Avodah Mailing List
Volume 02 : Number 079
Tuesday, December 15 1998
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 06:57:53 -0500
Subject: Haamidu Talmidim Harbei
Dr. Allswang writes:
>>The glosses of the Yaavetz(RYE, if you wish) on Avos Dr Noson makes a point
that even Beis Shamai when he limited teaching to ashirim, was referring to
baalei midos of high character, who were happy with their lot, not the wealthy
Does RYE disucss how it happened that his contepmorary Hillel was kept out of
the BM and had to hear Torah via the skyight? Was Hillel's poverty one of lack
of Torah Ashirus?
Go to top.
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 10:15:00 -0500
From: "Clark, Eli" <clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM>
Subject: Yosef and his brothers
R. Yitzchok Zirkind writes:
>In general according to many Yosef had a din of Rodeif (or perhaps Mossur
>which is the same Geder, the fact that Rashi (37:2 D"H Es Debosom Ro'oh)
>brings 3 things makes him a Muchzok, nonetheless they wanted to avoid direct
>killing, as to a BN in a Gram, see Rambam Hil. Rotzeach 2:2, which is Mashma
>he has to tie him down, (even though that by putting Yosef into a pit of
>snakes it is pretty much the same, it is still something that Al Kol Ponim a
>Yid is not killed in Beis Din for, but in any case in Pshutoy Shel Mikroh
>did not see the snakes).
Two points. In peshto shel mikra there were no snakes at all. (Also,
in peshuto shel mikra Yosef was neither a rodef nor a moser.)
Regarding moser: Having recently glanced at the sugya of moser, I don't
understand how it could apply to Yosef. Fundamentally, a moser is one
who turns over a Jew (or his property, according to Rambam followed by
the Shulhan Arukh HM 388) to a non-Jewish authority (See Bava Metzia
83b, Nidah 61a,and mefarshim al atar; Yerushalmi Terumot 8:4.) The
teshuvot on the subject include ShuT Maharah Or Zarua 142, Shut haBah
43, Havvot Yair 146 and She'ilat Yaavetz II, no. 9. In the case of
Yosef and his brothers, is there some non-Jewish authority he was
reporting them to? Alternatively, if we are categorizing the benei
Yaakov as benei No'ah, is there any source indicating that mesirah is
prohibited to a non-Jew!? Could someone familiar with this shitah
provide me some enlightenment, as well as some sources?
Kol tuv and Hanukkah same'ah,
Go to top.
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 11:24:53 -0500
From: "Noah Witty" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Moshe Rabbeinu and TIME Magazine
I think that most of what we might want to know of Moshe Rabbeinu and his
life's work has been very well described before TIME magazine saw fit to
make him a cover story. One might start with chumash, a few references in
Na"CH. and go through shas and midrashim. Good luck.
Go to top.
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 11:24:58 EST
Subject: Re: Chanuka lights
Concerning, in general, the notion in halacha that we light inside:
I am wondering how many of our chaverim on the list light outdoors presently?
The sakana aspect is significantly reduced...after all most of us light at a
window or some other opening facing the street, so why not actually outside?
Jewish Educational Center
Go to top.
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 11:42:57 -0500
From: "Ari Z. Zivotofsky" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Chumros
For those of us not fortunate to get the JO, do have have an electronic
version you can send us?
Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer wrote:
> The current (Dec. '98) issue of The Jewish Observer contains an essay by
> myself entitled "Good Chumros?" I invite our chevra to read and comment!
> A Freilichen Chanuka (I know, simcha is not necessarily required - be
> happy anyway),
> Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
> Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
> firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila
Go to top.
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 12:40:02 -0600 (CST)
From: Cheryl Maryles <C-Maryles@neiu.edu>
Subject: Re: Moshe Rabbeinu and TIME Magazine
In another words, I didn't miss much---E.G.
On Mon, 14 Dec 1998, Noah Witty wrote:
> I think that most of what we might want to know of Moshe Rabbeinu and his
> life's work has been very well described before TIME magazine saw fit to
> make him a cover story. One might start with chumash, a few references in
> Na"CH. and go through shas and midrashim. Good luck.
> Noach Witty
Go to top.
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 17:15:21 -0500
From: Joel Margolies <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: chanuka:Psak & Mishna Berura
This is actually an older machlokes than R' Moshe and the Chafetz
Chaim. I believe the Chemed Moshe also paskens that one may make a
brocho if he is the only one who will see the menorah (because pirsumei
nisah is a component of the lighting - but not the only thing).
