Friday, August 17, 2007

Frumteendex comments will be closed

I'm leaving to Yeshiva soon, Biezras Hashem. It wont affect this index, if anyone is reading it, but I wont be able to put up comments anymore. The only other person who knows the password is the head Moderator of Frumteens, and he is way too busy for such a job. Thank you.

Monday, July 02, 2007


The editing of Frumteendex is over. At least for now. Should I include any more sections?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


There are certain Mitzvos, which, by their very nature, obligated people differently according to their levels. These are notable exceptions, the ones that come to my mind offhand being Kedoshim Tihiyu, and Talmud Torah. The amount of Kedusha and the amount of Torah you must learn depends on your level.


You do a Mitzvah because Hashem said so. While we do get closer to Hashem by doing Mitzvos, and Mitzvos "lift up" the world, and it is fine to have all those things in mind when doing the Mitzvah; the reason you are doing the Mitzvah is none of the above, but rather because a Mitzvah is the will of Hashem.

To illustrate this, consider a hypothetical case where you could (a) get closer to Hashem, or (b) lift up the world, by going against the Ratzon Hashem. Would you do it?

No, you would not.

Then consider a case where you could fulfill the Ratzon Hashem but by doing so you would get further away from Hashem, or bring the world down. Would you do it?

Yes, you would.

The question, rather, is what should be your motivation to listen to Hashem?

The answer is, there are different levels: There is Ahava, the higher level, where you listen to Hashem's will because you love Him. The reason you love Him is because of the wonderful things He does for you, that is, out of gratitude to Him.

The lower level is Yorah - out of fear.


Kaddish is not "such an important part" of Judaism. It is actually a custom - not one of the 613 Mitzvos, not even a Rabbinic Mitzvah, and surely not one of the 13 Fundamentals of the religion.

Among the non-religious, Kaddish became like the most important part of Judaism, and that is because the non-religious Jews used to have religious parents, and when those religious parents died, the non-religious children figured they'd do something nice and honorable for them religious-wise in their honor, since the parents always believed in the religion anyway. So Kaddish became it.

Of course, where the custom applies, it is considered honoring one's parents to say the Kaddish. That means if you do not have a minyan, or if you are a woman, or a slew of other circumstances as well.

Women do not say Kaddish because a custom, by definition, is followed according to its established methods, and when Kaddish was instituted, it was explicit that women do not say it.

The reasons it was instituted that way could be many: don’t forget - if you read the words of Kaddish, you will find not a single mention of death, deceased relatives, honoring the dead, or anything at all that would motivate someone to say this prayer in honor of or in memory of a deceased relative. In fact, the main part of Kaddish - yehai shemei rabbah - is merely an Aramaic translation of the prayer "boruch shem kevod malchose l'olam vaed", which we all say twice a day anyway, women included, and even without a Minyan.

The kabbalistically-aware sages who instituted this custom did so because as per to Jewish mysticism, this prayer, when recited in a certain way (with a minyan), at a certain time (after the aleinu prayer, and sometimes some other places, during the davening, for the first 11 months after the death of certain - not all - relatives, and on the anniversary of their death thereafter), and by certain people (men), if is of benefit to the soul of the deceased. When said not under the specific designated conditions, it does nothing for the soul, and for all we know can perhaps even be harmful.

There are times and circumstances that the Kaddish is optional; there are times when the Kaddish is mandatory; and there are times when the Kaddish is prohibited. All of this is based on the original, kabbalah-based reasons for the kaddish in the first place.

But as I said, Kaddish is NOT a main part of Judaism at all, and it is not to even the main way to honor deceased parents. The main way to do that is available to males and females both - if the children follow the Torah's path, it is a greater merit and honor for the soul of the deceased than 1,000 times saying Kaddish.

That is what Orthodox Judaism says - if you want to honor and commemorate your parents after they are gone from this world, let your behavior be proper, do Hashem's will, and let your parents be proud of you.

The Kaddish is only a custom.


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Whether time travel is possible depends on whether "time" exists as a real entity at all. Meaning, it is possible, and there have been those who have said this, that time is nothing but a way to measure history, the same way that inches, say, is a way to measure distance. According to this, even before the world was created, there was still "time", since time is not a thing that needs to be created. The Tashbetz holds like this.

So just as you cannot have distance without inches, so too you cannot have events without time. What happened, happened. Time isn’t a thing that you can travel through, or remove, or override. It’s merely a measuring stick that our clocks created the same way rulers created inches. If this is so, then time travel is impossible.

However, the majority of Torah authorities hold that time is a thing, the same way space is. It is not merely a measuring stick but rather a creation that came into existence with Brias HaOlam. Prior to Brias HaOlam, there was no time! Rav Saadia Gaon is the first that I can think of off hand who says this, and he is followed by countless others.

