Avodah Mailing List

Volume 02 : Number 017

Saturday, October 10 1998

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 15:30:35 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Re: Avodah V2 #16 Ethics & Halocho

     >>On the issue of whether an ethic exists outside halacha, Chazaon Ish 
     inEmunah U'Bitachon holds no, but clearly a strong case can be made 
     for sucha position (As D. Glassner has done). However, that in no way 
     impacts onthe objectivity of Chazal as legislators.  As a halachic jew 
     I must take uparms and kill the seven nations as appropriate, yet as a 
     humanist (were Ione), I would not do so with the same simcha shel 
     mitzva as netilat lulav."Mah Shechina omeret - kalani m'roshi", etc. 
     all for a hung sinner - thereis reflection and pause, whether because 
     of the Torah's emphsis on v'chaybahem, or because of a moral convction 
     that human life is scared, but thatdoes not serve to compromise our 
     sense of obligation.  The doctor who looksat a  test and discovers 
     incurable disease in a patient will certainly shedtears, but that in 
     no way prevents him/her from accurately and objectivelymaking the 
     painful diagnosis.
     - -Chaim B.<<
     I basically concur.  A chover wrote an article re: halocho and 
     homoseuxality.  Bacially, the halocho remains steadfast, our fealings 
     toward it might vary.  he also mentioned the case of Misas beis din.  
     A beis din might have had to execute someone, but did not necessarily 
     have to do so ENTHUSIASTICALLY.
     I think this is the key to understanding our conflicts between 
     humanism and Torah.  while it's true taht Avrohom was vayashkem 
     baboker, however, most of us would be hgihly reluctant to sacrifice a 
     child even al Pi hagevoru.  Nevertheless ALL halachi Jews would demand 
     so re: favorite pesuikm the same. All of us realzie taht every possuk 
     is katdosh, and that we humbly sbumit to haShem's will.  Neverthleesit 
     is only natural to feel more enthusiastic towards certain obligations 
     and less enthusiastic about others.  The main point is taht we comply 
     to the principle of following halocho.
     Now regarding feelings, this might be a good Haskofo matter.  Let me 
     say that Avrohom Ovinu did defend Sodom, so he was capable of voicing 
     some objection to simple Midas haDin.  And I think as children of 
     Avorhom Ovinu, it is legitimate to ALWAYS feel as rachmonim, bayshonim 
     and golei chasodim, and if THIS motivates us to feel like sparing 
     lives, then I don't have a problem with the feeling per se. I.e. it 
     can be defended.  Nevertheless, Shaul's feeling towards Agog was NOT a 
     rationaliztion for disobedince; and if having a negative feeling leads 
     to procrastination of a mitzov it might be questionable.  So IMHO 
     Shaul could have empathized with a fellow melech, yet still comply.
     I think one side of this argument AGAINST humanism is taht since the 
     retzon haShem is paramount, other concerns should be overriden 
     completely.  Others might object by saying that darchei noam should 
     lead us towards a more kindly application of halocho.
     Reflecting back to the original premise, Halocho has a cold legalistic 
     aspect; we can empathize with Agogo or not, but if he is chayaz misso 
     that's that.  The analogy to the surgeon makes a lot of sense; what 
     must be done must be done, good or bad bedside manner notwithstanding.
     Shabbat shalom
     Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 15:42:17 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Re: Avodah V2 #15 Mesorah, halocho and tehcnology

