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Volume 08 : Number 049

Thursday, November 15 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 21:15:49 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Eila Toldoth was: Lech Lecha - Questions and Answers

In a message dated 10/30/01 10:09:33am EST, targum1@juno.com writes:
> What does Eile Toldos Yishmael come to restrict?

Good Question.

Bepashtus we see that Eile Toldos Yishmael seems to include Yishmael yet
we can see from a number of meforshim that Yishmael is quickly disposed
of in favor of Yitzchak.

The exclusion might be the OTHER kids of Avraham. When Esav seeks a
descendant of Avraham for a bride after Rivka and Yitzchak complain
about the Bnos Cheis, he seeks out dvak Yishmael and not any of the
Benei Keturah.

In long term philosphical issues - while ONLY the Children of Yaakov
are part of the nation called Israel with rights to the land etc. -
Esav (Xtianity) and Yishmael (Islam) are still considered "children
of Avraham".

Eileh Toldos Yitzchak w/o an Eile Todlos Yishmael would have removed
Yishmael completely from the pale of Avrahamism. This way he is removed
from the history of Sefer Shmos and the subseuqnt conquest of C'na'an
but they still have a chelek in the Family of Avraham to a lesser extent.

Yishmael are not children of a lesser G-d, rather they are children of
a lesser Mom! <smile>

Regards and Kol Tuv,

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Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 21:29:49 EST
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Fwd: Rabbi Herschel Schachter - The Chazir is Not Kosher

Jews and gentiles
Steve Brizel

The Chazir is Not Kosher
Rabbi Herschel Schachter 

The Torah tells us that a kosher animal is one which has split hooves
and chews its cud; pigs have split hooves, but because they do not chew
their cud, are not kosher. The Rabbis of the Medrash tell a parable
of a pig stretching out a leap in order to display its split hooves,
and attempt to fool everyone into believing that it is kosher.

Esav, Yaakov's twin, claimed to follow the same tradition as Yaakov. When
Yaakov left to Padan Aram to marry a girl from the family, Esav followed
suit and also married a girl "from the family," but did not divorce
his non-Jewish wives. This act of marrying a "girl from the family"
was solely in order appear as though he was following in the footstep
of Jewish tradition.

The so called "Judeo-Christian" tradition is merely a facade.
Despite the fact that the two brothers were twins, and had a lot
in common biologically, they had very little in common in terms of
lifestyle. There is an often-quoted medrash which states, "Why is the
pig called a 'chazir'? Because some day in the future God will give it
back ("lehachziro") to the Jewish people." The Rishonim ask how this can
be. The Rambam postulates, as one of the thirteen principles of our faith,
that the laws of the Torah will never change. Can it be that some day
it will be permissible for us to eat Pork?

Some of the Rishonim explained that "the return of the pig does not rfer
to eating pork, but rather to the restoration of the Jewish government
in place of the Christian one." The "pig" is the faker who makes believe
that he is kosher by showing his split hooves, just as Christians claim
that theirs is a twin-religion with ours, and just as Esav was a twin
brother of Yaakov.

The prophet Malachi points out in the haftorah that the fact that they
were twins has nothing other than biological significance: "I love
Yaakov, while I have rejected Esav, and I disdain him." Throughout the
generations the Jewish people have adopted a dual position vis-a-vis the
Christians and mankind. Namely, the position of Avraham Avinu (in the
beginning of Chayei Sara): We existed as both strangers and citizens
in respect to the rest of mankind. Regarding fighting crime, terror,
disease, poverty, improving the economy, and delving into the science of
nature, we are equal partners, and all work together. But, with respect
to the purpose of our lives, and lifestyle -- the Jewish people feel
"as strangers", and share nothing in common with anyone else. We are
"the nation that lives alone," (parshas Balak), and will always remain
so. The Jews live alone, die alone, and are buried alone. When Ruth
converted and joined the Jewish people, she said to her mother-in-law
Naomi, "Where you go I will go; where you stay, I will stay; the way
you will die, I will die; and there too will I be buried."

After living for many years in peace and harmony in Eretz Canaan, after
the passing of Sara, Avraham Avinu insists on buying her a separate burial
plot. The Jew lives differently, dies differently, and is even buried
differently to emphasize this point. We share biological similarities
with others, and work together with others on many different projects
for the purpose of improving man's position here; but we do not share
their weltanschauung. "Asher bochar banu mikol haamim."

to subscribe, email: weekly@torahweb.org
for anything else, email: torahweb@torahweb.org
the HTML version of this dvar Torah can be found at:

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Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 09:31:28 -0500
From: Eric Simon <erics@radix.net>

>Emes L'Yaakov (Bereishis 14:14) notes that according to Shulchan Aruch there
>was no basis for saving Lot.

No basis? Moshiach comes from Lot. I don't get it.