Of course, it is impossible to imagine a world without time, but it is also impossible to imagine a world without space either, which is the way things were before Creation. In fact, it was a world without a "world". It’s impossible to describe, to understand, and Chazal say we are not supposed to contemplate the way things were before creation.

According to this, it would definitely be possible to travel in time, since time is a measurable entity, rather than merely a method of measuring other entities. And just as you could travel through space, you could, theoretically, travel through time.

Of course, regardless of the above dispute, Hashem exists above and beyond time, and is aware of past, present and future, kavyochol, all at once. This applies only to our world, not to Hashem.

Although I am not aware of anyone in Torah who has actually traveled through time, we do know that people have been shown the future, even to the point of seeing "every generation and its leaders."

As far as the scientists are concerned, pre-Einstein they basically believed that time is absolute but motion is relative. Meaning, something can be moving in relation to me but not in relation to you. Example: I am on a bus traveling 60 MPH. I throw a ball to the back of the bus at a speed of 60 MPH. To me, that ball seems to be moving. But to someone outside the bus, the ball isn’t moving at all, since the bus is going 60 in one direction, and the ball is going 60 in the opposite direction, meaning, the ball is standing in exactly one spot suspended in mid air!

But time, they held, was not relative, but rather absolute.

In 1887, the Michaelson-Morley experiment showed that they were wrong.

Einstein held that even time was not absolute, but rather relative as well. Under different circumstances, time itself would move slower or faster. (I know this is weird sounding stuff, but it appears to work).

If this is true, time is not really independent of space, and time travel may well be within the realm of possibility, just as space travel is. (Sounds like science fiction, I know. Maybe it is. These things change a lot).

As for the Maharal, if you get a hold of Rabbi Aryeh Carmel's translation of the Maharal's Hakdoma to Gevuras Hashem ("The Book of Divine Power"), the appendix explains in illustrated laymen's terms, what the Maharal means in light of the relativity theory of time.

According to these opinions, time doesn’t really exist. The entire concept is merely a creation of the clocks and watches, just like inches. What you call "time" I am referring to as "history", meaning, the occurring of events. "History" is what happens, "time" is when it happens. The "when" is merely a measurement, a point in history, the same way an inch is a point on a line. This opinion says, you can’t travel through time, since time doesn’t really exist, it’s not a thing. Events are things, and when they happen, they’re over and done with. Time is not something that can be over ridden since it is not real.

The Divrei Yoel quotes the Nezer HaKodesh who explains the phrase "Hamachlif es hazemanim", meaning, that Hashem "switches times". The NZH"K says it means that Hashem kind of "cuts and pastes" one day onto another time period, so that you can have, let's say, Jan. 15, 2055 happening tomorrow. He says that’s what happened with Yetzias Mitzrayim - Hashem took the day that was supposed to happen after 400 years of Golus and made it occur 210 years after, which is how we explain the discrepancies.

Then he goes on to say that the reason Moshe said "Kachatzos" is because since that day was not really the day that Paroh had on his calendar, but rather a day that was transplanted from 190 years in the future, Chatzos would have come out a bit before or after Paroh expected.

It's a pretty cool "vort", but it’s actually the opposite of time travel. Time travel means you are traveling through time. Time remains the same, but you go from point A to point B in the time stream. Here, time itself is traveling from one point in history to another.

But I hear the point. The world actually experienced a day in time other than the one that was scheduled on the calendar to come. So I guess in a way that is time travel.

The yesod belongs to the Nezer Hakodesh. The Divrei Yoel merely used it.

Not everyone agrees that time is dependent on matter. Its possible that time is merely a "fact", that doesn’t need to be "created." Like, lets say the rule the A^2+B^2=C^2, is just a fact, not a creation, and did not need an act of creation to validate it (so says the Chazon Ish).

Note: Do NOT think into this stuff – it’ll make you nuts. We can’t imagine a world without time any more than we can imagine a world without matter.


Of course Hashem often allows good things to emerge from bad ones.

I know a Jew who became an atheist, and his Christian girlfriend dragged him to Church one day, which in the end led him to question and later discard his atheism. Eventually, he came back. If it wasn’t for his shiksa and her idolatry he would have remained an atheist.

Does that mean its OK to go out with shiksas? And to go to Church?

What about a guy who gets drunk, takes a drive, passes a red light, totals the car, and, laying there in the hospital, decides he has to straighten out. Does that mean drunk driving is OK?

It says nowhere that good things cannot come from bad - but that does not make them less bad.