I have headr his view quoted as Halacha L'Ma'aseh as well.
Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer wrote:
> I think multiple large sized sledgehammers are required to turn an "ein
> mochin b'yado" into Halacha l'Ma'aseh.
Go to top.
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 18:22:37 -0600 (CST)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Chumrah (fwd)
Here it is, courtesy of R' Micha's conversion.
Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
The Big Question
Do you merit a greater portion in the World to Come if you always reads the
Shma before the Magen Avrohom's deadline? Do you generate more nachas
ru'ach for HaKadosh Baruch Hu if you keep your refrigerator on a Shabbos
clock? If the answer to these questions is an unqualified "yes," then why
are we not machmir every conceivable chumra possible?
Before we continue, let us clarify that the converse of a chumra is not
a kulla. Halacha recognizes many instances in which kullos are justified:
"hefsed merubeh," "she'as hadechak," "kavod Shabbos," etc. However, these are
not, for our purposes here, the alternatives to chumros. The alternative is
"baseline" halachic observance. While the definition of such a standard
is iffy, let us say that it consists of a standard of halachic behavior
endorsed by: a) many great Poskim who have weighed in on the issue; and, b)
prevalent practice among many observant Jews. Are there Unwarranted Chumros?
Of course, chumros must be warranted. Chazal warn us not to prohibit things
or activities arbitrarily:
Rabbi Eliezer said: Just as allowing that which is prohibited is forbidden,
so prohibiting that which is allowed is also forbidden. (Yerushalmi Terumos
Many writers have attempted to identify sociological reasons why, in their
perception, our generation has a more stringent attitude toward Halacha -
is more machmir - than our parents' and grandparents' generations. Their
various theories may or may not constitute insightful analyses of contemporary
conditions. They do nothing, however, to answer the questions that we posed
at the outset.
Some chumros may be sociologically motivated. Some people may be machmir
unthinkingly. These may not be the "right" motivations for adopting a
chumra. We, however, want to understand what a "right" motivation might be,
and, will a chumra adopted as a result truly enhance one's Avodas Hashem?
Chumros for the Thinking Person
In broad terms, we can identify four categories of chumros:
1. Based on halachic issues.
2. Based on ahavas Hashem.
3. Based on yiras Hashem.
4. Based on separation from gashmiyus.
The first category is halachic in nature: A great Posek reviews an issue
in depth and comes to the conclusion that Halacha definitively follows the
stringent opinion in a certain area.
For example, for centuries most of Ashkenazic Jewry was lenient concerning
yoshon and chodosh.When Rabbi Chaim and Rabbi Velvel Soloveitchik zt"l
revisited the issue, however, their analysis led them to conclude that
the prevailing practice was incorrect, and that following the stringent
opinion in this area was necessary. A chumra arrived at by this process is
inescapable. But very few of us are equipped to engage in this process. It
is one reserved for Gedolei Torah at the highest echelon. Often, Poskim
who have engaged in such comprehensive reviews and analyses are loath to
impose the standards implicated by their conclusions on the masses of Am
Yisroel. Their reasons may be based on the principle of eilu va'eilu divrei
Elokim chayim.They may, however, advise their talmidim and followers of
their conclusions, and direct them to adhere to these rulings.
As these talmidim and followers would then be bound to follow the stringent
opinion of their Posek, to be perfectly precise, for them this mode of
behavior is no longer a "chumra." If your halachic authority has ruled in
accordance with the more stringent opinion in an issue, this becomes for
you normative Halacha. To many beyond your circle, however, this mode of
behavior will still be an apparent chumra, as their halachic authority may
not accept the more stringent opinion.
(We should note that rabbinic authorities, even to the present day, may issue
guidelines and enactments - takkanos - that are not properly classified as
chumros. The Chazon Ish zt"l (Orach Chaim 52:6) understood the prohibition
to use an umbrella on Shabbos as a modern day rabbinic enactment, based on
their mandate to preserve the public aura of Shabbos.)
The next two categories of chumros are best understood by introducing and
exploring them together. They are "chumros me'yirah" and "chumros me'ahava"
- chumros adopted out of fear (of Hashem or the defiling qualities of the
sin itself) or love (of Hashem or Am Yisroel).
