mail-jewish Vol.66 #46 Digest

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Jun 30, 2023, 12:44:30 PM6/30/23
Mail.Jewish Mailing List
Volume 66 Number 46
Produced: Fri, 30 Jun 23 12:44:26 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Codes and organization:
[Joel Rich]
Ein adam meisim atzmo rasha
[Martin Stern]
Financial - Present / not future
[Carl Singer]
Learning is Good
[Leah Gordon]
Learning priorities
[Joel Rich]


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Wed, Jun 28,2023 at 12:17 AM
Subject: Codes and organization:

Comment to a magid shiur concerning codes and organization:

Keep in mind please that my comments are not constrained by any formal knowledge
(that's a true general statement!)

I completely agree about the Rambam being a master organizer, the ability to
take in all of the oral and written law and output an organized, concise code is
beyond my comprehension.

I have an intuitive sense that, having started with the Sefer Hamitzvot as a
blueprint for the Mishna Torah, his specific rulings were consciously made in
the context of their impact on every other ruling in the MT. I almost think of
it as an artificial intelligence with an almost infinite number of nodes. (AI
psak is another fascinating topic)

I'm sure the Tur was also aware of all the TSBP but I wonder if it's in any way
similar to what some commentators think that Rashi was primarily concerned about
the specific page in front of him, versus Tosfot who were concerned about the
coherence of the entire corpus of TSBP.

Of course, I can't prove any of that. Its just a gut feeling.

Any thoughts?

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <>
Date: Tue, Jun 27,2023 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Ein adam meisim atzmo rasha

Arafat and Abbas both have claimed that the Palestinians are the descendants of
the Kena'anim. Does the principle of "Ein adam meisim atzmo rasha [a person
cannot become classified as wicked solely on his own admission]" apply to
non-Jews? I checked the Encyclopedia Talmudit butthis point is not discussed. If
so should we treat the Palestinians as commanded regarding the Kena'anim? Can
anyone answer this and bring sources to support their position.

Martin Stern


From: Carl Singer <>
Date: Fri, Jun 23,2023 at 06:17 AM
Subject: Financial - Present / not future

Joseph Kaplan wrote (MJ 66#45):

> Carl Singer's comment (MJ 66#44) about the one school/two shul communities he
> grew up with as compared to the multi-school/shul communities in Northern NJ
> where he now lives omits a critical factor - population growth. I also live in
> northern NJ in Teaneck. If we had only 2 or even three orthodox shuls each one
> would have thousands of members. Same for the schools; they would be behemoth.
> And many adults and children would simply get lost.
> Moreover, there would be numerous fights over everything coed or not?, teach
> girls gemorah?, should we have sports teams?, how do we split time between
> limudei kodesh and chol? etc etc etc. And that's just for the schools. Similar
> questions for shuls. Big populations like those we have, thank God, in
> northern NJ are diverse by nature, and having many schools and shuls serving
> these populations. United in some ways and divergent in others leads, I
> think, to more rather than less cohesion.

Exactly -- diversity vs unity.

There are large congregations and when one considers walking distances, multiple
shuls are often a necessity. BUT it seems that everyone wants to "drive the bus"
-- have things exactly to their liking. There are over 30 congregations here in
Passaic, New Jersey - ranging from long established to recent store-front and
basement minyanim. This certainly undermines a sense of community and unity.
Today, few communities have a "Shtut Rav" so rather than uniting around Torah we
see not only diversity -- but animus - "There I don't go." or "They don't hold
by ...."

When it comes to schools we see this same problem, AND the added issue that
no school feels a responsibility to children / families who do not fit their
mold -- leaving some children out in the cold.

Carl Singer

70 Howard Avenue
Passaic, NJ


From: Leah Gordon <>
Date: Fri, Jun 23,2023 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Learning is Good

David Tzohar writes (MJ 88#45):

> ...
> The subject of women learning Torah subjects that they cannot or, at least, are
> not obligated to perform is more complicated. Most major halachic decisors are
> against quoting the talmudic dictum that teaching women Torah is teaching them
> "tiflut"(heresy?} But there are exceptions. Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook ZTZ"L and Rav
> Aviner SHLITA both are in favor of teaching women Torah including Gemarrah if
> they feel that the limud would help them in their avodat Hashem.

I would like to state for the Mail Jewish record that we are a list that
includes both women and men. We are also, by origin and practice, "Modern

Therefore, we are ab initio in favor of women and men learning Torah.
Furthermore, it is divisive and offensive to refer to women as a general "other"
type of person ("They") and casually mention the extreme right-wing view that
women should not be educated fully, as though that merited any consideration

If David has an idea that he would like to share about someone other than
himself abstaining from learning Torah, I invite him to do so in an environment
where that would be welcome.

Dr. Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Joel Rich <>
Date: Tue, Jun 27,2023 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Learning priorities

Comment to a magid shiur concerning learning priorities:

One way of looking at it is that life is all about having manageable and
realistic expectations based on what gives your life meaning. In the US,
starting in the 1970s, there began, unintentionally(?), a huge experiment of
reallocating parental time away from children and to work for both spouses in a
marital unit. It doesn't seem talked about too much but I'm sure someday there
will be a study to determine the impact. I imagine that in the child centered
orthodox society the results will be even more marked. No, I'm not just talking
about women learning it but I think this is a good example. If both spouses are
totally committed to learning/teaching Torah is there a downside? All this
analysis should be based on data, not anecdotes.



Joel Rich


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