          NO we are in the throes of the opposite; the lure of hard-headed 
          scientific analysis with regard to halacho. 
           Let's say we invented a time mahcine and proved beyond a shadow 
     of a 
           doubt that during the time of the Mishno everyon wore Rabbein 
           Tefillin (see below)  Would that verifyiable and dublicatable 
           discovery influence OUR mesorah?  IMHO  no way.  
          Richard Wolpoe
     Would you feel the same way if we unearthed ancient validated texts 
     from thetime of the mishna proving this?  What about changes in 
     rishonim based on moreauthentic texts or newly discovered rishonim or 
     achronim?  Is this really atechnology issue or a historical mesora 
     issue(ie its not accidental that ourmesora has come down the way it 
     Moadim Lsimcha
     Joel Rich<<
     You score valid points.
     Every hard and fast rule has exceptions including this one! <smile>
     I cannot hope to argue each case individually.  I am merely 
     re-iterating a princimple, that once something is paskened lehalocho, 
     it takes on a life of its own and original intent doesn't ipso facto 
     overturn it.  I was talking with a fellow of this list: what if we 
     could tehcnologically posit the thesi that the internet is the 
     equivalent of Masiin Msoso and therefore sfeiko deyoma is a thing of 
     the past - EVEN without relying on a fixed calendar - becasue we all 
     ahve INSTANTANEOUS access to yerusholyim?  That fact itsel, is not 
     enough, Yom Tov shein NOW has a life of its own.  I think that a valid 
     Sanhedrin might repeal it or institue it for different reasons than 
     sfeiko deyomo.  Meanwhile we're kind of stuck.
     I think the Gemoro in Shabbos re: Rabbi eliezer, etc. is similar.  You 
     cannot overturn a halocho when paskeend even with mountains of 
     contradictory evidnece, cause you udnermind the system.  If you will, 
     the laborarotry is a halachic process because of Lo bashomaym he.  Now 
     if a Sanhedrin looked into laboratory evdience and re-darshaned - 
     that's fine.
     Which heakens backto chasimas hasmishno.  To me the Ikkur Golus we 
     have is the rigidity of halocho withou the Beis haMikdosh and lishkas 
     hagozis.  I think that a really informed Sanhderin that could combined 
     lomdus, mesroah, with tehcnology could really amke halachi Judaism far 
     more dynamic than we can even fathom.  The reason we feel stuck is 
     that we are lacking a Beis din hagadol and have pledged alleginace to 
     Mishon, Gemor, and shulchan Aruch in our sojourns.  And they serverd 
     us VERY well. BH we have the wisdom of thousands of years.  I think if 
     the late R. Moshe Feinstein were  Nossi of a bona fide sanhedrin, his 
     lmuds and persuavieness, combined with the authroity of a real beis 
     din could have rectified those spotty points in halocho liek how to 
     tie techeles.
     Moadim lesimcho
     Richard Wolpoe      

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Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 14:51:14 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Avodah V2 #16 Ethics & Halocho

In a message dated 98-10-09 14:37:28 EDT, you write:

      I think one side of this argument AGAINST humanism is taht since the 
      retzon haShem is paramount, other concerns should be overriden 
      completely.  Others might object by saying that darchei noam should 
      lead us towards a more kindly application of halocho.
      Reflecting back to the original premise, Halocho has a cold legalistic 
      aspect; we can empathize with Agogo or not, but if he is chayaz misso 
      that's that.  The analogy to the surgeon makes a lot of sense; what 
      must be done must be done, good or bad bedside manner notwithstanding.
      Shabbat shalom
      Rich Wolpoe
It seems la"d that the first paragraph does not represent mutually exclusive
opinions. My understanding is that it's a given that ratzon hashem is
paramount-the challenge is to understand exactly what the ratzon hashem is. In
doing so we employ halachic principles including dracheha darcei noam on a
macro basis which, in some cases, may yield a more "humanistic" result-but its
the result that we believe to be the ratzon hashem.

Shabbat Shalom
Joel Rich

Shabbat Shalom
Joel Rich

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Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 15:59:05 -0400
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Re: Avodah V2 #15 Chlha Moed & Shaving

     Just another (obvious) Point.
     Several hundred yeasr ago, no one would give a heter for shaving 
     (except those know to the Gemoro) because "in general" those who 
     shaved id so about once a week (lechovo Shabbos)
     Now we have a NEW reality, frumme Yidn who are clean-shaven and shave 
     daily.  Accorring to some, it is Poshut that they may shave on Chol 
     haMoed (as long as they shaved Ereve ha Chag).  Why? there shouldn't 
     be a knas.  The only reason not to shave is in effect obsolete.
     On the other hand, It seems clearly from Halachic literature that it's 
     been ossur for hundreds or thousands of years.  There is no Mesorah 
     (taht I'm aware of) or Minhog to shave.  There is Halachic precedent 
     to prohibit it
     Again, does modern reality (similar to technology) get to undo the 
     prevailing halocho. I see no reason taht a Godol should refrain from 
     voicing his opinion; but lemaaseh, if our current system is loyal to 
     minhog, mesorah and not jsut analysis, it reamains an academic opnion 
     but no a lemaaseh opinion. (with of course certain shaas hadechak 
     excpetions that a poseik can use in a pinch).
     Again, if a valid Sanhdrin were around it could say:
     The ikar ha din is lchovod yomtov.  For daily shaves, it's no gnai to 
     shave on Yomtov
     it coudl say, the ikkar is to avoid shaving, and excpet for anusim 
     (ovel, released prinsoners) all should adhere to not shaving lechovod 
     Moadim lesimcho
     Richard Wolpoe     