The Shelah HaKadosh zt"l (vol. 1, Bais Dovid, Bais Chochma) attempts to
explain the phenomenon of ever-more chumros. He writes that as time goes by
there are many more enticements. The power of the yetzer hara becomes ever
greater. Society "devolves," and spiritual danger increases. It becomes
imperative, therefore, to introduce more safeguards. Halacha may not even
mandate these chumros. Any boundary, however, may be positive. The Nesivos
Shalom (Kovetz Sichos p. 16), in the name of the Toras Avos, cites the verse
regarding Bila'am and his donkey, which found itself standing in the path
among the vineyards bound in narrow confines by a "gader mizeh v'gader mizeh"
- a fence on either side - that pressed the leg of Bil'am. The Nesivos Shalom
interprets the pasuk as an allusion to the necessity to impose gedarim on
oneself to keep on the straight and narrow path:
For when there are boundaries and limitations on all sides they press and
wear away the habits ["hergel' - a play on the Hebrew word "regel" - leg] of
Bil'am. He [the Toras Avos] explains, that there are boundaries and limitations
meant so that one who learns Torah remains free of inclinations and negative
thoughts, and that there are others meant so that one who involves himself in
matters of this world should not become too materialistic ["megusham"]. The
boundaries and limitations in the vein of "gader mizeh v'gader mizeh" that
surround each step direct the individual in the proper path.
The Maharal (Be'er HaGolah 1:4, d.h. HaRevi'i) explains the Gemara that states
that rabbinic enactments are more precious before Hashem than Torah laws. He
notes that the hallmark of love is the quest to give to one's beloved.The
Michtav Me'Eliyahu (vol. 5, p. 234) cites the pesukim in Yeshaya (58:13-14)
that admonish the Jewish people to keep Shabbos properly. The stress in
those pesukim is on
Kavod Shabbos. Rabbi Dessler asks the obvious question: Surely, were it up
to us, we would stress the prohibitions of Shabbos and their fortification -
not the honor of Shabbos? We must preface Rabbi Dessler's answer with the
comment of the Rambam (Peirush HaMishnayos) on the well-known mishna at the
end of Makkos:
Rabbi Chananya ben Akashya said: Hashem wanted to enhance the merit of the
Jewish people. It is for that reason that he granted them many mitzvos.
A "conventional" understanding might be that Hashem wants to reward us as
much as possible, and that is why he gave us so many opportunities to fulfill
mitzvos. The Rambam, however, says that to qualify for "entry" to the World
to Come a "candidate" must have fulfilled at least one mitzva lishma during
his or her lifetime. This is a very difficult task, as lishma is not a simple
matter to attain.Rabbi Chananya ben Akashya's meaning is that it was to make
that difficult task more feasible that Hashem gave us so many opportunities
to complete it successfully, by giving us so many mitzva opportunities.
Rabbi Dessler explains that lishma is a critical prerequisite for Olam HaBa
because the World to Come is, by its very nature, a world of lishma. The
characteristic of Olam HaBa is "l'hisa'neg al ziv
ha'Shechina" - to enjoy the transcendent radiance of the Shechina. Only if
that is meaningful to an individual is there a point to that individual's
presence in the World to Come. It is, says Rabbi Dessler, the Oneg Shabbos -
that is one sixtieth of the World to Come - that is the lishma that is the
barometer of one's Shabbos.
Rabbi Dessler goes on to explain the concept of hiddur mitzva in this vein:
If you buy a more expensive esrog to take pride in it Sukkos morning that
is not a valid reason for hiddur mitzva. However, if you spend more on an
esrog as an expression of your love for Hashem that is a "chumra me'ahava":
This is also the definition of "hiddur mitzva." A hiddur mitzva does not mean
"a little more mitzva." It is, rather, a higher level in one's appreciation
of a mitzva in one's heart. If we have not reached such a level internally,
of what benefit is our hiddur?
A noteworthy example of "chumra me'ahava" based behavior may be found in
the regulations set by the Ramchal zt"l for his group of disciples. Among
the seven enactments were:
All the reward for all of their mitzvos and good deeds was to be given as a
gift to all Klal Yisroel, with the intent to be "gomel chesed" (so to speak)
to the Shechina.
Any mitzva performed by any one of the group was as if done in the name of
the entire group. They accepted upon themselves to conduct themselves with
great love toward each other and to accept rebukes from each other with
total love and no anger at all.