Batsheva was divorced; all men who went to war in David’s army divorced their wives beforehand lest they be lost in battle and the woman remain an agunah. Uriah was deserving of the death penalty for the crime of Mored B’Malchus, when he declared loyalty to Yoav (“adoni Yoav”), who killed Avner ben Ner. Dovid gave the man a hero’s death in battle and his wife the status of a queen. This had nothing to do with lust. Nosson the prophet chastised King Dovid for this only because for a man of such a stature as Dovid, it should have been done in a more seemingly innocent way.


I don't always know the answers. But the way to know as much as you can is to be objective and always look for the truth.

Here's the rule: The way to always come out right in your arguments is to make sure you always argue for the right side.


In the "shmuezen" of Rav Nosson Wachtfogel ZT"L, the Mashgiach of Lakewood, Rav Nosson tells how he once came to the Satmar Rebbe ZT"L and asked him: "How does one acquire Yiras Shamayim?"

"I don't understand you," the Rebbe told him. "The posuk says in Mishle (2:4) "If you pursue it the way people pursue money and riches, then you will understand Yiras Hashem.

"Do you know how hard people work to acquire riches?" the Rebbe continued, "They work hard, long hours, leave their families to travel abroad, they work at dangerous jobs, they spend their live at it!

"And if you pursue Yiras Shamayim like that --- it doesn’t even say that you will acquire it! It says 'You will UNDERSTAND it'! Meaning, then you'll first understand what it is! When you reach that point, you then have to try to acquire it!"

At this point in your life, don't be upset that you haven’t acquired Yiras Shamayim. You are not expected to have it.

At this point in your life, focus on fulfilling the Mitzvos, acquiring proper Hashkofos, and improving your Midos. You have to walk before you can run.


The stronger and more sincere the commitment the more your chances of success.
This mainly has to do with your choices. It's not a formula that you can run but rather a decision and commitment on your part to do what needs to be done.

However, if your desire is there but you do not have the character strength to carry it out, you are probably carrying the spiritual malady known as "rifyonus". It means, simply, weakness of commitment. It's a milder form of apathy ("atzlus"). It's where you want to do something but do not have the strength to do it.

This is unfortunately a very common experience. It's a negative Middah that has to be eradicated, just like Gaavah or Achzorius or any bad Middah.

It needs work, but it can be done. Slowly, but surely. You can change yourself so that you will be able to have the strength to fulfill your sincere committments.

You need to get a Sefer and study it. It's called Chovas HaTalmidim, by Rav Klonimus Kalman Shapiro of Warsaw. You can get it in English - "A Student's Obligation" by Aronson Press, but the Hebrew is much better. Get both, if you need the English.

He deals head-on with this Middah, and his Sefer was written specifically for teenagers. Please follow his advice, and slowly you will be able to strengthen yourself and do what you really wish you were doing.


Obviously, involvement in sports (watching, not playing) is a waste of time etc. But the fact is that Yeshiva guy do outgrow it, it doesn’t seem to do harm in the long run, so I would say choose your battles and leave it alone. Don’t worry.

That having been said, it is also true that our actions when we are young have a lasting impact on us. Rav Sheinberg shlita was in America once during world series time, and he told someone that even though now he is obviously millions of miles away from these things, he still feels a little "surge" when he hears the Yankees won. A throwback from his childhood years.

In a l'chatchilah world, we would not have sports. But it’s not worth fighting over.


The Gemora (Shabbos 96b) has a complaint against Rabbi Akiva because he revealed the name of the "mekoshesh" (i.e. Tzelofchos), since the Torah did not want to reveal the name of the sinner. We see from there that when the Torah did reveal the name of a sinner it was done so for that particular case. And the reason invariably is for us to learn a lesson from it --- often it may be to teach us that even great people can be nichshal in various ways.

I once heard from Rav Shimon Schwab ZTL that he holds history books do wrong by revealing negative information about various personalities. He told me that when the Torah does it, it is al pi nevuah, and comes for an important toeles. But when people do it in history books there is no excuse.

(That having all been said, according to the letter of the law, the Torah prohibition of loshon horah does not apply to deceased people. Of course, that is not a contradiction to anything I mentioned above).


Sometimes, the seforim will bring down Chazals that are nowhere to be found in our collection of Chazals.

Sometimes, a sefer will bring something in the name of the Zohar, and it's not found in our Zohar - such as the famous quote "man denafach midilei kanafach", which is brought in some chasidishe seforim in the name of the Zohar, even though it's nowhere in our Zohar (it is, however, found in the sefer hakanah of Rav Nechunia ben Hakanah).

Other times, the Rambam will bring something that has no source anywhere except the Zohar, even though it is pretty clear that the Rambam didn’t have the Zohar. This is either because the Rambam figured out these facts on his own, without the Zohar, since he was, after all, the Rambam, or he must have had Medrashim that we no longer have.

Some unscrupulous pontificators even used to make up Chazals and then create complex explanations to "interpret" them - see Maharsha (Mahdura basra) Shabbos 88b.

