Avodah Mailing List

Volume 02 : Number 080

Tuesday, December 15 1998

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 11:07:11 -0500
From: David Glasner <DGLASNER@FTC.GOV>
Subject:
Re: R. Eybeschuetz


Yisrael Herczeg wrote:

<<<
Is there a single page of Urim VeTumim and Kereisi UPleisi that is not
based
on critical analysis and discussion? R. Eybeschuetz [=RYE] did not claim
to
have had some sort of revelation regarding the authoritativeness of the
Shulchan Aruch. I assume he viewed it critcally looking for flaws, found
it
perfect, and concluded on the basis of his logic that it was Divinely
inspired.
>>>

Well, I guess I'm having trouble imagining what possible logic would allow
R. Eybeschuetz to infer from his inability to detect any flaw in a particular
work of halachah that it was Divinely inspired in some halachically
relevant sense.  I mean -- it being almost December 16th, the 228th
birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven -- I personally have no doubt that his
ninth symphony composed when Beethoven was nearly stone deaf was
miraculous -- cleary the product of Divine inspiration.  I am prepared to
stipulate, for purposes of this discussion, that the Mehaber and even the
Rema were the beneficiaries of an equal, if not even a greater level of
Divine inspiration, as was Beethoven.  Nevertheless, the Gemara in BM
clearly shows that one may not bring any halachic proof from a miracle,
as R. Eliezer learned  much to his surprise and consternation.  That
Poskim invoke Divine assistance, as Daniel Eidensohn noted in a
subsequent posting, is certainly an admirable reflection of their piety, but
it does not -- underline not -- provide any greater weight to their halachic
decisions which are to be critically evaluated strictly on the accessible
(niglah) merits of their arguments not on hidden (nistar) considerations
that are impervious to criticism.  It is precisely because nistar
considerations cannot be criticized that they don't count halachically.

<<<
 He also does not intimate that on a conscious level the Mechaber
and the Rema were engaged in anything other than logical thought
processes
when they composed the Shulchan Aruch. This is very different from the
gemara in Bava Metzia where halachah is revealed on a conscious level
by a
heavenly voice.
>>>

If so, there was even less basis for attributing Divine authority to the SA
than to the opinion of R. Eliezer.  The point is that, after Sinai (actually
Arvot Moav), Divine authority no longer carries any halachic weight, and
R. Eybeschuetz had no basis for invoking Divine inspration as an
obstacle to disagreement with halachic rulings contained the SA.

<<<
I'd be interested in knowing which other statements of RYE you refer to.
>>>
The other statement to whic I was referring is from Kresi u'Plesi (2-4)
where R. Eybeschuetz challenges a decision of the Hacham Tzvi which
held that a slaughtered chicken could not be declared treif if its heart
was missing after being opened, because the chicken could not have
been alive without a heart.  It must be presumed, even in the face of the
testimony of witnesses that the chicken had no heart, that the heart had
been removed after it was slaughtered.  R. Eybeschuetz argued that the
testimony of witnesses would have greater credibility than the mere
scientific hypothesis that a chicken could not have lived without a heart. 
This dispute between the Hacham Tzvi and R. Eybeschuetz is discussed
in an article by Prof. Sternbuch on conflicts between science and
halachah.  Sorry, but I don't have the reference handy.

<<<
Your language here is guarded, but it seems that you are siding with Rav
Yaakov Emden and Gershon Scholem against RYE. I wonder if you have
read the
biography of RYE written by Rav Yekusiel Yehudah Grunwald, author of
the
popular halachic work Kol Bo al Aveilus. If you have, I'd be interested to
know why you do not accept his defense of RYE.
>>>

That was and remains my not particularly educated opinion.  I have not
seen the biography you mention, and so I should allow for the possibility
that the evidence could support a different conclusion.  (Perhaps his
lawyers are right and the evidence shows that Mr. Clinton did not lie
under oath and his testimony really was "legally accurate.")  But
the combined authority of R. Emden and Prof. Scholem on this issue
seems to me to be formidable.  

