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November 25, 1988 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-25

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Torah Message

Continued from Page 2

• Why is it permissible to allow
non-Jews to handle a Torah scroll?
While some authorities oppose this
practice, the Talmud states clearly that
a Torah scroll cannot be made ritually
unclean regardless of who handles. This
is emphasized by Moses Maimonides,
who wrote that anyone may handle a
Ibrah scroll and read from it, even a
• Why did the rabbis permit the
Torah to be translated into Greek?
In the Babylonian Talmud, some
rabbis expressed the view that while
tefilin andmezuzot may be written in
any language, the Ibrah may be writ-
ten only in Hebrew. However, Rabbi Si-
meon ben Gamaliel, first-century C.E.
president of the Sandhedrin, said that
the Ibrah may be written in Greek as
well as in Hebrew. He reasoned that
this should be done out of respect for
King Ptolemy, the Greek ruler of
Palestine who in the middle of the third
century B.C.E. had been very kind to
the Jews. The view of Rabbi Simeon
• Why do some people believe
that if a menstruant touches a Torah
scroll, the Torah becomes unfit for
further use?
Many people mistakenly believe
that since a menstruant may not
cohabit with her husband because she
is considered to be in a state of impuri-
ty, any holy object she touches —
especially a Torah — becomes unclean
and unfit for use. That this is not the
case is clearly implied in the statement
of Rabbi Judah ben Bathyra, who said,
"Words of the Torah are not susceptible
to uncleanness!" No individual, not
even one who is ritually impure, can
defile a Ibrah by touching or handling
A woman in a state of ritual impuri-
ty may hold or kiss a Torah, just as she
is permitted to touch and kiss a mezuz-
zah, which contains a parchment with
writings from the Torah.
• Why do members of a con-
gregation sometimes rise when a
rabbi or scholar approaches?
The Talmud accepted Rabbi
Yochanan's view that when the nasi
enters a room everyone except
mourners and those who are ill should
stand as a sign of respect. The nasi was
the president of the Sanhedrin
(supreme court) and the spiritual leader
of the Jewish community. Rising for the
nasi led to the practice of according
respect to all men of superior learning
by standing when they approach, for
such persons represent the Torah.
In some congregations, even today,
members will rise as the rabbi enters
the synagogue or walks down the aisle,
just as they rise to honor the Torah
when it is carried in procession.

Ambiguity, Confusion

Continued from Page 2

Israel of having lost its soul have
have lost their nerve. Some who
malign Israel may lack basic
commitment. A disunited
Jewish community can under-
mine the much-needed support



Israel has received from the Ad-
ministration, Congress and the
American people. Those who
have placed personal political
agendas or selfish organiza-
tional ambition before the need
to protect Israel's security and
good name will have to live with
the consequences of their
regrettable actions if in fact the
Jewish people disunite.
demonstrated unparalleled
restraint in the face of those
who would destroy her, should
be a source of pride to every
Jew. Those who live in the
historic land of the Jewish peo-
ple, who must content with the
internal and external
challenges which give them lit-
tle rest, deserve a better gift on
Israel's 40th birthday than
Jewish disunity.
Let us in the Diaspora and in
Israel remain a united people.
All of our futures depend on it.
Israel is and will continue to be on
the defensive against all attempts to
undermine its statehood. It is doubtful
whether too damaging a sentiment will
develop in this country antagonistic to
Israel. The urgency is Jewish solidarity.
The most vital factor in support of
Israel's defenders is American Jewry's
readiness to stand firm against destruc-
tive threats. Survival is not a dream.
The will to live requires rejection of the
"Intifada in the Diaspora."

dominating, as it already is, and will be
respected with a sense of appreciation
and commendation.

Chanukah Narrative:
Guideline For Making
Literature For Youth

Chanukah is a time for joy in nar-
ratives for young readers. All our
festivals have a share in this endeavor,
but Chanukah and its emphasis on the
Maccabean valor, has an added flavor.
Kar-Ben Copies Publishers' newest
creation is another step in the direction
of keeping the very young charmed
with our festivals and traditions.
Judye Groner and Madeline Wikler
authored All About Chanukah in the
simplest terms and their book fits well
into their "My Very Own" holiday
The story, as told by the two authors
and illustrated by Rosalyn Schanzer
depicts the Maccabean glories. It ex-
plains the idol-worship of the Syrians
who dominated Judea and how the
Jews under the Maccabees defeated the
attempts to impose idolatry upon them.

It's the well-known story about
miracles — of triumph over cruel rulers
and of the Chanukah lamp with limited
oil that lasted eight days.
The book is also a guideline for
young readers and their families to
make Chanukah joyous, to sing the
prayers to the musical tunes provided
in the book, and to exchange gifts.
A children's book about an im-
migrant family that became integrated
into America has an interesting Jewish
angle. The Keeping Quilt, written and
illustrated by Patricia Polacco (Solomon
and Schuster), is reminiscent of a
fascinating tribute to immigrants in
this country by former President John
F. Kennedy.
The Keeping Quilt is based on a
quilt pieced together from the clothing
of the members of the depicted family.
The Polacco story will fascinate. It
will add pride to Jewish devotions. It is
well told, properly illustrated and lends
cheer to a Jewish home.
Polacco's husband, Enzo-Mario, is
an Italian Jew whose father was involv-
ed in the plot to assassinate Mussolini.
When his father was in prison, Enzo
and his brother fled to the Alps and
were in hiding until the end of the war.

Nothing To Fear From
Media That Is

The developing problems involving
Israel have the media to contend with.
The sensationally muddled Arafat pro-
posals have misled many to believe
there is a panacea, that the arch enemy
of Israel is bending into a compromise.
One has to read the lengthy Arafat
"peace proposal — that farcial state-
ment — to recognize that nothing is far-
ther from the truth. Those who
associate with Arafat are not denounc-
ing violence — on the contrary, their
Algerian declaration urged continua-
tion of intifada; it speaks of "road to
Jerusalem" as their capital, an arm
totally rejected in every sense of the
word; it leans upon many anti-Israel
resolutions concocted by the arch
enemies of Israel and world Jewry.
The Arab contentions must be read
before passing judgment. The Free Press
editorial of Nov. 17, failed to do so. It in-
dicated sheer misinformation of the
facts as they are prescribed by the
Arafat-led enemies who continue to
strive for Israel's destruction. A lack of
knowledge shown in that Free Press
editorial is shameful and is an indica-
tion that the war against prejudiced
and uninformed media will continue.
Fortunately, this was an exceptional
indication of a lack of knowledge about
the much ridiculed peace offer. State
Department knowledgeability and in-
formed media know better. Therefore,
the request for understanding and be-
ing well informed will be judged as

;MV,V , W K,

In the Negev town of Netivot, two vendors display paintings of the late Baba Sali, the
venerated tzaddik from Morocco.

Ofek-1 Is Still Sky High

Tel Aviv (JTA) — Ofek-1, the first
space satellite launched by Israel, has
already well exceeded its one-month life
Its next stop is a re-entry into the
earth's atmosphere and a burnout, but
that is not likely before January 1989,
according to scientists who monitor the
solar energy-driven satellite.
Ofek was lifted into orbit Sept. 19
by an Israeli-made Shavit III rocket.
Israel's space research agency at-
tributes its longevity to the accuracy

with which it was placed in elliptical
oribt around the earth.
All of its systems are working with
"the highest degree of efficienty," accor-
ding to the scientists. Its solar panels
always face the sun to acquire the power
to keep it on an accurate course.
Computer programs are now being
written for Israel's second satellite,
No launch date has been set, but
scores of proposals are pouring into the
space agency for scientific experiments.

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