(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 21:24:35 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Talmud Torah

Let me briefly respond to Rabbi Menken's comments in BM, V1 #73:
<  <  I do not believe we should speculate that Rav Kahana did not actually go
underneath Rav's bed, simply because examples can be found where Tanach
exaggerates a story.>  >

The reason I suggested the non-literal interpretation is not because
examples can be found of exaggeration--rather the reason I so suggested
is because as several posters pointed out that such activity (hiding under
someones intimacy bed to learn proper behavior) is totally contrary to
Halacha (ie. if someone asked permission to so learn we would deny him)

<  <  Rather, I think that the alternative offered by Prof. Hendel is still
worse in terms of what it implies concerning Rav himself. Perhaps we can
'understand Rav Kahana's feeling that he would never truly understand how
he was supposed to conduct himself with his wife otherwise -- but it
certainly does not make sense for a person on Rav's spiritual level (or
anyone who values his or her privacy) to make suggestions towards his wife
with someone else in the room.>  >

I agree with Rabbi Menken that suggesting that Rav was flirting with his
wife at the dinner table is not much of an improvement. But I suggested
that it was "low order inuendos"---e.g. He might have said "The meal is
delicious" and she might have e.g. blushed because she interpreted it to
refer say to how she was dressed (Thus the whole communication was implicit
not explicit).

In summary: The difficulty in this agaddah is that it is contrary to
halacha. I am simply trying to find a way to make it so consistent. I think
this is a proper approach.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
RHendel @ mcs drexel edu