No chumra nor minhag b'Yisroel was to be disregarded.
There are dangers in both kinds of chumros. Rabbi Yeruchom Levovitz zt"l
(Da'as Torah, Bereishis p. 19) reminds us of the exchange between the nachash
and Chava in Gan Eden. Chava embellished the command of Hashem not to eat from
the Tree of Knowledge with a prohibition to touch the tree. The Avos d'Rabbi
Nossonattributes this "chumra" to Adam and says that from here we see the
danger in adding on stringencies where not essential. The Chovos HaLevovos
explains that one should not take upon oneself excessive restrictions. They
are apt to become a burden and a nuisance, and may eventually tempt a person
to cast the yoke of much more than the chumra off his or her shoulders. This
is the danger inherent in chumros me'yirah.
The danger in a chumra me'ahava is manifest in a story I heard from one of
my Rabbeim zt"l. An impetus for Rabbi Yisroel Salanter zt"l to found the
Mussar movement was an experience he once had on one of the Yomim Nora'im in
Vilna. He had forgotten to bring a Machzor to Shul. He found himself standing
next to an illustrious scholar and motioned a request to be allowed to look
into his neighbor's Machzor. The scholar's "response" was a shove. This
scholar stressed his chumra of davening to Hashem with the utmost kavana -
which we need not doubt that he did. Yet there is in this stress an inherent
haughtiness that may lead one to improper leniency in other areas - here, in
one's bein adam l'chaveiro. Even worse, says Rabbi Dessler (Michtav Me'Eliyahu
vol. 3, p. 294), is overt conceit - the sin of ga'avah that outweighs any
advantage accrued by the chumra. He says therefore, that it is proper:
....To be machmir and meticulous in primary areas, such as Bittul Torah,
Lashon Hara, etc., [but not other areas], to avoid the danger that by
peripheral meticulousness to an exaggerated extent one may, chas ve'shalom,
lose sight of the primary areas in which, to our regret, so many fail . . .
The Yerushalmi (Berachos 9:5) captures these pitfalls in its caution:
Do [mitzvos] both out of love and out of fear. Do out of love, for even if
you are prone to hate you will not, because one who loves does not hate. Do
out of fear, for one who has fear does not reject.
A fourth type of chumra is that alluded to by the Nesivos Shalom cited above
and described by him elsewhere in greater detail: Excessive Gashmiyus in
and of itself is a negative thing - it is a barrier between oneself and Hashem.
This type of chumra runs into significant conflict with our contemporary
milieu. Baruch Hashem, our generation enjoys affluence to a degree unknown,
even unimagined, by our forbears, even a few short years ago. The American
"dream" and "upward mobility" have a very real impact on our society as
well. Yet, one need only recall the Ramban on Kedoshim Tee'heyu and the
Mesillas Yesharim Sha'ar Ha'Perishus to realize the value placed in Yahadus on
refraining from material pleasure - even permissible pleasure - and histapkus
b'mu'at. Over-involvement in the pursuit of material possesions and pleasures -
pursuit of "chomer" - may prove a distraction from the quest for ruchniyus.
There is a value in even artificial disdain for the material - lest it exert
a deleterious effect. An echo of this may be found in the Piascezner zt"l's
remark that a necktie is a "kesher resha'im" ("Toldos Ha'Mechaber" by Rabbi
Aharon Surasky, Chap. 11, printed in the back of several of the Piascezner's
seforim). (While this application does not resonate with a community that
has grown to appreciate fine
neckwear as a hallmark of dignified appearance, we may identify other
manifestations closer to home.) Ba'al Nefesh
A subcategory of the first and last categories is the advice found often in
halachic works: "Ba'al Nefesh yachmir" - "a righteous (Rashi Chullin 6a) -
or pious (Rashi Pesachim 40a) - person shold be stringent."
In the Gemara (ibid., and Nidda 16b and 65b) and Shulchan Aruch (Orach
Chaim 240:9, Yoreh De'ah 116:7 and several other places) they usually give
this advice in cases where a certain mode of conduct may, technically be
permissible, but skirts the boundaries of a prohibited act. To engage in
such behavior may not be legally proscribed, but, nevertheless, suggests a
proclivity toward indulgence and pleasure not befitting a person at higher
levels of divine service. (The Ran in Nedarim 91b seems to use "latzeis
yedei shomayim" in the same way.)