However, when a reliable sefer openly quotes a Medrash or a Chazal, we can be sure they exist. Problem is, sometimes Chazals they quote just aren’t anywhere to be found. Examples:

The Maharsha himself (Chulin 91 and Bava Basra 15) quotes a statement that Talmidei Chachamim are careful on even less than a perutah. This is not to be found in our chazals.

The HaKosev in the Ain Yaakov (and if memory serves part of this is also quoted by the Daas Zekeinim al HaTorah) quotes a Chazal in the introduction to Ain Yaakov: Ben Zoma says, we find a posuk that includes more, i.e. shema yisroel; ben nanos says, we find a posuk that contains even more - veahavta lereacha komocha; shimon ben pazi says, there’s a posuk that contains even more ..." This is not to be found in our chazals.

The Panim Yafos in chukas quotes a Chazal that says there will not be a generation like that of Dovid and Shlomo until Moshiach comes (this is quoted in the name of Kabalah sefroim, but seemingly not found in chazal).

The Ohev Yisroel in Vayeshev quotes a Gemora in Bava Basra 75b - asidin tzadikim sheyamru lifneihem kodesh ... and the gemora asks how is Hashem referred to l'asid lavo, and it answers, Hashem is call Kodosh forever. This is not to be found in our Gemora.

When this happens, it means that the seforim had chazals that we no longer have, or perhaps a Mesorah about it, or perhaps a different girsa in the Gemora.


Sholom doesn't mean everyone should just allow everyone else to do what they want, since you're forgetting Hashem is in the middle of all this. So in other words, if let's say you were married and someone was getting in between you and your husband, making him angry at you and breaking you up. Would you say it is better to continue being connected with her and letting her come between you and your husband or to have nothing to do with her?

So too, often, when people make Hashem angry at us and cause us to get into fights with Hashem we have to make Sholom with Hashem first even if it means severing relations with our friends.

The Meforshim point this out from the fact that Pinchas, in reward for killing Zimri, was given "a covenant of peace". Even though what he did was just the opposite of peace.

Or so it seems.

What Zimri was doing was causing a rift between us and Hashem. To make Sholom Bayis between us and Hashem Zimri had to be eliminated. So what Pinchas did was actually creating Sholom.

Another example: The Halachah is that is a heretic writes a Sefer Torah, we BURN THE SEFER TORAH! With Hashem's names!

The Gemora explains:

If we destroy Hashem's Name to make peace between a husband and wife (when we dissolve Hashem's name for the Sotah), all the more so should we destroy Hashem's name to make peace between Klall Yisroel and Hashem.

So burning this man's Sefer Torah is called making peace!

It is, because it's like throwing out the boarder in your house that is constantly causing fights between you and your husband.

If let's say a woman was tempting your husband to cheat, and you told your husband you don't want him to be friends with her anymore, and he said "Well, what about Sholom?", how would you respond?

We are supposed to have a real relationship with Hashem. Love, understand, connect, etc. He certainly loves us. This relationship is our most important relationship in the world. When someone tries to break us apart by making us do Aveiros or whatever, we cannot allow that.

Sholom is the most important thing.

And our Sholom Bayis with Hashem is our first Sholom priority.


An important comment: I have seen many times in posts, the phrase "frum but open minded" or some other variation of the sentence structure, but the idea being that "frum" and "open minded" are two opposing characteristics. This is the influence of the secular world.

Open-minded means the willingness to accept new ideas. I assume that in the context we are talking, that refers to ideas that should indeed be accepted, because the open-minded-ness that means to accept anything even if it is wrong, is not a positive trait.

Therefore, not only is being frum and open-minded not a contradiction, they go hand in hand. A person following the Torah needs to accept the truth regardless of whether it is new to him or not.

Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz ZTL points out that this was the greatness of Shimon HaAmsuni, who spent his life interpreting every instance of the word "es" in the Torah. His position was that the word "es" is there to include something else not explicit in the posuk. But when he got to the posuk "es Hashem elokecha tirah", he was stymied - what could "es" mean to include here? Surely we may not fear anything but Hashem!

Until Rabbi Akiva came and told him that "es" hashem elokechah tirah may include Talmidei Chachamim.

Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz says that the lesson in this story - and the reason Chazal related it to us - was the show the greatness of Shimon HaAmsuni. All his life he was utilizing his "es lerabos" idea, interpreting every instance of "es" in the Torah. The accumulated work of Shimon HaAmsuni on this topic was massive. It was his magnum opus, his own contribution - and a magnificent one! - to Torah Shebal Peh. It would go down in history.

But because he found a single instance that he could not find a viable interpretation for according to his opinion, he was ready to abandon his entire life's work, to abandon his opinion of "es lerabos".

