mail-jewish Vol.65 #52 Digest

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Jul 6, 2022, 4:31:52 PMJul 6
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Volume 65 Number 52
Produced: Wed, 06 Jul 22 16:31:49 -0400


Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Abortion (4)
[Martin Stern Martin Stern Martin Stern Frank Silbermann]
Jewish Women Post 'Moshiach Is Here' Billboard in Miami
[Prof. L. Levine]
Observant Jews (2)
[Prof. L. Levine Joseph Kaplan]
Punishment for the wicked
[Joel Rich]
Russian olim (was Trouble in the Zionist Paradise) (2)
[David Tzohar Haim Snyder]



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From: Martin Stern <md.s...@ntlworld.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 5,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Abortion

I wrote (MJ 65#46):

> R E Sternglantz wrote (MJ 65#45):
>
>> Martin Stern (MJ 65#44) has misunderstood literally everything about the
>> Dobbs decision and the underlying issues. His post is full of factual
>> inaccuracies.
>
> Perhaps s/he could be more specific.

Though that was published over a week ago, there has not been any response ... I
presume there is a good reason for this delay, as such ex cathedra declarations
without any substantive evidence are really not productive.

Martin Stern


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From: Martin Stern <md.s...@ntlworld.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 5,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Abortion

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 65#51):

> I think that one of the problems with the abortion discussion on MJ is that
> despite the huge increase in women posting since years and years ago, it is
> still a discussion dominated by men, whose bodies will never be threatened by
> a pregnancy and never have been. The articles posted by MJ members, and an MJ
> moderator (who lent unreasonable bias toward it) are also by men.

While it is a truism that "men, whose bodies will never be threatened by a
pregnancy and never have been", it does not follow, as Leah seems to think,
that they are inevitably biased and see abortion as a way of controlling women.

The fact that most contributions published on MJ come from men presumably is
because most submissions come from men. If ladies sent in more, then there
would be a different gender balance. There is no way this can be changed by some
form of "affirmative action".

> Jewish law is susceptible to the same bias, in the sense that until recently,
> only men had a voice in most of the decisions.

If what Leah means is that men, by their very nature, look down on women and
have no concern for their wellbeing, then this would be an outrageous claim.
I hope I have misunderstood her intended message.

Martin Stern

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Martin Stern <md.s...@ntlworld.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 5,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Abortion

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 65#51):

> Frank Silbermann writes (MJ 65#50):
>
>> Fortunately, the Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe vs. Wade did not
>> outlaw abortion but merely corrected the false claim that the amended
>> Constitutional contract included a right to abortion. States remain allowed
>> to permit abortion, and most will continue to do so. The concern is for the
>> women who reside in the states no longer permitting abortion.
>>
>> Until and unless a national bill is passed (assuming the Supreme Court
>> continues to allow violations of the 10th Amendment), there is a simple and
>> traditionally Jewish solution -- and that is for our many, many tzdakkah
>> agencies to help poor Jewish women living in those states who need a halachic
>> abortion to get one in a state that permits it.
>
> I think that Frank means well, but there is not always time, means, desire, or
> ability to publicly ask for funds and then travel hundreds of miles for
> emergency medical care. Respectfully, I ask readers to consider whether it
> would be reasonable to have to travel hundreds of miles for an appendectomy?

I think Leah's rhetorical question shows a lack of appreciation of the
seriousness of abortion. It is clear from the mishnah in Ohalot (7:6) that a
foetus has a lesser status than its mother, and embryotomy is permissible
where her life is in danger, but this does not imply abortion is no more than
the removal of a disposable body part. Though, for a Jew, performing an abortion
may not be murder, it is certainly prohibited unless there is a very good
reason for it. Hopefully I have misunderstood what Leah meant by her apparent
comparison.

Martin Stern

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Frank Silbermann <frank_si...@hotmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 5,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Abortion

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 65#51):

> Frank Silberman wrote (MJ 65#50):
>>
>> ... The concern is for the women who reside in the states no longer
>> permitting abortion. ... there is a simple and traditionally Jewish
>> solution -- and that is for our many, many tzdakkah agencies to help
>> poor Jewish women living in those states who need a halachic abortion
>> to get one in a state that permits it.
>
> I think that Frank means well, but there is not always time, means, desire, or
> ability to publicly ask for funds and then travel hundreds of miles for
> emergency medical care. Respectfully, I ask readers to consider whether it
> would be reasonable to have to travel hundreds of miles for an appendectomy?
>
>> Many Jews contribute heavily to secular charities, and secular charities
>> could provide similar help to women without regard to halacha or Jewishness.
>>
>> On the whole Halacha was well served by the recent Supreme Court activity, in
>> that it took a stand against laws aimed at denying Jews (and others) when
>> out in public effective means of fulfilling the mitzvah:
>>
>> "When a pursuer comes to murder you, rise up quickly and kill him first."
>
> I find it interesting that Frank quotes the rodef (pursuer) halakha with
> regard to gun rights in the USA. The rodef halakha is exactly what permits
> even late-term abortions in Jewish law (!!).
>
>> The urgency of such a situation prevents a remedy like the one I described
>> for abortion.
>
> Does this mean to imply that it is more urgent to buy a firearm than to get
> healthcare? I disagree wholeheartedly.