Note that while we read "eila toldos Noach" and "eila toldos Esav" and
"eila toldos Yitzchak", we never read ""eila toldos Avrohom", but we do
read "eila toldos Terach". The thought is that Terach's zchus was not
fully passed to Avraham, but also to his brothers. Some of that was
reflected in Lot, and when it is reunited (via Rus and Boaz), we can
start the line of Moshiach.

(This is a two sentence summary of a 7 page d'var torah by R Yitz
EtShalom, available upon request).

-- Eric

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Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 09:49:21 -0500
From: Eric Simon <erics@radix.net>
Rava, R Zeira, and the Shechita on Purim

>In the case of Rava and R. Zeira and the Schechita on Purim I undrestand
>that there is a peshat that Rava represents the "Great" and R. Zeira the
>"Small" and the entire story is allegorical. I heard this besheim the
>Late Lubavicher Rebbe perhaps RYZ can confirm and fill in the details.

To quickly summarize (and freely quote, without quotation marks,
and much deletions, a sicha from the Rebbe as written on a web page

First, by drawing an analogy of Nadav and Avihu, who also drank wine.
The Or HaChayim explains it as: They came close to a sublime light with
holy love, and died because of it. This is the mystic secret of "[G-d's]
kiss" through which the righteous die. Their death was equivalent to the
death of the righteous." Indeed, the Torah itself, which relates that
"in drawing close to G-d, they died," implying that their death came as
a result of their drawing close to G-d.

On this basis, we can understand our Sages' statement that they
entered the Sanctuary intoxicated. Wine is used as an analogy for
the Torah's mystic secrets, i.e., "When wine enters, the secrets come
out." "Intoxicated with wine" implies that the appreciation of these
mystic secrets overwhelmed their powers of thought, and led them to
an inextinguishable yearning for G-d, resulting in the expiration of
their souls.

On this basis, we can understand the intoxication that occurred at Rabbah
and Rav Zeira's Purim feast. Rabbah and Rav Zeira partook freely of the
"wine of Torah," i.e., they delved deeply into the Torah's mystic secrets.
Rav Zeira died, i.e., his soul expired in yearning for G-dliness like
the souls of Aharon's sons.

Why does the Talmud say that Rabbah "slew Rav Zeira"? The precise word the
Talmud uses for slay is vishachat. Generally, when the Talmud describes
a killing, it uses the word ketal. Shachat is the term used to refer to
ritual slaughter. In the latter context, our Sages said: "The sole meaning
of vishachat ("and he slaughtered") is umashach "and he drew after."

The name "Rabbah" means "the great one," i.e., he had a broad intellectual
capacity. The name "Zeira," by contrast, means "the small one," i.e.,
he had a more limited capacity. During their feast, while Rabbah and
Rav Zeira were indulging in deep mystic secrets - and drinking wine, in
a manner parallel to that described by the Shaloh - Rabbah "stood up,"
i.e., he rose to a higher level of mystic understanding. Vishachat liRav
Zeira, "he slew Rav Zeira," i.e., he drew Rav Zeira after him, sharing
his knowledge with him. But because Rav Zeira did not have as great
an intellectual capacity as Rabbah, he was unable to control himself,
and his soul expired.

Rabbah's responsibility for Rav Zeira's death is thus merely an error of
judgment; he thought that Rav Zeira could, as Rabbah himself did, contain
his soul despite becoming aware of these mystical truths. Moreover, since
Rabbah had the power to bring Rav Zeira back to life, the experience of
klos hanefesh, that Rav Zeira's soul expired in love for G-d, was not a
negative one. Ultimately, Rav Zeira was also able to "depart in peace,"
and return to a measured and controlled path of Divine service within
this world.

-- Eric

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Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 10:32:40 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: be-khol levavkha

Yisrael Dubitsky wrote:
>When learning the Sifre with Dr Elazar Hurvitz, he explained the "bi-shenei 
>yitsrekha" as a limud on the word khol (as in be-khol), as kol le-rabot ba 
>(nothing to do with two vetin).

I never heard this from our esteemed professor and it does not sit well
with me. While this works with the above derashah, it does not work
with others.
I just pulled a few from Yalkut Shimoni.

It works with this:

Yalkut Shimoni, Tehillim 836
"Bechol levavi" - With the yetzer tov and the yetzer ra.

But the following two seem to darshen the double vav as referring to
two yitzrim.

Yalkut Shimoni, Vayera 82
Rabbi Acha said: It does not say "vesa'adu levavchem" rather "vesa'adu
libchem". This says that angels do not have a yetzer hara.

Yalkut Shimoni, Tehillim 757
"Shisu libchem" - It does not say "levavchem" but "libchem." This says
that there will be no yetzer hara in the future-to-come.

Gil Student

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Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 21:33:17 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Ikkarim as Halakha?

