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Volume 02 : Number 007

Thursday, October 1 1998

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 17:21:24 -0500 (CDT)
From: Cheryl Maryles <C-Maryles@neiu.edu>
Re: chumros

Thank you for bringing up the point, you seem to be right, G-d willing
I'll go back to the sugya and see if I can find an answer
Elie Ginsparg
p.s. keep me posted if you find anything

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Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 19:50:40 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Succoh on Shimini and Litvish Oxymorons

In a message dated 98-09-28 17:04:43 EDT, you write:

<<  I
 haven't yet figured out a much more satisfactory resolution for my, lichoroh,
 inconsistency except to note that this time its my ox being gored, and
 something about the hobgoblins of small minds (with absolutely no disrespect
 intended to the very admirably consistent R. Broyde).  
 Mechy Frankel				frankel@hq.dswa.mil
Just for clarification, I believe the correct quote is "A foolish consistency
is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers
and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. "
R.W. Emerson

I would emphasize "foolish" as the operative word.
Gmar chatima tova
Joel Rich

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Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 23:49:27 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Ponim Chadashos

Mechi Frankel thinks that Eli Clark got the better of me in the discussion
of women as PC. Of course, while I admit that Eli won the first bout, I
think that my final perspective was the correct one, but, I am of course
nogei'ah ba'davar.

But, this much I think, in the wake of Mechi's comment, needs to be
clarified. Our shakla v'tarya here is largely, if not completely,
theoretical. To the best of my limited knowledge - and I will be glad if
someone disproves me - there is not a single eida or kehilla among
Orthodoxy that has a mesorah to consider women as PC halacha l'ma'aseh,
the Chasam Sofer's remarks notwithstanding.

Therefore, unless one or more of the Gedolei Hora'ah (names happily
furnished upon request :-) ) rules in this vein, I see no way to introduce
such a leniency in Hilchos Berachos to the world of practical halacha.

Gmar Chasima Tova,

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

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Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 09:11:17 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@netmedia.net.il>
Re: Ashkenaz-Sefarad split

Clark, Eli wrote:

> On the issue of the decline in Geonic authority, non-Artscroll
> historians have attributed it to many factors, including the political
> disorder in Bavel and a spate of mediocre roshei yeshiva leading the
> yeshivot in Bavel.

In all fairness to Artscroll - they do in fact discuss in detail the above issues.
I did not mention it because it was not relevant to my point.

                                             G'mar Chasima Tova
                                              Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 09:57:11 EDT
From: EDTeitz@aol.com
Re: Or LaGoyim

Joel Rich pointed out:

If we accept that the ultimate goal, as we articulated in our prayers last
week, is that "vyomer kol asher nshama bapo..."then it seems reasonable that
we should play some part in this in an active way if possible

If we look to the beginning of the paragraph that you quoted, you will see my
point.  We ask HaShem to impose His presence on the nations of the world (
U'v'cheyn teyn Pachd'cha ).  This is not our direct task.

Eliyahu Teitz

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Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 10:59:42 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Or LaGoyim

In a message dated 98-09-29 09:57:54 EDT, you write:

 Joel Rich pointed out:
 If we accept that the ultimate goal, as we articulated in our prayers last
 week, is that "vyomer kol asher nshama bapo..."then it seems reasonable that
 we should play some part in this in an active way if possible
 If we look to the beginning of the paragraph that you quoted, you will see my
 point.  We ask HaShem to impose His presence on the nations of the world (
 U'v'cheyn teyn Pachd'cha ).  This is not our direct task.
 Eliyahu Teitz
That's why I said it seems reasonable. However, how do you then understand our
weekly "kadsheinu bmitzvotecha vten chelkainu..." in terms of our direct task?

