mail-jewish Vol.65 #42 Digest

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Jun 21, 2022, 10:03:01 AM6/21/22
Mail.Jewish Mailing List
Volume 65 Number 42
Produced: Tue, 21 Jun 22 10:02:59 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Branches of Judaism?
[Immanuel Burton]
Chabad Officially Proclaims The Rebbe is Moshiach
[Yisrael Medad]
Darkei Emori
[Joel Rich]
How do I cope with my Anti-vax spouse?
[Prof. L. Levine]
Minhag America
[Arthur Kurzweil]
Where Does A Woman Find Happiness in Life? (2)
[Irwin Weiss Leah Gordon]


From: Immanuel Burton <>
Date: Sun, Jun 19,2022 at 09:17 PM
Subject: Branches of Judaism?

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 65#40):

> While I agree with Carl that we should avoid unnecessary splits in the
> Jewish people, I think there must be a limit as to how far a group deviates
> from normative Judaism. This was the point that Rav Shimon Shwab, ZT"L, whom
> Prof. Levine was quoting, was making.
> Where one draws the line may be a matter of dispute but such a line must
> exist unless Judaism is defined as ANY religion espoused by ANY person who
> CLAIMS to be a Jew, i.e. a meaningless term. As Rav Shwab put it, otherwise:
>> Could not the Jews for J ... one day claim to be a branch of Judaism, since
>> their main objective seems to be to present a picture of unity to the outside
>> world and to display unlimited [love] for all of our fellow Jews?
>> and nobody could object.

When Rav Yehezkel Abramsky was appointed Rosh Beis Din of the London Beth Din in
1934, one of steps he took was to increase the standards of kashrut. According
to an account in "Emunah - Pathways in Contemporary Jewish Thought" (volume 2,
1990), a local butcher who opposed these changes took Rav Abramsky to the
secular court, charging that the new rules were not democratic. In court, Reb
Yehezkel Abramsky said:

"It is a well-known fact that nothing can stand in the way of the truth.
Democracy itself is meant to serve the truth. When a Jew asks for kosher meat,
he means meat that a competent rabbi, well-versed in Jewish Halacha, designates
kosher; if the meat is anything other than that, the shop owner is fooling the
customer. Anyone attempting to dispute this truth on the grounds of democracy is
committing a double offence - he distorts the truth and he debases democracy
itself by suggesting that it is meant to serve the cause of falsehood."

This account concludes with a quote from the judge's ruling:

"Although this old leopard roared in a mammer this courtroom is unaccustomed to
hearing, I must nevertheless unequivocally declare that he is correct."

Immanuel Burton.


From: Yisrael Medad <>
Date: Mon, Jun 13,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Chabad Officially Proclaims The Rebbe is Moshiach

I responded to Prof. L. Levine who wrote (MJ 65#39):

>> If you think that the messianic movement within Chabad is dead, you are
>> very wrong. See the video, "Chabad Officially Proclaims The Rebbe is Moshiach"
>> where it ... speaks of RMMS as though he were still alive by writing (MJ 65#40)

> "What's new under the sun? The Meshichistim have been doing this for decades".

To this, Martin Stern (MJ 65#41) now reacts:

> Unfortunately, this attitude is reminiscent of several previous "false
> messiah" movements

Martin's misfortune is misplaced. My comment did not relate to the essence of
the obviously nonsensical declaration but to the fact that Prof. Levine's dismay
is some three decades behind the times.

Yisrael Medad


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Tue, Jun 14,2022 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Darkei Emori

Any ideas why chazal chose the specific nation of the Emori to label Darkei
Emori which is a more general prohibition (as in Chukot Akum)?

Joel Rich


From: Prof. L. Levine <>
Date: Mon, Jun 13,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: How do I cope with my Anti-vax spouse?

Rav Gershon Ribner recently spoke about how to deal with disagreements in
marriage. In a recent vaad, a newlywed submitted a question about his new wife,
"an extreme anti vaxxer who believes virtually every conspiracy theory".

The man asked how he can move forward living life together with his new wife.