In a message dated 11/14/01 4:15:36pm EST, Seth (Avi) Kadish
skadish@attglobal.net writes:
> So my request is the following: I'd appreciate it very much if the
> people who hold the "ikkarim as part of halakha" position would take
> the time write up a careful list of halakhic areas where ikkarim seem to
> be relevant, preferably with references to sources in Shas and posekim....

W/O doing a formal research:
1) accepting a Ger
2) Accepting a BT back (particularly a meshumad)
3) Someone who davka agitates against an ikkar

In #3, I have made the following Caveat, that anyone who is shomer
Mitzvos is bechezkas Kashrus re: the Ikkarim, even if they say something
questionable. But even I would concede the case where an Observant Jew
made a declaratoin in public categorically denying an ikkar. I am
miekel if they Accept an Ikakr but quibble about its meaning.

4) Might be meisis and meidiach. someone who is agiating against an
ikkar with a friend or a society.

Gray area: What if someon agitates that a point is TRUE but not an ikkar.
IOW what if someone took the Ra'avad's position on corporealty and said
that they accept th Rambam as correct but deny this as an ikkar. I would
argeu the person is WRONG that the Ikkarim are ratified, but I would
not do anything in practice to the person in terms of being a heretic.

The other point I would make is that we should not be quizzing people's
inner thoughts. (Hanistaros Lashem). We should judge people only
by their deeds, not their hirhurim. The only cases that are exceptoins
are wher their chezkas Kashrus is lost (e.g. Ger and Meshuma} or wher
they deny an ikkar.

If a modern Observant Jew says something that is suspicious, LFAD we need
not presume any apikorsus. Contrast this OTOH to a non-Observant Jew
(e.g. Ben Gurion) need not be presumed to be a ma'amin.

Halachically and logically lo asi machshava u'mvatel ma'aseh, and lo
asi dibbur umevatel ma'aseh except the cases of meisis and meidiach, etc.

This is pretty much my end of the shakla v'tarya.

Regards and Kol Tuv,

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Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 09:54:47 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: Ikkarim

Seth Kadish wrote:
>So my request is the following: I'd appreciate it very much if the people 
>who hold the "ikkarim as part of halakha" position would take the time 
>write up a careful list of halakhic areas where ikkarim seem to be 
>relevant, preferably with references to sources in Shas and posekim. (It 
>would be especially interesting to see how much of a role the Rambam 
>himself plays in the examples of this phenomenon.)

This is not intended as a comprehensive list. I just looked up a few
places in Yoreh Deah.

But first, I once brought up on Avodah the issue of whether anyone
who disagrees with the first 5 ikkarim is considered, according to
the Rambam, to be an oved avodah zarah (assuming that he prays).

1. Shechitah of an Epikorus is Passul

Ba'er Hetev, Yoreh Deah 2:16; Aruch HaShulchan, YD 2:1; Darchei Teshuvah
YD 2:77; IMHO, this is also mashma from Simlah Chadashah, 2:16-17.
See also Shach, YD 2:24; Kereisi 2:20; Darchei Teshuvah, YD 2:108

2. We are Ma'alin Velo Moridin an Epikorus

Shulchan Aruch, YD 158:2; See the Beis Yosef that this comes from the Rif
(7b)'s nusach of the gemara in Avodah Zarah 26a and the Rosh (AZ 2:7).

According to the Chazon Ish (YD 2:16), this does not apply today.
According to others (e.g. Rambam, Hilchos Mamrim 3:3), this applies to
those who are not tinokos shenishbu (however that is defined, ve'ein
kan mekomo).

3. One Who Does Not Believe in Divrei Chazal is Not Trustworthy for

Shulchan Aruch, YD 119:7; See the Beis Yosef that this comes from
Rabbeinu Yonah in the name of Chachmei Tzorfas. The Shach YD 119:16
quotes this from a teshuvah of the Rashba which I did not find (but
did not look too hard). See also the Pri Toar 119:8 and the Darchei
Teshuvah 119:36.

4. One Who Does Not Believe in Divrei Chazal Forbids Wine by Touching It

See the sources in #3.

Gil Student

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Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 10:53:42 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
TIDE and TuM

I am not sure I agree with R Steinberg's take on RYBS's shitah on the
subject. However, the topic of variants of TIDE and TuM has been raised
here often enough for me to know the chevrah would be interested.


Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001 10:00:28 +0200 (IST)
From: Nehemiah Klein <ndk@hakotel.edu>
To: rambam list <hk-rambam@lists.hakotel.edu>
Subject: HaRav Steinberger's Shiur #5762-2 [and #5762-3 -mi]

"Torah UMaddah" in the Thought of Rav Soloveitchik zt"l
(Excerpts from an article that appeared in "HaTzofeh" last Sukkot)

One of the great, actually the greatest thinker to whom people attribute
some of the most liberal ideas in Orthodox Jewry is the late Rabbi
Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who headed Yeshiva University for almost
half a century. In the following article we will try to reexamine the
"Weltanschauung" of the Rav in "Torah UMaddah" issues. Naturally,
the conclusions have clear ramifications for our "Derech" as modern
Bnei Torah.