Gmar chatima tova
Joel Rich

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Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 14:50:10 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Pshat vs. Drush

     There have been a number of discssions among friends re: some of these 
     Shmos 34, 7 vnakeh lo yenakeh,  seems to me al pi dikduk that the lo 
     goes on both halves and that this is an emphatic lo yenakeh - and that 
     the nakeh we use in the 13 middos is al pi drush only...
     Similarly in Shomos 23 2 that in context the pshat of Ahcarey Rabim 
     lehatos is actually part of lo sihyeh ahcarie Rabim leroos; and that 
     we shiould not following the rabim for ra, and that the acharei Rabim 
     lehatos as applied to a Beis din is alos al pi drush, but no al pi 
     Rabbosai, your comments please
     Gmar Tov
     Richard Wolpoe 

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Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 16:45:45 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Our Brothers

Quote from R. Aharon Lichtenstein

"Nor do I share the glee that some feel over the prospective demise of the
competition. Surely, we have many sharp differences with the conservative and
reform movements and these should not be sloughed over or blurred. However, we
also share many values with them and this ,too, should not be obscurred .
Their disappearance might strenghten us in some respects, but would,
unquestionably , weaken us in others. Can anyone responsible state that it is
better for a marginal Jew in Dallas or Dubuque to lose his religious identity
altogether than to drive to his temple?" 

Gmar Chatima Tova for all klal yisrael
Joel Rich

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Date: Thu, 01 Oct 1998 13:31:54 -0400
From: David Glasner <DGLASNER@FTC.GOV>
authority of the Mishnah

Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
David Glasner wrote:

> I am glad to see that you have read the Dor Revi'i, but please don't put
> words into his mouth.  He registers amazement that Rashi in the cited
> references seems to suggest that the Mishnah was not written down
> until after Rebi's death.  Such a view is contrary to the widespread
> of the Rishonim, especially Rambam, and the Geonim that Rebi was the
> "author" of the Mishnah.  So I don't see why you chose to
> mischaracterize his amazement in the way you did.

The Dor Revi'is thesis is that the writing down of the Mishna created its
That means whenever it was officially published and available in Rebbe's
standardized edition at the local bookstore it was beyond debate. Rashi -
understood by the Dor Revi'i and  others is saying that despite the fact
that the
authorized edition of the Mishna was created by Rebbe it was not
actually written
down until much later. Thus it is a direct contradiction of the Dor Revi'is
and he acknowledged it was a problem for his theory. I was not
mischaracterizing his
understanding of Rashi!

I agree.  You did not mischaracterize his understanding of Rashi.  What I
had in mind when I referred to your mischaracterization of his
amazement was your remark that the Dor Revi'i "notes with amazement
that Rashi apparently did not agree with him!"  [your exclamation point] 
He was amazed not that Rashi seemed to disagree with him but that be
was disagreeing with what was and remains the conventional wisdom
concerning the Mishnah:  that the canonical version of the Mishnah was
"produced" by Rebi.  The conventional wisdom may be, and often is,
wrong, but whatever the merits of  the Dor Revi'i's position, I don't think
that your gratuitous dig was called for.

You have not addressed my other evidence that the Mishna did  not
authoritative at a specific point in time. The fact that Rav and Rav Chiya -
in the
years after the publication of the Mishna disagreed with it.