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Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 15:34:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@IDT.NET>
Re: Avodah V2 #16

> ------------------------------
> Date: Fri, 09 Oct 1998 11:58:10 -0400
> From: David Glasner <DGLASNER@FTC.GOV>
> Subject: inappropriate statement
> Elie Ginsparg wrote:
> <<<
> On Wed, 7 Oct 1998, David Glasner wrote:
>  But I am afraid that I must also plead guilty to having
> > least favorite p'sukim in Chumash as well.  I generally try to avoid
> > mention of the p'sukim mandating genocide of the Canaanites, Hittites,
> > Emorites, et al.  I also think that we should narrow the application of the
> > injunction lo yavo mamzer b'kahal hashem to the maximum extent
> > possible.  And as I recall R. Akiva and R. Tarfon state that if they had
> > been judges when the death penalty was still in force, no one would
> > ever have been executed.  Chazal apparently were also uncomfortable
> > enough with the p'sukim of ben sorer u'moreh that they interpreted them
> > in a way that made it impossible that the prescribed punishment ever did
> > or would actually be applied.
> Unless I'm missing something you're post gives me the impression that what
> YOU think is good and right has some importance in the world of Torah. Of
> course this is incorrect, the torah sets the dtandards of what is emes.
> I'm sorry that you don't like the pasukim that tell us to kill the 7
> nations but this was the will of Hashem so it's correct---i'm not sure why
> you think you have a right to pass judgement of the will of HAshem.
> Furthermore the implication that Chazal made drashas to serve their own
> conscience is absurd and completely untrue. Chazal had mesorah from Moshe
> as well as the ability to decide truth objectively based on the 13
> principles---what they felt was right or wrong didn't enter the picture.
> Just because you have a problem in that you believe that you have a right
> to judge Hashems morals isn't a license to project that on
> Chazal, Chazal  were men of complete emes. Your post is very disturbing
> because the next step is to say I don't know why women shouldn't be
> witnesses, I'll think I'll have them sign on a get. Then you'll really
> have
> to deal with "lo yavo mamzer bkahal":)
> >>>
> Well if the idea of committing mass murder on thousands upon thousands
> of defenseless men, women, children, and babies gives you not the
> slightest pause, you are certainly a better person than I am.  But I

===> You might be interested in how the Malbim discusses the case of
Sha'ul and Amalek.  He notes (I believe) that the term used was "Lo
Sachmol"...  and the terms such as "Lo Serachem" (for example) were not
used.  The reason is that OTHER terms imply an emotional reaction and the
Navi could not command Sha'ul as far as emotions are concerned.  However,
the use of Lo Sachmol refers to *Intellectual* "compassion".  THAT the
Navi could command.  A person cannot intellectually pity someone that G-d
has said not to pity.  I think the same matter is in this case.  One can
feel *emotional* sadness at the massacre of the 7 nations (especially as
it could have been avoided by simply accepting the Noachide Laws and
rejecting Avodah Zarah) however, avoiding the verses of the Torah seems to
be beyond teh "emotional" .....

> admit that it gives me a great deal of pause, and I categorically reject
> the idea that it is asur or treif or apikorsus even to give voice to
> one˘s misgivings and inner conflicts about such issues.  And just t
> keep the record straight I did not claim any right to pass judgment on
> the Ribbono shel Olam when I said that I had difficulty with those
> p˘sukim, though you seem quite willing to pass judgment on me.  And
> excuse me, but it is simply not correct to say that what anyone --
> forget about me -- thinks about what is good and right has no importance 
> in Torah.  A s˘vara is as powerful as the scripture.  Chazal deduce the
> obligation not to be killed rather than to kill an innocent person from
> a pure s˘vara (Is your blood any redder than the other person˘s?) not

===> Actually, that may not be entirely true.  While the S'vara is
advanced in the Gemara, there is an extensive discussion in Acharonim as
to how "complete" it is (apparently [and I have NOT seen this] the
Yerushalmi DOES provide a "scriptural" approach and not simply a s'vara).
Also, I know of NO instance of a s'vara *overriding* a "scripture".  Thus,
it may not be at all accurate to state that a s'vara is "as powerful"..