Surely a sage like Simon HaAmsuni could have squeezed in some kind of contrived interpretation for this one single instance. But he did not. Instead, he was going to abandon the entire idea, because he saw it was not true. Until Rabbi Akiva came and saved it.

Because he was open-minded.

Being frum requires one to accept the truth, to be open minded, and not to stick to what you want the truth to be. A "negiyus" is the biggest mind poison that can exist. Said the Chazon Ish: "Doing a serious aveirah is not a contradiction to being a Godol, but having a Negiyus is."

It is those who refuse to acknowledge the truth of the Torah that are the closed-minded ones. And those who insist on living their anti-Torah lifestyles or harboring their anti-Torah beliefs because they are comfortable with them, or because they allow them to fit into society better, or because they make them feel more "sophisticated", or "normal" , who are the closed minded ones.

Ain lecha ben chorim ele mi she'osek batorah.

So please, let's disabuse ourselves of using this manner of expression, "frum but open minded" or "open-minded" as opposed to frum. That’s not an open-minded outlook.


Jews are supposed to be loyal to their countries. Pollard was found guilty of betraying his country, breaching national security, and putting an untold number of America's operatives in mortal danger, all in the name of a foreign power.

Had he been guilty of just that, it would have been bad enough - and I'm not talking about his own personal crime - I'm talking about the danger that such actions, committed by a Jew, place the entire Jewish population in.

We don’t need people thinking Jews betray their country.

But when such a Jew does it in the name of the self-proclaimed "Jewish State", it's even worse, because now it's not just a spy who happens to be Jewish. It's the "Jews" spying on us!

But it’s even worse than that. Much worse. In an interview on 60 minutes, a few days before Pollard's sentencing Pollard's wife, Anne, announced to the entire United States of America, who her husband was found guilty of betraying in the name of a foreign power, quote: "I feel my husband and I did what we were expected to do, and what our moral obligation was as Jews ... and I have no regrets about that."

She's saying, to the entire country, that we Jews are indeed a security risk - and proud of it! - that Jews should and would betray their country. That is their "moral obligation."

We should do nothing bust distance ourselves from such people, saying "We have nothing to do with them. We do not support them. We are loyal to our country. They are renegade evil lunatics that do not represent anyone but themselves."

And that 60 Minutes interview was not an isolated incident. Pollard's behavior throughout his entire ordeal was consistently driven by the arrogant attitude that what he did was what Jews should be doing and it is the obligation of Jews to support him.

There was an article in the Jewish Week, June 21, 2002, titled "Why Pollard is still in Jail," by Edwin Black. It was good. You should try to dig it up. Here's an excerpt from there:

"Keeping one's mouth shut and displaying remorse is the first priority when seeking the mercy of the court. But the Pollards tried to outsmart mercy. They decided to rally the American Jewish community and massage public opinion, hoping to create outside pressure on the judge and prosecutors to dispense a reduced sentence. Without the knowledge of his attorney, Pollard granted two exclusive prison interviews to Wolf Blitzer, the CNN journalist who was then Washington correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. In these interviews, Pollard presented himself as a highly motivated Jew determined to help Israel in the face of an intransigent American intelligence community that was endangering the Jewish State.

" 'No Bumbler But Israel's Master Spy,' the headline declared. Moreover, a letter from Pollard ran on the front page of the Jerusalem Post decrying his 'judicial crucifixion,' and assuring 'the gains to Israel's long-term security were worth the risks' he took. The letter even lamented the fact that 'no one has summoned the [Jewish] community to put a stop to this ordeal.'

"The result of the interview was a disaster for Pollard, who infuriated the government with his defiant stance.

"After learning of one of the interviews, Pollard's defense attorney, Richard Hibey, is said to have shrieked so loudly into the phone, a partner rushed in to see if he was hurt. As damaging as the Jerusalem Post interview was, Anne Pollard's interview with '60 Minutes' a few days before the scheduled sentencing did far more damage..."

At the very least, if someone wants to try to help such a person because they feel he is being treated unfairly, it needs to be done in a way such that nobody in their right mind would ever get the impression that we are helping him because we share his dark ideals.

They tried, but Pollard wouldn't allow anybody to say think that Jews are not a danger to society. Another excerpt:

"Not a few in the Jewish community have been harassed by Pollard supporters for straying from the Pollard camp's line. For example, in 1993, David Luchins, a senior advisor to Sen. Daniel Moynihan', became embroiled in a tactical dispute over Pollard's seeking a parole, and also a letter of remorse obtained by Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik of Chicago ... The letter was a Congressional initiative to secure presidential commutation. But after Pollard signed, he reportedly expressed regret over a portion of the letter that apologized for violating Jewish law-- to the utter dismay of those who had organized the letter. Luchins' life was threatened by Pollard supporters, who circulated a flyer one press report dubbed a Salman Rushdie-style religious decree calling for Luchins' murder. A source close to Sen. Moynihan says federal marshals were summoned to protect Luchins.