Contrary to the prevalent opinion among many of the flag bearers of
the concept "Torah UMaddah", the Rav's focus was to maximize the status
of Torah through Maddah and not the other way around. He was opposed,
as is evident through his writings, to the academization of Torah.
He clearly held that Torah is the "Gvirah" (lady) and "Maddah" is the
"shifcha" (maid). Torah and science are not equal and certainly one
should not use Torah just as another feature of one's education, an
ornament rather than a major feature.

The Rav taught the Sugya in the authentic language of Brisk. He radiated
the aroma of the old Beit Midrash. His shiurim were usually peppered
with stories and anecdotes containing the humor of previous generations.
Even, when addressing a secular audience in his essays or public lectures,
he always functioned as a true ambassador of the Torah culture in the
grand tradition demonstrating an unequivocal admiration for the wisdom
and the conduct of earlier Gedolim.

He never felt the need to be apologetic vis-a-vis secular wisdom.
The Rav did hold that the words "Chillul Hashem" was the dearth of the
Jewish sages and wise men who were revered even by discerning gentiles.
The prestigious status of the great Torah scholars even in the outside
world, added to the pride of the students within. This fact helped
influence the brainiest youngsters to strive for excellence in learning.
Even on the social scene, the Talmid Chacham used to be at the top.

This situation changed. Even if Klal Yisrael has continued to
produce Gedolim, they have failed to occupy a place among the towering
intellectuals and cultural leaders, as they had in the past. There were
times when kings and leaders used to consult the Jewish sages, recognizing
their unique general wisdom, Vespasyanus was impressed immensely with Rav
Yochanan ben Zakkai; the royal princess with R' Yehoshua ben Chananyah;
Antoninus, the Roman Emperor, learned "Chavrutah" with R' Yehudah HaNassi,
R' Shmuel HaNaggid and later R' Yitzchak Abarbanel served as ministers
of the Royal Court in Spain; the Maharal and later R' Yonatan Eibshitz
were advisors to the king in Prague -- to mention just a few examples.
This has come to a screeching halt, because the recent Gedolim failed
to master the language and the terminology of a developing world in the
past century.

There is no way to dismiss the terrible crisis in the world of Torah
caused by the emergence of a sophisticated very impressive secular
culture and science. The Jewish mother, who used to shed tears while
lighting Shabbat candles, praying for children Talmidei Chachamim has
redirected her prayers. Now she prays for a son with a Ph.D. or MD.
The Yeshiva student, who was once perceived as a witty sharp minded
intellectual became the object of scorn in the literature of the Jewish
Enlightenment. Because of this devaluation in the status of the Yeshiva,
only the "chareidi" (ultra-Orthodox) world continued to idolize the
Talmid Chacham. Even the modern Orthodox public abandoned Torah learning.
Till quite recently it had to rely on Rabbinical and Educational Torah
leadership -- mostly imported from the Chareidi Yeshivot. Similar to
the non-observant, these modern Orthodox Jews began to appreciate only
academic and economic success. Much of the Jewish society of Eastern
Europe, the cradle of intensive Torah atmosphere, internalized this new
approach -- when masses of Jews emigrated to the New World at the turn of
the twentieth century and abandoned completely any connection with Torah.
At that time it seemed that Torah values were a relic of a bygone era
and no longer relevant, especially in the United States.

Rav Soloveitchik observed all these phenomena. He wanted to revitalize
Torah learning and restore its diminished glory. He held, rightly so,
that preaching against materialism and assimilationist values will not
achieve anything. (Mussar, as a method has never been accepted by Brisk.
See "Man of Halacha" -- in Hebrew -- page 67). The Rav understood
that in success oriented America only if Torah learning can again be
made a prestigious occupation, there is a chance to attract the youth,
especially the talented ones.

Like Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, in his times, the Rav saw the biggest
damage having been done by the Enlightenment and Emancipation movements
in the fact that they managed to attach the stigma of primitivity and
anachronism to the religious way of life. [See Y.Y. Weinberg's essay
about Rav Hirsch "Seridei Esh" Volume IV. According to him, Hirsch
tried to emphasize that Judaism and culture not only are compatible
but they fit harmoniously. The detachment from the practical world
caused the misconception that Judaism is synonymous with intellectual
deprivation.] The Rav wanted very much to change this, not totally
baseless, image. Like Hirsch, he also advised Bnei Torah to acquire
higher education.

