I cannot explain the dmus diyukno shel
aviv, the spiritual picture of father that hovers near me tonight as in a
yesteryear of physical existence" (Shiurei HaRav p. 25). To paraphrase
Rabbi Soloveitchik himself (Shiurei HaRav p. 81, in his hesped for
the Talner Rebbe), he was never alone. He always walked with company:
The Rambam, of course, before him - pointing the way towards Hashem,
Reb Chaim on his right, Reb Moshe on his left, the Ba'al HaTanya closely
behind, followed at a distance by secular philosophers.

These three works do not attempt to deal with Rabbi Soloveitchik's
complexity. These works, rather, primarily reflect the influence of his
grandfather, father, and the Ba'al HaTanya on Rabbi Soloveitchik. Rabbi
Soloveitchik himself, of course, wrote scholarly philosophical books and
essays. Much analysis of Rabbi Soloveitchik's integration of Torah and
secular philosophy is sure to come, as will historical biographies. It
is likely, however, that works such as these three seforim will have a
greater impact on Am Yisroel. It is in these works that convey little
historical or philosophical yet much Torah biography that the Shechina
reflected in the lives of Gedolei Yisroel shines brightest.

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