Let's assume that you're right and Rebi didn't produce a written version
of the Mishnah.  The basic point still stands.  Rebi mobilized the great
majority of the sages of his generation in a vast undertaking:  to produce
from the many scattered oral traditions and private manuscripts an
authoritative collection of Mishnayot roughly organized by topic.  Implicit
in this project was the expectation that the project would bring a kind of
closure.  Thus the term, which even Rashi uses, hatimat ha-Mishnah. 
Now even if Rebi did not himself produce a written version of the
Mishnah (the logical conclusion of the project that he himself, with the
agreement and cooperation of all the sages of his generation, initiated
and directed), that would just mean the editorial process was not
completed to his satisfaction in his lifetime and that the process had to be
completed under the direction of his successors.  Moreover, as the
Mishnah was being edited, a vast amount of excluded material, the
beraitot and the midrishei halachah, was left over.  Thus, Rebi Hiya, Rebi
Oshiya and Rebi Abba (Rav) and others initiated (undoubtedly at Rebi's
direction) a corollary process of editing the beraitot and midrishei
halachah into the Tosefta, the Sifri, Sifra, Mechilta and other collections
of Tannaitic material.  Many beraitot were never included in final editions
and are cited in the Talmud only on an ad hoc basis.  So, regardless of
when the Mishnah was finally written down, the position of the Dor Revi'i
dovetails quite nicely with that of the Keseph Mishnah in that the editorial
process that led (ultimately) to the writing down of the Mishnah and the
other Tannaitic traditions reflected the consensus of Rebi and all the
Sages of his generation that the time had come to bring to closure the
creative process reflected in the Tannaitic traditions.  That agreement
ipso facto implied that subsequent generations would not, except
perhaps a little bit around the edges, be able to change the halachic
consensus reflected in the Tannaitic sources.  And because Rebi was
so heavily involved in choosing which traditions to incorporate into the
Mishnah, the authority of the Mishnah generally exceeds that of any
other Tannaitic source even though there may be some exceptions (as
Mechy Frankel observes) to that principle.  I don't mean to say that one
could not take a different view of the authority of the Mishnah from this,
but it seems to me that this one is quite reasonable and not refuted by
other evidence.  Certainly the authority of Rav and Rebi Hiya to argue
with Tannaim (while only grudgingly recognized) does not refute this,
because they (and perhaps a few others) were active collaborators
with Rebi in the redaction of the Mishnah and other Tannaitic traditions
and their opinions are quoted in beraitot, so that they literally do have the
status of Tannaim.  See the article on Amoraim in the Encylopedia
Talmudit (vol. 2) which cites the position of the Keseph Mishnah as
authoritative and cites Tosafot Yoma 3b (u'b'kamma m'komot aheirot) for
the proposition that Amoraim may not dispute Tannaim. 

There seems to be no statement from Chazal about the nature of the
Mishna. The source of the authority of the Mishna is based entirely upon
conjecture and inferences. In particular that the gemora assumes the
superiority of the Tannaic sources over later ones. The Kesef Mishna
"guesses" that is was based upon acceptance The Chazon Ish asserts
that it was a simple recognition of the superiority of the Tanaim over the
later generations. Rav Elchonon says that is not sufficient because
exception such as Rav prove that there was not an absolute
discontinuity between the Tannaim and Amoraim so there must have
been an acceptance not to argue. R' Lampel suggests that the Amoraim
were afraid to argue with Tanaic sources which contained Halacha
L'Moshe m'Sinai and they were unsure which statements were which.

I reiterate that the Dor Revi'is position is less plausible because it is the
only one which is contradicted by at least some of the data. The
authority of the Mishna is nowhere stated to be the result of its writing
down. The fact that Amoraim after Rebbe did argue with Tannaic source
undermines the assertion that the mere writing down gave it its authority.

I don't see that any evidence that you offer refutes the Dor Revi'i's
position any more than the others.  That the authority of the Mishna is
nowhere stated to be the result of its having been written down is no
more of a refutation of the Dor Revi'i than the lack of evidence that the
Amoraim declined to differ with the Tannaim because they recognized
their inferiority refutes the Chazon Ish.  Perceived inferiority is not a
sufficient reason for deciding halacha.  The Chachamim did not pasken
like Rebi Meir because they could not fathom the depth of his reasoning
(lo yardu l'sof da'ato).  The Sanhedrin followed the opinion of Beit Hillel
against Beit Shammai even though Beit Shammai were acknowledged to
be more brilliant though less numerous than Beit Hillel.  The Sanhedrin
followed the opinion of R. Joshua against that of R. Eliezer even though
R. Eliezer's position was explicitly and miraculously supported by the
Ribbono Shel Olam.  

I think I've gone on long enough (some might accuse me of
understatement), though I reserve the right to respond specifically to
Mechy Frankel's citations in response to my query about instances of
Amoraic disputes with the Mishnah after we resolve some problems with
his mareh m'komot.

David Glasner

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