Nevertheless, there are some clear differences between the two. Hirsch
appealed more to the average Jew. He was a pragmatist and functioned as a
pastor. The Rav, on the other hand, was a prince of Torah, a scion of the
Torah aristocracy of Brisk and an elitist. The Rav himself distinguished
his outlook from that of Rav Hirsch. He used, in one of his drashot, the
name "Ramatayim Tzofim" (See Shmuel I 1:1) symbolizing the dichotomy of
Torah UMaddah. There are twin peaks -- one of Torah, the other of Maddah,
which remain forever asunder. No synthesis exists. As a proud father,
he described the schedule of his son Chaim [the prodigy son of the Rav,
who studied by his father and also on Yeshivat Ponovizh in Bnei Brak. He
is today a Torah scholar and a leading professor of history). One day
Chaim deciphered a complex Talmudic passage -- on the other he reads
Max Weber. Two peaks, two days. Rather than "Torah im Derech Eretz" of
Rav Hirsch, towering Torah which is apart from towering Maddah. Only
the separation and the intensive care of each achieves excellence in
both. (About Rav Hirsch, see also introduction to "Shemesh UMarpeh"
Messorah, NY 1992, and my book "Ishei Yovel" page 387 and on)].

[Part II, sent in a 2nd email numbered #5762-3 -mi]

There is a lot of evidence, both from the writings and the lectures
(based on testimony of his students in RIETS), that the Rav viewed Torah
learning and the furtherance of the Holy Tradition as the ultimate goal.
Thus, "Maddah" inevitably functioned only as a vehicle to aggrandize
Torah, or at the best, as a separate entity. This is contrary to some
opinions which identified the Rav as a reformer and religious liberal,
who supposedly gave a "Hechsher" (endorsement) to the new way of life
called "Modern Orthodoxy" in the United States and beyond. It might be
true that there was a kind of dichotomy in the way the Rav appeared as
a Rabbinical leader in his Boston congregation or as a spiritual leader
of the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America -- the forum that unites the
Modern Orthodox Rabbinate) vis a vis his appearance as a Rosh Yeshiva
and true Torah leader in the learned circles of RIETS.

Nevertheless, no person claiming intellectual honesty can dismiss the
fact that the most authentic representative of a spiritual leader is his
legacy to future generations, as formulated in his writings and teachings
to the highest caliber students, or the most intimate memories of his
closest circle and family.

All the above does not leave much doubt about the Rav's real legacy to
us. Needless to say that his Halachic "Lomdische" writings were in no
way academically phrased or oriented. On the contrary, the reader can
hardly distinguish between them and the classic Brisker Torah of his
illustrious family members: R' Chaim -- the grandfather, R' Moshe --
the father, HaGriz -- the great uncle, etc. (A list of his Halachic
writings -- which substantiate our claim: Kovetz Chidushei Torah,
Shiurim LeZecher Aba Mari, Kuntres Avodat Yom HaKippurim, Chiddushei
HaGram veHaGrid -- Kodshim, Inyanei Taaniyot, Reshimot Shiurim: Sukkah,
Nedarim, Shevuot, Baba Kama, Shiurei Gittin, Igrot HaGrid, Hararey Kedem,
Haggadah -- Siach HaGrid. Besides, there are many Halachic articles in
"HaDarom", "HaPardes", "Messorah", "Ohr HaMizrach", "Beit Yitzchak"
and many pieces quoted in "Nefesh HaRav". There are also many Halachic
points in the Rav's philosophical -- homiletical writings, especially
in the footnotes. Part of the above was written by the Rav, the rest
by editors from his family and/or students). But even his non-Halachic
writings leave no doubt: The Rav was a firm believer in the absolute
hegemony of the Torah including the style and methods sanctioned by the
classic Tradition of Torah learning.

[In this context it is advisable to read especially the Rav's early essay
"Man of Halacha". Also "Mah Dodech Midod" -- a eulogy for his uncle,
the Rav of Brisk. A complete list of the Rav's writings appears in "the
Rav: The World of Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchick" by Aaron Rakefet). Nowhere
in the Rav's written legacy can one find emphasized liberalism in Psak
(Halachic rulings), nor an endorsement of scientific research-oriented
Talmudic scholarship. The only leniency is, the somewhat more colorful
and articulate language, than the typical terse language used in
Halachic literature. This is done in order to explain more precisely his
sophisticated Lomdus. And still, even in these instances, the language is
a classical mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic, "Yeshivish", par excellence.
(A slight deviation from this style can be found in "Shiurim LeZecher
Abah Mari", where the Rav seems to mix Halacha with Machshava and Bible
commentary. But even there, there is no trace of academic language
and secular terminology. This book is rather "Rabbinical" in style than
classic "Yeshivish" bearing the insignia of the Rav as a pulpit Rabbi and
a teacher to the laymen, albeit learned, rather than as a Rosh Yeshiva.
The same can be said about "Al HaTeshuva" a compilation of the Rav's
Tshuva Drashot. Dr. Peli, the editor, a liberal professor of Jewish
philosophy, would have probably been happy to quote the Rav's wider and
more secular sayings, had there been any of the sort in those lectures].