Rabbi Ribner replied with a fundamental piece of advice about disagreement in
marriage, and other areas as well. In the world that we live in, the person who
is the bigger "bar da'as", generally needs to capitulate to the lesser "bar da'as".

He said that one of the "terrible crazy things" about the world is that the
wiser person will see that a potential fight or division (or divorce) will rip
them apart and he sees the potential damage. As a result, he will capitulate,
and the person with less wisdom will end up winning.

The smarter person knows the perils of divorce. The other one who is more
reckless, will fight until the death, and will not be wise enough to realize the
damage they cause, so they will never give in.

Rav Ribner said that in all areas of life, the smaller bar da'as tends to win
the arguments. If there is a debate in shul over whether to daven nusach
Ashkenaz or Sefard, the person with the wisdom to understand that a breakaway is
a bad idea, will concede the debate to the other side. The Rosh Yeshiva said,
"The reckless shoteh wins".

However, he concluded with words of hope, quoting the pasuk which says "Acharis
l'ish shalom." In the end, we may not understand when or how, but the wiser
person who makes peace will ultimately come out on top.

I recall reading that Rav Avraham Pam used to say, "My minhag is to do whatever
my wife tells me to do". I sincerely doubt that there are many husbands who
would adopt his minhag!

Any comments?

Yitzchok Levine


From: Arthur Kurzweil <>
Date: Wed, Jun 15,2022 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Minhag America

I was editor-in-chief at Jason Aronson Publishers for almost 20 years. During
that time, at least three times, an editor at Artscroll said to me: "I'm jealous
of you. You can publish anything you want. At Artscroll, we always have the most
right-wing rabbis looking over our shoulders. So we end up only publishing the
most right-wing halachic positions. G-d forbid we would publish more lenient
views. They would jump all over us immediately!"

Do you think this is true about Artscroll? If so, what are the implications
regarding "Minhag America"?

Arthur Kurzweil


From: Irwin Weiss <>
Date: Mon, Jun 13,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Where Does A Woman Find Happiness in Life?

Professor Levine quotes (MJ 65#41) Rav Breuer who says, Faithful to the
principle that a woman finds happiness in life only in the home of her husband.

I think it might be more reasonable to ask women, who have the ability to speak,
how they find happiness, rather than have a guy dictate something like this. I
am sure many women find happiness in their husbands and homes, their children
and families, but also in their professional endeavors as doctors, judges,
architects, scientists, artists, artisans, and so forth.

Dont you?

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore, MD


From: Leah Gordon <>
Date: Mon, Jun 13,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Where Does A Woman Find Happiness in Life?

Yitzchok Levine writes (MJ 65#41):

> In Rav Dr. Raphael Breuer's commentary on Megillas Ruth, he comments
> (page 50):
>>> And Naomi, her mother-in-law, said to her: I would like to search for a
>>> place of rest for you that would prove to be good for you. (3:1)
>> Faithful to the principle that a woman finds happiness in life only in the
>> home of her husband, Naomi expressed only one wish at the end of the
>> harvest: to find Ruth a place where she would feel comfortable,
> ...
> I wonder how many Orthodox women alive today would agree with this attitude
> toward a woman, happiness, and her home.

A sure way to find out what women think would be to engage in conversation
with us, but Mail Jewish has had a slowly eroding base of women who are willing
to participate, in part due to sexist attitudes espoused on the list. (Please
do not argue this point with me, just look at the gender ratio among MJ authors
in the past ten years.)

Nevertheless I recognize a call to the 'Leah Gordons Of This List' when I see
one, so here is my answer:

Women, being human, "find happiness" in all the ways that any other person would
do so. This certainly includes a happy marriage (defined as such by the
participants). It also includes teaching AP Chemistry, playing floor hockey,
raising exactly three sons and no daughters, having exactly three sisters,
living in the Boston area ... oh wait, you mean my personal opinion and life
experience doesn't determine how other people find happiness? Imagine that.

To answer the other implied question, women are no more and no less likely
to be happy exclusively because of a marriage than men are. The reason it seems
that women are more reliant on a marriage to be happy is because of the
historical economic exclusion of women from life except as adjunct to a
father, husband, son, etc.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


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