The Mishna Berura employs this dictum in cases of major contention, where a
significant opinion - perhaps only a few Poskim - tends toward a stringent
approach although another equally valid opinion - perhaps even most Poskim -
is inclined to be lenient. If neither opinion is manifestly definitve, then
the Mishna Berura may give the advice of "Ba'al Nefesh yachmir." This means,
that the weight of the sources allowing leniency grants that standard halachic
legitimacy. Nevertheless, the weight of the Poskim on the other side of the
equation led the Chofetz Chaim zt"l to conclude that those who are yere'ei
cheit (fear sin) should incline toward chumra.
(This is similar to Rabbi Shimon Shkop zt"l's (Sha'arei Yosher 1:2)
explanation of safek d'oraysa l'kulla according to the Rambam. Reb Shimon
interprets this as follows: The Torah
distinguishes between a definite prohibition, that one may definitely not
transgress, and cases of doubt, where one is entitled to take chances. If,
however, you ultimately discover that the case in doubt in fact entailed
a definite prohibition, you have committed a transgression and teshuva is
mandated. Just as yir'as cheit led Chazal, from the Rambam's perspective,
to mandate chumra in cases of safek d'oraysa, so too the Mishna Berura
advises a Ba'al Nefesh to be machmir in cases he perceives as questionable.)
The Decisive Answer to the Big Question
To return to our opening questions: The answer (you knew this was coming)
is: It depends! If one of the four legitimate reasons for chumros motivates
one always to read Shma before the Magen Avraham's deadline, one's Avodas
Hashem is enhanced. Not necessarily because one has always said Shma earlier
than others. After all, when one comes after 120 years to the Beis Din shel
Ma'alah, one will have fine, solid halachic foundations - th e Gr"a and Ba'al
Ha'Tanya, among others - upon which to justify a later reading of Shma. Rather,
because one followed one's Posek, manifested Yiras Hashem or Ahavas Hashem,
or dissociated oneself from the material and mundane by that chumra.
A simple example of the importance of assessing the advisability may be
found in Hilchos Sukkah. The Rama (Orach Chaim 639:7) says: "Anone who is
exempt from [the mitzva] of Sukkha [bec rain is falling, etc.] yet does
not leave it, receives no reward for his activity . . . " The Bi'ur Halacha
there comments: "This principle applies specifically to a scenario where an
aspect of transgression, such as anguish ["mitzta'er], is involved, which is
Chillul Yom Tov .. . . " We see here an elementary illustration of a chumra
not thought out, that ends up being detrimental to one's Avodas Hashem.
But . . . It is possible that one may diminish one's Avodas Hashem by strict
adherence to the Magen Avraham's time frame - if it led one to haughtiness,
fractious behavior toward others, or another negative byproduct. And, there
are scenarios in which following the later time frame of the Gr"a or Ba'al
Ha'Tanya's time frame may enhance one's Avodas Hashem - if more sleep truly
enriched one or one's family's Oneg Shabbos!
If nothing else, what should we take away from our discussion? That the
motivations for our behavior are critical and that we must carefully analyze
them. Then, in consultation with our mentors, we must carefully consider and
plan how in every area of our Avodas Hashem we can attain higher levels of
accomplishment and lishma.
 The questions is of course, technically erroneous. As Antigonus Ish Socho
tells us in Avos 1:3, we do not serve Hashem in order to achieve reward. I
have intentionally inaccurately phrased the question in order to emphasize
 One of my roshei yeshiva once related that he had met a man who would
not remove or replace a bottle cap on a soda pop bottle on Shabbos (even when
the cap had been initially opened before Shabbos). He based his "chumra" on
the prohibition to create a tent ("asi'as ohel") on Shabbos. This rosh yeshiva
clearly demonstrated that the problem of ohel could not, by any stretch of the
imagination, apply to soda pop bottle caps. The individual remained adamant:
"Everyone has their chumros," he said, "this is mine." Perhaps someone may
have some reason to take a personal shevu'ah (vow) not to open bottle caps
on Shabbos. In the absence of such a shevu'ah, this practice could not be
justified as a chumra, as it did not reflect any legitimate halachic opinion.