> from the thirteen midot or from any tradition from Moshe.   (I am writing
> this cold, so I apologize in advance if I have misrepresented the
> relevant sources.)   If there are no standards of right and wrong
> independent of the Torah, how can one  make any sense of the 
> notion of lifnim m˘sharet ha-din or the idea of darchei shalom?  Does
> the halachah require you, for example to prevent starvation, to eat
> human flesh which involves no issur d˘oraita before eating n˘veilot and
> treifot which does?

===> That appears to be an incorrect assertion.  The Halacha of Lifnim
Mishurat Hadin is based upon various verses and not simply a s'vara.
Darchei Shalom -- outside of the Eivah aspect [which is a matter of
pikuach nefesh] -- is likely based upon a verse, as well.  The implication
is that the basis for these "manners of conduct" is NOT independant of
Torah at all.  The question of "independant standards of right and wrong"
has been discussed elsewhere (I believe that Shalom carmi had an article
about it).  And, it is a complicated matter --- but the "proof" that you
bring is not significant since the Gemara appears to link the matter to
various verses.

> If Chazal never consulted their own consciences, were men of complete
> emes, whose standards are completely established in the Torah, and if
> they relied only on traditions from Moshe and the thirteen midot, how is
> it possible that they ever disagreed?  Why did R. Akiva and R. Tarfon 

==> disagreements among Chazal do NOT appear to have anything to do with
"not consulting" the conscience.  The Rambam talks about the development
of Machlokes and there is no intimation that this is a matter of

> say that if they had been judges no one would have ever been executed
> while R. Shimon b. Gamliel replied critically that if they had done so,
> they would have caused murderers to multiply?  If Chazal were totally

===> The point was that one could "use" the Halacha in one or more
different "manners".  Based upon r. Akiva's great knowledge of torah, he
could always "use" the halacha to free the convict.  Note that R. Shimon
b. Gamliel does NOT state that R. Akiva was halchically incorrect -- only
that "using" the Halacha in such a manner would have counterproductive
results for the society.  In this case, there is no evidence that there
was a question of "independent judgement of right and wrong" as you seem
to assert.  And, I believe that BOTH are totally subservient to the 
will of the Ribbono shel Olam.  Rather, it is simply what is the more
appropriate manner to apply the halacha.

> subservient to the will of the Ribbono shel Olam and exercised no
> independent judgment about right and wrong, how did they dare to
> disregard the bat kol that announced that the halachah followed the
> opinion of R. Eliezer and, instead, determined that the halachah accords
> with the opinion of R. Joshua, and then, as if that weren˘t enough,
> excommunicated R. Eliezer when he refused to recant his own opinion
> which
> the Ribbono shel Olam had explicitly confirmed?  And how do you explain
> the final 
> response of the Ribbono shel Olam (Bava Metzia 58-59)
> "hiech v˘amar ˇnitzhuni banai, nitzhuni banai˘"?
===> I would suggest that you review the Maharsha on that gemara before
making [what appear to be] rash statements.  The Maharsha makes clear that
the Bat Kol was NOT a valid proof in any event for R. Eliezer.  It is
quite clear that the Ribbono shel Olam did NOT "explicitly" confirm that
opinion and there is actually a non-trivial discussion as to why R.
eliezer did not "recant" in the face of the halacha of "Acharei Rabim..."
Also, note that elsewhere Tosafot discusses whether R. Yehoshua disregards
ALL forms of bat kol or only some...

While the general question of "independant standards" is an important one,
I do not beleive that you do it justice -- in part because of your
emotional reactions to certain aspects of Torah.


> David Glasner
> dglasner@ftc.gov

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Date: Sat, 10 Oct 1998 20:17:01 +0100
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Totally different sheva brochas question

Does anybody know what happens with sheva brochas if the chossen-kala
cross the international date line?

In relation to other forms of counting, it is generally accepted that,
as soon as you land, you adopt the counting of the place you have
arrived in.  So that, if you leave Los Angeles on Sunday night, and
arrive in Australia in time for shachris on Tuesday, Australian time
(but Monday, LA time), you daven shachris as per Tuesday, and then keep
Shabbas on Saturday, etc.  The same thing if you fly in the opposite

But these are general chiyuvim.  What about sheva brochas?  Does that go
according to the count of the chossen-kala?  How about a bris?  What if
the baby was born on Friday in LA, but flew to Australia on Sunday, so
that what is Friday according to the count of the baby is actually
Shabbas where he is now? Has anybody seen anything written (or spoken)
on this?

Moed tov


Chana/Heather Luntz

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