Furthermore, there is no need to revert just to the evidence offered
indirectly by the writings and their style -- there is clear outstanding
evidence about the Rav's emphasis on adhering to the spirit of old
traditions in Torah. The Rav cherished very much the stories of his
illustrious ancestors. He repeatedly described the event when his namesake
and great grandfather, the author of "Beit HaLevi", was asked to express
his Halachic opinion about the "Techelet" which had been discovered by
the Rebbe of Rodzin. "Beit HaLevi" refused even to start a Halachic
discussion. We have no "Mesorah" -- practical Halachic tradition --
concerning the identification of the "Tchelet", he said. Therefore,
he terminated and declared futile any proofs concerning the findings
of the Rodzhiner. (See "Shiurim LeZecher Aba Mari" volume II, page 228,
"Ish HaHalacha" p. 99, Rabbi Shachter, probably the Rav's closest student,
devoted in "Nefesh HaRav" a whole chapter to matters of Tradition --
"Mesorah", see there volume I, page 34. Actually the whole book is about
the customs and Halachic behavior of the Rav).

Therefore, those who supposedly see themselves as the guardians of the
Rav's legacy, by teaching Talmud and Halacha in quasi academic method
and style, lacking the vitality and old charm of Gemara learning, are
performing disservice to the great master's true spirit. The Rav was a
great teacher and pedagogue. He was a tremendously gifted commentator,
using his panoramic knowledge of: ruling precedents, history, folklore
-- all done with much wisdom and a brilliant sense of humor (often
sardonic, characteristic of the Litvishe Lamdan he was). He used all
these to stimulate the minds of his students and to instill in them a
true love for Torah learning. He did not hesitate to frown, sometimes,
on his students who failed to grasp the serious responsibility in saying
a "svarah" or understanding the shiur. He did not believe in the style
of constantly patting the shoulders of the students (so prevalent
in some of the Israeli Bnei Akiva style Yeshivot, see my article in
"Hatzofeh" -- 24 Tevet 5757: "Excellence in the Zionistic Yeshivot
-- Dream and Disappointment", see also Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein's:
"Talmud Instruction in the Yeshiva High School", there, Iyar 18 5761). He
objected to flattering the student, lest it might devaluate the prestige
of Torah learning, he was also against academization of Torah learning
which might falsify the belief in the Divine origin of Torah.

The Rav will be, no doubt, remembered as one of the greatest Lamdanim
of the Beit Hamidrash, whose "sevarot" and Halachic definitions, will
be quoted forever. (Even the Chareidi Torah world, which opposed him
philosophically, like Brisk, Mir, and Lakewood, just to mention a few
outstanding Yeshivot, admired his Torah scholarship. R' Michel Shurkin,
a Chareidi Rosh Yeshiva, participated in the Rav's shiurim for many
years, unwilling to have anything to do with YU. Even in his book,
"Hararei Kedem" where he presents the Rav's shiurim, he introduces him
with the title "Gavb"d Boston" and nothing else). Rav Aharon Kotler, who
was perceived as Gedol HaDor in the American Chareidi world, naturally
opposed the Weltanschauung of the Rav, yet he loved to hear the Rav's
"Chiddushei Torah". Eventually, because of this "semi-secret" friendship,
the Rav accepted the honorary chairmanshp of the Chareidi "Chinuch Atzmai"
-- education network, which was the "baby" of Rav Kotler. Rav Y. Hutner,
Rosh Yeshivat Chaim Berlin, another Chareidi luminary, corresponded
with the Rav in Halacha. See "Sefer HaZikaron Pachad Yitzchak, page 221.
When Rav Shmuel Rozovsky went to Boston for medical treatment, he made an
effort to meet the Rav. Rav Rozovsky, the head of the extremist Ponovizh
Yeshiva, who personally held relatively moderate views, apologized about
the meeting, saying that he had just wanted to see the man who had been
revered as having "the head of R' Chaim" -- his legendary grandfather).

The New York Times eulogized the Rav as the greatest Jewish theologian
of the century, whose teachings will be remembered in a thousand years.
Similar views were expressed in Time magazine. These publications
substantiate the prestige the Rav enjoyed on the general cultural
scene. Since the Rambam there has perhaps not been a figure who combined,
on such levels of excellence, both Torah and Maddah and achieved such
a recognition in both worlds. [Another, example was Rav Dr. Yaakov
Yechiel Weinberg the great posek of Europe after the war, the last dean
of the Hildisheimer Rabbinical Seminar in prewar Berlin. Still there were
differences: Rav Weinberg stood out more as an expert posek and less as a
Lamdan. Also his philosophical achievements were less intellectual than
those of the Rav. And, curiously, while he was considered more Chareidi
than the Rav, his Talmudic approach seemed to be more academic oriented
-- see "Seridei Esh" volume IV, his textual treatment of the "Sugya
of Meitav". In short, even he was no match for the Rav as the towering
intellectual of his generation in both Torah and secular studies.]