 To be sure, this is inaccurate. There were always machmirim on chodosh,
even among the Chassidim. Some might argue that the "baseline" halachic
position is to be stringent in the area of chodosh, and that it is a "kulla"
- a leniency - to eat grain products from the new crop before the 17th day of
Nissan. I have chosen to deem the observance of chodosh outside Eretz Yisroel
as a chumra because the overwhelming majority of observant Jews have never
refrained from chodosh. As we have noted, "baseline halacha" may be determined
by the practices of a majority of observant Jews: "Puk chazei mai ama dvar" -
"Go see how the nation conducts itself" (Berachos 45a). The Mishna Berura
(489:45) writes, concerning chodosh, that "Ba'al Nefesh yachmir. See our
discussion of that concept below. See also the Aruch HaShulchan Yoreh De'ah
293. A fuller appreciation of the complexities of the issue will have to
wait for another opportunity. As above, the intentional oversimplification
here is for illustrative purposes only!
 See "Mezuzos, Machlokos and Eilu va'Eilu Divrei Elokim Chayim," The
Jewish Observer, __, available at: http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila/eilu.htm.
 The Minhag Yisroel to be machmir on "pas paltar" during Aseres Yemei
Teshuva is a good example of a chumra meant to manifest our love of Hashem
at a time when we feel particularly close to Him.
 As explained at length in the Michtav Me'Eliyahu's famous Kuntres
HaChesed, vol 1.
 The interpretation of lishma is the subject of a great debate between the
Besht and Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin zt"l. The Besht (Tzava'as HaRivash simanim
29-30 and the nuscha'os acheirim there. Rivash = Rabbi Yisroel Ba'al Shem)
held that Torah lishma means the study of Torah with the purpose of achieving
dveykus in Hashem. Reb Chaim expends a great deal of effort (Nefesh HaChaim
Sha'ar 4, Chaps. 1-2) rejecting this approach. Reb Chaim defines Torah
lishma as Torah for its own sake, as complete and total immersion in study
for no other purpose but the study itself. Shabbos, however, is a mitzva,
not Torah. Rabbi Dessler interprets the passage in Yeshaya as teaching us
that the scale of measure by which one's Shemiras Shabbos lishma is measured
is the extent to which it is for him or her a true oneg and "hana'ah me'ziv
(There are other interpretatitons of lishma as well. The Kotzker Rebbe zt"l
(Emes v'Emuna p. 26) notes that lishma begins in the way we learn. Torah
lishma, said the Kotzker, is the same as Torah kishma. We learn Torah to
fulfill the meaning of its name. Torah means "Teaching," and our Torah is
Toras Chaim, the Teaching of Life. If we learn Torah with the intent that
it elevate and refine our lives, our Torah is lishma, and divrei Elokim
chayim. Similarly, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch zt"l says (Siddur Tefillos
Yisroel p. 8): "Lishma means to study Torah with the only purpose that
pleases Hashem, and with proper preparation, to know His will and fulfill it:
To learn, to teach to preserve and to perform."
In fact, this perspective is grounded in the words of the Shelah HaKadosh,
Masseches Shavuos: "And the concept of lishma is the intent to involve oneself
in Torah in order to fulfill that which Hashem commanded us... and, therefore,
when one learns Tanach, Mishna, Talmud and Poskim, he should undertake that:
'All I shall find, both to pursue and to avoid, I will fulfill like a loyal
servant'... And how wonderful it would be if when a person opens a sefer
he says: 'I want to learn in order that the study may lead me to deed, to
straightened middos and to the knowledge of Torah, and I am doing so for
the sake of unifying Kudsha Berich Hu u'Shechintei.' This is called Torah
Lishma. See also the Gemara at the end of the fourth chapter of Messeches
 Other takkanos can be found in Tenu'as HaMussar vol. 1, pp. 83-84 and
Otzaros Ramchal p. 9.
 1:5. See also Yerushalmi Nedarim 9:1.
 See also the Or Gedalyahu on Parashas Naso, who makes a similar point
in his discussion of nezirus.
 For example, there are various "loopholes" in the halachos of Cholov
Yisroel. A person may decide not to exploit one of these loopholes - even if
he perceives it as an halachically legitimate loophole - because he feels
that excessive indulgence in rich chocolate confections is inimical to his
dveykus in Ha'Kadosh Baruch Hu.
 Longtime loyal readers will recall, however, that in Jan. '78 we did
draw the line at a $2000.00 necktie! - NW.