The urgency is not in buying a firearm but in using it.

When a woman needs a halachic abortion, typically there is little loss if it
takes a day or even a week to arrange.

If a neo-Nazi (or someone merely upset about gentrification) is shooting up a
synagogue, or a violent criminal has expressed his intention to maim, cripple or
murder you ecause your behavior displeases him, you are likely to have only
seconds in which to rise up and kill the rodef. (That's why the halacha says to
do it quickly.)

Buying a gun, learning how to use it, and getting a permit, in contrast, all
fall under the category of being ready to do a mitzvah.

Frank Silbermann
Memphis, Tennessee

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Prof. L. Levine <lle...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, Jun 23,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Jewish Women Post 'Moshiach Is Here' Billboard in Miami

The messianic movement within Chabad is certainly still very much around.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/jewish-women-post-moshiach-is-here-billboard-in-miami-301572638.html

> BROOKLYN, N.Y., June 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A massive billboard with a
> surprising message stands on a major highway in Miami, FL. It boldly declares:
> "MOSHIACH IS HERE." The subtext is: "Just add in goodness and kindness." The
> message concludes with: "Long live the Rebbe King Messiah forever." Geulah
> Generation, an organization of Jewish women based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn,
> posted the sign on the heavily trafficked I-95 at 69th Street, going toward
> Miami Beach.
> ...
> Said Geulah Generation spokeswoman Basha Oka Botnick, "The journey toward a
> sane and beautiful world has begun."
> ...
> Many hundreds of thousands of Jewish people the world over proclaim daily,
> "Long live our Master, our Teacher, our Rebbe the King Moshiach, forever
> and ever," accepting the kingship of the Rebbe.
>
> Acknowledging the Rebbe as Moshiach is based on Jewish Law, codified by the
> great sage Maimonides in the 12th century. These Laws of Moshiach say that
> Moshiach must be a descendant of King David, immersed in the Torah and its
> commandments, involved in strengthening the Jewish people in the practice of
> their religion, and protecting the Torah and its rules from incursions.
>
> The Rebbe fulfills these and other requirements.
>
> As is well known, the Rebbe has a virtual empire of Chabad Houses all over the
> world whose aim is to gather Jews and reunite them with their heritage.

See the above URL for much more.

I do not consider this as "The journey toward a sane and beautiful world has
begun." Indeed, if anything, this is insanity on the part of these women. They
speak of RMMS as though he is still alive!

Yitzchok Levine

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Prof. L. Levine <lle...@stevens.edu>
Date: Tue, Jul 5,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Observant Jews

David Tzohar wrote (MJ 65#51):

> On the other hand Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook said that women can learn Torah, even
> gemarrah if it is lishma, to give them a better understanding of things they
> need to know like shabbat, kashrut, yom tov, niddah etc. What is forbidden is
> for women to learn halacha to decide halacha in place of the rabbis (or their
> husbands). This is a line that can't be crossed. Women have a place of honor
> in Judaism. They just have to know where that place is. Leah Gordon should be
> proud that she is an observant Jewish woman as long as she knows where the
> boundaries are.

Let me first deal with his statement that "women have a place of honor in
Judaism." In many circles today pictures of women are not published, and the
names of the mothers of the chasson and kallah do not appear explicitly on
wedding invitations. Yet, if you ask about the positions of women in those same
circles, you will be told, "Women are on a pedestal."

Yes, she may be up there, but she is nameless and faceless!

He also wrote:

> What is forbidden is for women to learn halacha to decide halacha in place of
> the rabbis (or their husbands). This is a line that can't be crossed.

Truth of the matter is that many women who have a solid Bais Yaakov education
often know more halacha than their husbands, because the study of halacha is not
necessarily emphasized in yeshivas but is emphasized in Bais Yaakovs.

Regarding how much knowledge a rabbi may have, let me refer to one of my
favorite topics - kashrus. Ask a rabbi about such and such a fleishig product,
he may tell you that it is fine. Then ask him where the meat in this product
comes from, and I bet more often than not, he will not be able to answer. He may
think that certain hashgachas are good based on what his community uses, but
that does not necessarily mean that are in truth reliable. I am referring in
particular to heimishe or private hashgachas that many rely on but have no real
knowledge of what is going on regarding them.