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Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 14:26:13 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Lot

In a message dated 11/15/01 11:34:29am EST, erics@radix.net writes:
>                            The thought is that Terach's zchus was not
> fully passed to Avraham, but also to his brothers. Some of that was
> reflected in Lot, and when it is reunited (via Rus and Boaz), we can
> start the line of Moshiach.
> (This is a two sentence summary of a 7 page d'var torah by R Yitz
> EtShalom, available upon request).

Aha, this is the source of my statement re: Eile Toldos. I think I
attributed this to R. Menachem Liebtag, but it is possible it was from
R. Y. Etshalom instead - or in addition, to {too?}

Regards and Kol Tuv,

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Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 14:30:34 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Rabbi Herschel Schachter - The Chazir is Not Kosher

In a message dated 11/15/01 11:34:44am EST, Zeliglaw@aol.com [quotes]:
> After living for many years in peace and harmony in Eretz Canaan, after
> the passing of Sara, Avraham Avinu insists on buying her a separate burial
> plot. The Jew lives differently, dies differently, and is even buried
> differently to emphasize this point. We share biological similarities
> with others, and work together with others on many different projects
> for the purpose of improving man's position here; but we do not share
> their weltanschauung. "Asher bochar banu mikol haamim."

Well well. Im kein have we failed to serve as OR hagoyyim and therefore
we have as little in common with Xtians as we did with Cna'anim
in the interveing 3 millenia the Geniles have after assimlated SOME of
our ideals and we are moving closer to the Vision of Yeshaya of Da'as
Hashem v'gomer

I hope that over time we have influenced some Gentiles and particularly
XTians who share our Tanach to pick up SOME common Deios and haskafos.
Or we have had a galus merely to suffer and not to teach. Kinda of sad
if that is the case.
Regards and Kol Tuv,

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Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 11:44:18 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Talmud and science

On Wed, Nov 14, 2001 at 03:15:31PM -0500, Gil Student wrote:
: I think he means that at the initial time of creation all of the animals 
: were created fully grown and developed.  Therefore, they could not have 
: evolved from lower organisms.  This does not negate the possibility of 
: FUTURE evolution, not that crossbreeding is evolution.

If this is what RMK means, then I must echo your earlier question of
"why he assumes that everyone agrees to this midrash."

This is a well known machlokes between R Eliezer and R Yehoshua on Rosh
haShanah 11a.

But even R Eliezer, who holds that everything was created fully formed,
need not be soseir the notion of evolution. One might take that to
mean that by the first Shabbos, the /end/ of creation, everything was
fully formed. Not at the time of Amirah.


Micha Berger                     Life is complex.
micha@aishdas.org                    Decisions are complex.
http://www.aishdas.org                   The Torah is complex.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                                    - R' Binyamin Hecht

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Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 13:01:28 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: astronomy

Eli Turkel wrote:
> How about the Raavad in hilchot kidush hachodesh who implies he did not know
> astronomy and was not particular interested in learning.

You might want to check R. Twersky's biography. IIRC he demonstrates
that in fact the Raavad was quite knowledgable in astronomy.

David Riceman

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Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 14:21:09 -0500
From: Mendel Singer <mes12@po.cwru.edu>
Re: techelet

At 10:19 PM 11/12/01 -0500, Yitzchok Zlochower wrote:
>This contribution is to counter the impression that is being given on
>this list that the Radziner dye is a viable candidate for techelet.

Let's see.

>First, let us be clear what sea creature is being used as the presumed
>basis for the Radziner blue dye. A cuttlefish, or sepia officionalis
>(its scientific name), is not what people normally think of as a fish.
>It is a cephalopod - related to the octopus and squid families. It does
>not have an external shell which is normally broken in order to extract
>the source of the techelet dye. Instead, the cuttlefish has an internal
>plate - the cuttlebone, which, presumably, is not broken in extracting
>the ink from the cuttlefish. It is difficult, therefore, to fit the
>cuttlefish into the "potzoh" (smashes it) language used by the Beraita...

The cuttlefish has an internal shell - it is a shell, same material,
considered by science to be the result of evolution, but it is a
hard shell. As for Gemara Shabbos, the first question is "potzoh".
Rashi suggests that it means to squeeze. That would not be a problem for
the cuttlefish. Understanding it as "crushing" *might* not be a problem,
either. It may be that crushing it would also scare the cuttlefish and
cause it to shoot out its ink. I don't know that this is such a problem.
There are more important questions, as you later state.