 See Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin zt"l's Ruach Chaim on Avos 3:1 d"h Din
v'Cheshbon (free translation): "Human free will allows an individual to
change a materialistic existence into a spiritual one, and, chas v'shalom,
the opposite as well... Individuals who elevate their flesh toward spirit
are known as Ba'alei Nefesh..."
 Through the wonders of modern technology we can list the thirteen times
that Ba'al Nefesh is mentioned in the Mishna Berura, allowing the reader to
verify this usage: 27:33, 246:34, 257:49, 271:21, 301:141, 303:65, 345:23,
364:8, 444:17, 453:17, 462:11, 489:45, 581:160. (Readers with access to one
of several CD-Rom search programs will also find several places in the Bi'ur
Halacha where the Chofetz Chaim employed this phrase.)
It is this attitude that the Kotzker Rebbe zt"l probably meant to disparage
when he said that Chassidim fear G-d, while Misnagdim fear the Shulchan Aruch,
but the disparaging comment does not mean that the attitude is not legitimate!
Converted by Andrew Scriven
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Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 20:01:49 EST
Subject: Re: Chumrah (fwd)
Thanks to both RYG for the Chochmo R' Micha for the Mlocho. :-)
Yemei Chanukah Meirim
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Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 19:14:39 -0600
From: "Richard K. Fiedler" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Theft
>Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998 13:33:32 EST
>Subject: Re: Theft
>In a message dated 12/13/98 8:38:20 AM EST, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
>> Is there any responsibility of a person to his employer with regard to the
>> employers intangible property?
>> For example if ploni works as a fund raiser for "Chicago" Yeshiva and in so
>> doing is entrusted with a list of donors. "Another" Yeshiva employs ploni
>> believing that ploni will bring in new sources of funds.
>> Can Ploni use the the list of "Chicago" Yeshiva to pursue donors of
>> "Another" Yeshiva?
>> If not who is the wrong doer? Ploni? "Another" Yeshiva?
>As one who once negotiated with fundraisers, there are clear guidelines
>discussed about these issues.
This was not being asked from the point of view as to clear guidelines. I
aways felt that the Rabbis considered implicit agreements just as binding.
If Ploni was hired to sell some sheep and was given a propriety list of
people who the Baal knew wanted to buy sheep and Ploni decided he could get
a better salary from Another Sheep Ranch so he took the list with him did
Ploni do wrong.
A second question more to the point. In my first case "Another" Yeshiva in
a civil court may well have to pay damages. For sure many people will
think they did an unethical thing. Is this a hil hashem and if so since it
is a Torah institution what is the proper response?
Dick Fiedler email@example.com
Skokie Il (847) 329-9065 Fax (847) 463-0582 /\
Efrat Israel (02) 9932706 Fax (02) 9932707 \--/--\--/
.. __o __o __o __o __o __o \/ \/
.. -\<, -\<, -\<, -\<, -\<, -\<, /\ /\
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Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 09:35:32 -0900
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ben Smith)
Subject: Re: Avodah V2 #78
Eli Turkel Wrote:
The more controversial issue is whether one who will never become a
community leader - either because he is not interested or because he
is not good enough - can receive money. There are loads of people today
who learn in kollel and receive money but will realistic never become
teachers, roshei yeshivot or rabbis in communities.
I would maintain as follows. Anyone who has had opportunity to witness
the development of Yeshiva students and Kollel men can attest to what I
write. I do not believe that one can predict how a Yeshiva or Kollel man
will develop and who can eventually be a leader or "give back" to
Yiddishkiet. Firstly, Torah is not like other studies or intellectual
pursuits. A persons development in Torah is specifically related to his
worthiness of "Siyatah Deshmaya". Many students who when young do not
seem to have an abundance of "potential", over years of diligent learning
and adherence to mitzvos and Yiras Shamayim develop into unique and
outstanding Talmidei Chachamim.
Secondly, there are many area's in Judaism where these Kollel men can
have impact, and most can find their niche. Be it in Rabbanis, Rabbaim,
Kiruv, etc. That is not to say that there are not many of these men who
even during their Kollel years one can be sure that they have no
leadership future. I do believe though that as most have the potential
to develop into men who can lead in some capacity and as such the system
has to weed itself out. If one were to "choose" whom to "keep" and whom
to "discard" we would lose many eventually influential leaders.
Just my $.02
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