Many rabbis may base their knowledge on Rav Alle - "Alle essen dus".

I am basing my comments on my knowledge of kashrus which I have spent years
acquiring.

Professor Yitzchok Levine

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Joseph Kaplan <pen...@panix.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 5,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Observant Jews

R. David Tzohar admonishes Leah Gordon (MJ 65#51) to know where the boundaries
are, that there are lines that can't be crossed, and that she should know where
[her] place [of honor] is.

I'm certain that Ms. Gordon has no need to be reminded of any of this. Of
course, that doesn't mean that she, or I, or those we rely on for Jewish and
halachic direction agree with the boundaries, lines, and places that R. Tizohar
and his religious authorities think are appropriate or binding. It's a much
wider Orthodox world than that, especially regarding the role and place of women
in it. And many of us are the better for it.

Joseph

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Joel Rich <joeli...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 5,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Punishment for the wicked

Perhaps others on MJ can help me think this through?

The Rambam in hilchot tshuva (8:1) seems to imply that the punishment for the
wicked is that they will cease to exist - meaning to me that they will not
participate in the world to come. If this is so, it seems to me that Pascal's
wager seems less of a challenge. It would seem that the player could take
enjoyment in this world and only risk nonexistence (and thus not know what he
missed out on) and take his chances that reward in the world to come would be
more pleasurable but he'll never really feel that loss. Since he will never be
aware of the downside, how would you convince him not to take the immediate gain?
Perhaps this is the reason that other commentaries read into the Rambam
elsewhere that he did believe in eternal damnation?

Thoughts?

KT
Joel Rich

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: David Tzohar <david...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Jul 6,2022 at 03:17 AM
Subject: Russian olim (was Trouble in the Zionist Paradise)

Prof Levine (MJ 65#50) asked if Israel made a great mistake in allowing
thousands of halachically problematic Jews to make aliya thus worsening the
present housing

My answer is a resounding NO. Those who came under the law of return are mostly
"zera Yisrael", with Jewish fathers, who will in any case eventually marry
Jewish women, others will convert so the demographics are not so threatening. I
agree that the law of return is problematic halachically but IMHO it is a moral
imperative to grant this privilege to the descendants of those who only a few
generations ago were persecuted for being Jewish.

Don't worry, we will overcome the housing crisis as we did in the 50's and 60's
in the previous century. Maybe the Zionist enterprise is not yet a "paradise"
but with SiYYaTTa DiSHMaYYa we are well on our way.

KT
R'David Yizchak Tzohar
Yerushalayim
http://tzoharlateivahebrew.blogspot.com/
http://tzoharlateiva.blogspot.com/

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Haim Snyder <hai...@aol.com>
Date: Wed, Jul 6,2022 at 07:17 AM
Subject: Russian olim (was Trouble in the Zionist Paradise)

I. Levine (MJ 65#51) attempts to make a direct correlation between the olim who
came from the FSU and the price of a dwelling (I use that term, since most
Israelis live on apartments, not houses) in Israel.

I came to Israel in 1972 and purchased my first apartment in 1973. The cost for
a 2 bedroom apartment was about the same as I would have paid for a 4 bedroom
ranch-style house in Houston, the city from which I made aliya. I was making
about a third of what I had been earning there. Fortunately for me, my wife and
I had savings and there were special mortgages for olim at low interest for up
to half the purchase price.

Today, to the best of my knowledge, the Jewish Agency doesn't offer mortgages to
new olim. The point that I am making is that purchasing a dwelling in Israel has
always been expensive, but other factors have made it worse for olim than it
once was.

In the years 1948-1950, Israel successfully absorbed 650,000 Jews who were
expelled from the Arab countries. One of the things they did were setting up new
settlements with hastily built huts to house them. I can report from first-hand
knowledge that many of those huts were converted to very nice single-family houses.

Had the government of Israel in the 1990's enacted a similar plan to house the
olim from the Soviet Union, they wouldn't have had the impact on housing prices
that the policy actually followed, doing nothing, did.

Insofar as encouraging new olim from anywhere is concerned, that was one of the
reasons for establishing the State of Israel. With regard to olim from Russia,
in particular, this is a continuation of efforts that started in the 80's, then
to get the Soviet Union to permit Jews to leave and come to Israel as well as to
reinculcate knowledge of Judaism to the people who had been forbidden to
practice it for 70 years.

I would also remind Professor Levine that Israel is a democracy, not a
theocracy. As a result, the Knesset passed a law saying, in effect, that
anyone the Nazis would have deemed a target for imprisonment or death as a Jew
would be accepted as a citizen in the State of Israel. Unfortunately, the chief
rabbis of Israel did not choose to continue the process of educating those who
came to live in the Jewish land but were not halachically Jewish so that they
would join the fold.

Haim Shalom Snyder

Petach Tikva

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