>The cuttlefish ink (squirted by the creature
>to disorient a predator) is, moreover, not blue, but sepia colored

My understanding is that *most* cuttlefish have a dark brown ink,
but sepia officinalis has a black ink. I have seen the ink of this
particular cuttlefish described as black in multiple secular sources.
This is consistent with the Rambam who says that dam chilazon is black
like ink. I believe that this Rambam was very influential on the Radzyner
and played a major role in his search.

>If true, then that should invalidate the dye as a techelet candidate
>since iron in the form of ferric and ferrous ions, which are derived
>from the iron pot and iron filings used in the Radziner process, would
>then be an important contributor to the dye color....
>         It should not take chemical training to understand that such an
>intense heating is at least the equivalent of "libun" which destroys any
>original organic matter. The cyanide ions that result are produced from
>a total decomposition of the original material. It therefore matters
>little if the original material were cuttlefish ink, or cuttlefish
>eyeballs, or ox blood (an early raw material for making Prussian Blue)....

First of all, it is not at all clear that the techeiles dye must be
solely a result of the contribution of dam chilazon. While I have
seen this claimed, and used as an argument against Radzyn, there is
evidence to the contrary. First, we have Tosafos who says that perhaps
techeiles is really the processed dye and that the sammanim are part of
techeiles, and not just to help the dye (as Rashi states). Rabbi Herzog
placed great importance on the writings of Rav Shmuel bar Chofni Gaon,
who wrote about techeiles. Since the Gaonim only wrote about pertinent
halachos, it is presumed that techeiles was being produce din his time
and he was, therefore, writing about something that he was involved in.
He says explicitly that the sammanim are part of techeiles, that dam
chilazon is *not* the sole contributor towards making the techeiles dye.
I am not saying there isn't room for argument, but the position that
techeiles is *not* solely dependent on dam chilazon is very defensible.

>Perhaps someone who is familiar with the current Radziner dye and process
>can produce evidence that the above is incorrect. If, however, the
>Radziner dye is still Prussian Blue made via very intense heating of
>cuttlefish ink in iron pots, then I fail to see any justification for
>it being a possible techelet candidate.

Yes, the big question is about the dyeing process. From what I have seen
from Radzyn, which is only letters in response to pro-murex articles,
they argue that the source is what counts not the process. This is not
without merit. There does not seem to be a halachicly required process.
Perhaps the process is irrelevant and the requirement is merely that it
come from the chilazon and produce a lasting blue dye. If so, and if
the cuttlefish is the chilazon, then the Radyzner dye would be kosher
even if not the one originally used. It is much harder to say that
the Radzyner process was the one used in ancient times. If it was,
then anything could have been substituted. Then again, if the process
was difficult to do in ancient times, perhaps indigo was a better way
to fake techeiles. In that case, people wouldn't have bothered to fake
techeiles with other sources in the same process. Still, this is hardly
an appealing answer. While I have seen guesses about the chemistry
of the Radzyner dye process, I haven't seen anyone actually really go
into the science of cuttlefish ink. Let's say, for argument's sake,
that the cuttlefish meets the descriptions of Chazal (certainly those
who considered it a sofeik, or ruled in its favor found merit in this.
According to R Chaim Twerski's article, the Erloi Rav wears Radzyner
techeiles and he knows about the dye issues, so he must have some reason.
from what i have seen, it does seem to do a pretty good job of meeting
the descriptions). Let's say, again for argument's sake, that the dye
process they use is unacceptable because anything could have been used
instead of the ink. What if another process was discovered which makes
a blue dye from cuttlefish ink in a way which *is* dependent on unique
qualities of cuttlefish ink? Nobody seems to be talking about this
since it requires a discovery - how likely is it? I mean, if you have
an excellent candidate species according to the descriptions of Chazal
but can't figure out a dye process, what do you have? Perhaps a good
theoretical candidate, but techeiles is not a theoretical mitzvah! Seems
to me that if Radzyn feels they have a species that meets the descriptions
of Chazal, then they should be investigating the dye process to see if
there is an alternative method which does depend on cuttlefish ink.
Cuttlefish ink has been the subject of a lot of research in recent
decades. Until then its chemical composition was unknown. Much is
known about it now, though. For example, it has a lot of iron, and has
a tremendous affinity for iron ions. There may even be a way to produce
Prussian Blue that would take advantage of the nature of cuttlefish ink.
That would certainly make for a much stronger argument. The fact that
people today could make it in a way that doesn't require cuttlefish
ink isn't really a problem. The issue is more whether people *then*
would have been able to make it without specifically cuttlefish ink.

In summary, there are svoros for how Radzyner dye could be
kosher. However, their position would be strengthened immeasurably if
they had a dye process that really needed specifically cuttlefish ink.


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