If he wants help, that's one thing. But so long as he insists on claiming that the reason we should help him is because his acts represents what Jews ought to do, we stay far away and say "No. Jews are not like that!"

As Black notes:

Jewish officers throughout the American intelligence community were equally incensed that the Pollards might make all American Jews seem disloyal. "There are more than a few Jews loyally and quite properly serving their country in intelligence," explained one highly placed Jewish intelligence analyst. "None of us wants to be looked at cross-eyed when we walk into a room, people wondering if we are the next Pollard. He had no right."

Indeed. And that's coming from people who don't even know a thing about what Chazal tell us are the catastrophic consequences to our safety of Hisgarus B'Umos, rachmana litzlan.

Oh, one more thing. Even though Pollard's supporters make believe that what he did to this country was not a whole lot ("Spying for an ally" and all that), here's the info (from Black):

No one has ever been able to identify reliably exactly what secrets Pollard sold to Israel. Jewish leaders who have been briefed by trustworthy sources have constantly been told the same refrain: "If you only knew how severe the damage was." Despite reams of guesswork and Washington's porous nature, the details are still undisclosed.

But those details are clearly enumerated in a 46-page sworn declaration to the sentencing judge by then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, most of which has been classified top secret. The secret affidavit includes a classified analysis of 20 illegally disclosed documents.

"The judge requested -- the court asked -- for a confidential, highly-classified summary to report the damage done," Weinberger told me in an interview. Although the declaration was signed by Weinberger and submitted as the Secretary's personal affidavit, the damning document was in fact assembled piecemeal by an inter-agency group of intelligence officials independently assessing Pollard's damage to their own operations. A redacted copy of that sworn 46-page declaration, obtained by this reporter, together with information and analysis reported by several of the actual contributors, indicates that Pollard indeed compromised the most sensitive aspect of American intelligence, providing Israel with the highest level of secret information. "More than 1,000 unredacted messages and cables," of which a significant number were not just top-secret but "codeword sensitive," were delivered to Pollard's Israeli handlers, according to the Weinberger Declaration.

Washington feared that Israel could have traded the secret materials with other intelligence services. The information could have even ended up in Moscow, perhaps as a bargaining chip at a time when Israel was trying to free Soviet Jews. Numerous intelligence reports about Soviet missile systems, delivered by Pollard, exposed the way America analyzed Soviet weapons. He transmitted regional surveillance data from the VQ-2 reconnaissance squadron in Spain, thereby enabling Israel to virtually track America's own intelligence capability in the Mediterranean and even over Israel itself. This was crucial in Israel's 1985 bombing of the P.L.O. headquarters in Tunis, which depended upon Israeli F-15s evading both American and Arab listening posts over North Africa.

But all of this was dwarfed, according to a principal author of the Weinberger Declaration, by photocopying for Israel the massive 10-volume RASIN Manual. An acronym for Radio and Signal Intelligence [RASIN], the precious manual is known as "the Bible," according to the intelligence officer. The RASIN Manual details America's global listening profile, frequency-by-frequency, source-by-source, geographic slice by geographic slice. RASIN was, in effect, a complete roadmap to American signal intelligence. Informed sources say Pollard's RASIN Manual disclosure was the crux of a secret exchange in Judge Robinson's courtroom just moments before the outraged judge finally pronounced a life sentence. Some estimate the loss of the RASIN manual cost America billions of dollars and many years in completely restructuring America's worldwide eavesdropping operation. Though Pollard has sought to downplay the consequences to the U.S. of his actions, his crime was lasting and devastating to the U.S. intelligence community.

The whole idea of a Jew betraying our country for a foreign power that refers to itself arrogantly as "The Jewish State", which the USA is concerned will sell the information to its deadly enemies in order to free soviet Jews is something we should scream against with all our might, and shout out form the rooftops that this man and his wife are disloyal traitors to Judaism just as much as they are disloyal traitors to their country.

I cannot, in all my life, recall any event outside of this one where Jews were portrayed by Jews as a proud to be a danger to society, a security risk in its midst.


I never stated what I think his "kavonos" were; merely what his mission was, namely, to betray the United States of America for the sake of Israel. That's what he was found guilty of. That includes breaching national security of this country and its population, including the millions of Jews living here.

If Pollard believes that he can decided "mi yichyeh umi yomus" - that putting some people in mortal danger in order to save other people - is a good thing, then that's his business, but it does not make him any less of a danger, and it does not make what he did any more right.


The ani maamins only have value in saying them if you understand what they mean (as opposed to other parts of davening, where saying the words themselves have value - with the ani maamins, the value is in the belief, not saying the words)


The Baal Shem Tov and stories such as him interacting with Moshiach can be trusted - our Mesorah of skeptical and stiff-necked tzadikim says so. Such a story is pretty much the same as a story in the Gemora with Rav Yehoshua ben Levi who had a similar conversation with Eliyahu Hanavi asking him when he will arrive. Great tzadikim - at least in those days when they were so great - could do these things.


The entire world is affected by our actions. The fulfillment of the Torah is the energy that runs the world. A corruption in our actions send ripples across the entire universe – remember that even the animals became corrupt because of the sins of Noach’s generation, to the point where they had to all be destroyed.

And remember that Hashem not only judges individuals, but communities as a whole, countries as a whole, and the world as a whole. So if in a certain community, let’s say, there’s someone doing aveiros, he can effect the fate of the entire community.

A person’s behavior can also affect those around him. You are not supposed to cross a bridge together with a sinner because if the bridge collapses due to the sinner’s fate – and it can – you are now in danger.

Doing a sin definitely affects others. We’re all in the same boat. If you drill a hole in your cabin, it’s not only you that will sink.

There's a known principle that our Mitzvos, particularly Torah learning, cause others to become more frum. (A former Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rashab, said that the best way to be Mekarev Rechokim is to sit in the Bais Medrash and learn Torah and do Mitzvos!) Therefore, if someone wants to become an apostate in Paris, this could be prevented, perhaps, with more Torah learning in the world.

Because learning Torah can prevent apostasy does not mean that not wearing proper socks makes someone else do znus.


As far as the dates of the rishonim, I've seen that theory about the "kovim,"(see below) and it’s baseless. Useless, too. It helps us in no way at all and only serves to confuse the issue: Can Achronim argue with "kovim"? Don’t "kovim" argue with rishonim regularly?

The kovim theory is based on the speculative idea that it is major tragedies that end tekufos and start new ones, and the inquisition seemed to be a nice place to end the rishonim. Matis Kantor (see "The Jewish Timeline Encyclopedia" by Mattis Kantor, Appendix D). But although clearly defined lines of demarcation between tekufos CAN exist, it doesnt mean that they always have to. It says nowhere that you are either a "rishon" or an "achron". Whereas the Gemora was officially sealed and concluded, as was the Mishna, there was no such official seal and conclusion on the works of the rishonim. It all depends on the greatness of the people on the two sides of the argument --- it’s stupid for us to argue with the Rambam.

Even in the days of the Tamnaim and AMorayim, after the Mishna was closed and sealed, Rav, of the first generation of Bavli Amorayim, is considered a "Tana" by Chazal and can argue with Tanaim. Yet Rav's statements are included in the Gemora, not the Mishna, for the Mishna was sealed.

And so, if you have a blurred edge between the Rishonim and Achronim, so what? Whether an individual is considered a rishon or an achron depends on who he is. It so happens that the later generations get weaker and so nowadays it’s clear where we stand. In fact, even though no new tekufah has been created since the achronim, clearly, nobody today will argue with the shach and taz.


Depression is NOT when bad situations make you miserable. That's normal. Depression is when the misery doesn't allow you to enjoy the good situations in your life. Your favorite desert no longer interests you, you no longer enjoy your favorite activities, stuff like that. Depression sucks the enjoyment out of things that you should be enjoying, as opposed to making you suffer from things that it makes sense you should suffer from.

Crying yourself to sleep is painful. But there are things that would make any normal person cry themselves to sleep (One of those things, honestly, is the fact that there are people who are in such pain. that should make every normal Jew cry themselves to sleep at night...) And you should deal with the causes of your pain however you can. But that's different than depression.

Someone's parents once came to me and said they think their daughter is crazy because she tried to slash her wrists. I told them that living in their house she would be crazy if she didn't try to slash her wrists! What she did was harmful, undesirable, and must be prevented. But it is not crazy. In this case, the parents were the crazy ones, not the daughter. The daughter was the one in danger, though.




Never, ever under any circumstances should you go to a non-frum shrink. Without a proper perspective on the value of being frum, without understanding the dynamics of a frum home and a frum person, they make too many mistakes and make things worse.

As far as shrinks in general, you need to have three things in mind:

1) "The Shinever Rav's Rule of Insanity". A lady came to the Shinever Rav ZT"L and complained that her son went crazy.

"He dances with shiksas and eats chazeirim", she said.

"Crazy??" retorted the Rav. "If he would eat shiksas and dance with chazeirim he'd be crazy. He's not crazy, he's just listening to his Yetzer Horah! There's a big difference."

Many people think that if a kid is doing aveiros a shrink will help. He won't. The theory that if he deals with his "issues" he will become frum again doesn't bear out in real life (see my post in the "It's getting worse" topic in this forum). Mental problems are not the same as doing the wrong thing. Shrinks deal with mental issues not moral issue or value issues. First determine which you have.

2) Because the shrinks have no objective criteria for right vs. wrong, but rather deal only with feelings and the decision making process, they often lose focus of the issue. Example: I know someone who sent his son to a shrink because he (the son) had bisexual tendencies. He spent months discussing his feelings about "alternative lifestyles" and his plans and his feelings etc., but bottom line, nothing changed. He got tired of the shrink and left. Afterwards someone explained to him that he simply has a Yetzer Horah for men, Hashem put it there, it's his nisayon, and he shouldn't bother trying to get rid of it, and don't bother even analyzing it because it doesn't matter. What does matter is that he doesn't act on it. Simply don't do anything. Everything else is not a problem. That worked just fine. This was not a shrink issue; it was a simple issue of getting things in perspective, which is the Torah's job.

3) There is a tremendous difference between psychology and reality in terms of how to view the decision-making process of a human being. The shrinks live in a world of causation, which means, everything has a cause. Your decisions are caused by something. Mostly - perhaps completely - heredity and environment. More and more our society is leaning towards the outlook of "this is WHY I did what I did...", and more and more, people, especially kids, are asking "WHY am I doing this? WHAT makes me do this?"

The reason the shrinks believe this is because shrinks deal with the physical part of person, including his physical brain, but they have no dealings or knowledge of the spiritual part of a person, meaning his soul. The spiritual part of a person affects his being greatly, which is another cause of errors made by the psychologists. The reality is that Hashem has endowed humans with something called bechirah, which means Free Will. It is beyond the laws of causation. Meaning, there does not have to be a reason why you chose A over B except for the fact that you were given the miraculous ability to choose between Good and Bad for no reason at all other than it is your own personal private and totally self-created choice.

The idea that a person controls his decisions rather than his decisions are controlled by outside factors is a Torah idea, and the shrinks are unable to consider it, since they have zero knowledge of the existence, never mind the nature, of a soul. So very often (see the above example) a person can will himself out of trouble but the shrinks will miss that option since they are not trained to focus on it. There is great controversy among the shrinks even when it comes to addiction about this. This does not mean to say people do not have temptations, and sometimes even Nisyonos that they cannot overcome; but where this is true, and the role that human free will plays in controlling ones actions is a place where the shrinks are completely in the dark.

Regarding spirituality, there is an additional, fourth factor. Rabbi Chaim Segal ZT"L, the former principal of Chaim Berlin High School in Brooklyn had a general policy (I heard he made exceptions) not to allow shrinks in his school (Orchos Chaim - address to Torah Umesorah). His reason: The Chasam Sofer rules that all secular medical knowledge is only considered "perhaps" true when it comes to Jews, since Jews and non-Jews, it says in Chazal, have different physical natures, and all medical research is done, generally, on non-Jews. And it may or may not apply to Jews. All the more so, argued Rabbi Segal, where a person's spiritual and psychological nature is concerned. The Jew is imbued with a psychological and spiritual nature completely different than that of the non-Jew. Do the psychologists take that into consideration? Do they consider factor such as Zechus Avos, to name just one, in their diagnosis and treatment plan?

A similar sentiment is recorded in the name of Rav Elyshev shlita in the Sefer Yashev Moshe.

A person has a body and a soul. Your mind - your sentience as opposed to the physical meat of your brain - is part of the soul, not the body (Zohar Bereishis 32, and all over the seforim). This is not something that secular shrinks have a handle on. At least, not nearly as much of a handle as they think they do.

Is there a use for shrinks? Of course there is. But it is more narrow and limited than they would have you believe; more than they themselves believe. Perhaps you should see a shrink; perhaps you should not or do not need to. I don't know your particular situation. But please bear in mind that the job of the shrinks is limited in its scope - you would not go to them to pull your tooth or to fix your foot, of course - and you must make sure that before you entrust yourself to a doctor, you are going to the right one. The only problem is, if you go to a foot doctor to pull your tooth, he will tell you that you came to the wrong place. The shrinks themselves are not aware of many limitations of their own skills, so you have to be more careful here.


There are a number of frum psychologists, but their expertise is not Halachah and hashkafa. You should not go to psychologists under any circumstances for the sake of obtaining from them Hashkafic guidance. You should only go to an expert in Halachah for Halachah and an expert in Hashkafa for Hashkafa. Just because someone is frum does not mean he is either. And his being a psychologist does not contribute to his expertise in either.

You can go to a psychologist for psychological problems. If you have halachic or hashkafa issues you should, at the same time, see an expert in those fields separately.