Daniel Eidensohn also chided me for my implied criticism of R.
Eybeschuetz.  I would just add that one can't simultaneously judge both
R. Eybeschuetz and R. Emden favorably.  One of these two Gedolai
Yisrael was guilty of reprehensible conduct.  By defending one, you ipso
facto besmirch the other.  This is very unsettling.  I personally have cast
my lot with R. Emden, for all that is worth, others may prefer R.
Eybeschuetz while still others may prefer to remain neutral.  What seems
to me untenable in this unfortunate situation is to say eilu v'eilu and to
pretend that nothing was or is amiss.

David Glasner
dglasner@ftc.gov


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 11:42:13 -0500
From: mluchins@Zweig-Dimenna.com
Subject:
Kollel - class system


A poster 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 thought that despite being a machlokes in Talmudic times it is clear
that Torah is not just for the elite, but for everyone.  See Brochos 28a.
Also see the meforshim on the first Mishnah in Avos such as the Rabbeinu
Yonah who  brings a Yerushalmi that Hillel asked once if all of his
students were there, and he was told yes except the least.  Hillel said we
must wait for him because it is he the least who will be the manhig
yisroel.  The student was Rav Yochanon ben Zakkai! (See Gemarah Sukah daf
?? - the Gemarah about Yonason Ben Uziel and the birds burning).  Also the
Medrash Schmuel there states that one should teach as many students as
possible because if many are taught then one diamond will emerge.  (I mean
what if RYBZ had decided he had as many students as he needed when a guy in
his mid twenties showed up in the Beis Medrash who despite the fact that
his father was the "gadol (parnes) hador" didn't know Shema and bentching?
I mean Rav Elazar Ben Hurkonos somehow still turned it around (see the
beginning of  Pirkei Drav Eliezer.))

     Now assuming  that Kollel nowadays is permitted - how can we start to
exclude people based on our perception. ( See Gemarah Bava Basra 10a ("olam
haphuch") - our assumption can be wrong.)  As long as a person is coming
and learning Torah shouldn't he paid regardless of what the world thinks
his potential is?


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 12:05:13 -0500
From: "Michael Poppers" <MPoppers@kayescholer.com>
Subject:
Re: Chanuka lights


Rabbi ETeitz: > 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? <
Barring an Indian-summer spell, it's quite likely that your and my house's
outside door would be closed after the hadlakah in order to keep the inside
temperature stable (and avoid dollars' worth of spent fuel and a cold
draught!).  In such case, is it really better that the lights be on the
outside of that door and no longer visible to the b'nei bayis, rather than
that they be on the inside [if possible, near the doorpost opposite the
m'zuzah] visible to all via a window?  The halachos re lighting at the
place where one's property abuts r'shus horabim were, after all,
promulgated in an area with slightly warmer mezeg ho'avir and before the
era of double-pane insulated windows.

That said, I've asked my wife (who's in EY right now in order to be
m'sa'meach her cousin at the latter's chasnah) to, if possible and
reasonable, acquire one of those "glass boxes" that I've read about.  We
have large windows on either side of the front door, and, if I can position
the lights such that they're visible to all, I like the idea of our
lighting 'em next year on the outside of that door.

All the best (and a joyous week!) from
Michael Poppers =*= Elizabeth, NJ


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 12:49:38 -0500
From: "Noah Witty" <nwitty@ix.netcom.com>
Subject:
Shamai & Hillel


To the posters on this topic: you might avoid some confusion for yourselves
and readers by distinguishing between Hillel/Shamai as opposed to
*Bais*-Hillel/*Bais*-Shamai. So do you need to start all over . . . .

Noach Witty


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 12:52:45 -0500
From: "Noah Witty" <nwitty@ix.netcom.com>
Subject:
Yosef & Bros.


Eli Clark writes:

"Also, in peshuto shel mikra Yosef was neither a rodef nor a moser."

However, please see Sforno in the perek of the sale in which he says that
the bros. DID cpnsider him a rodef and I think that Sforno is more or less a
pashtan.

B'Chavod,
NW


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 09:20:44 -0500
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Subject:
Chumro


My biggest "problem" with chumro, is that it can cause confusion and a lot of 
disparity in how Halocho is observed.  IMHO the ideal Halocho is pesukko - 
decisive ,and it provides an equilbirum.  Chumro adds complexity (eg some people
hold from the eiruv while others don't) and can lead to an imbalance.

Regards,
Rich Wolpoe


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 13:14:07 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Subject:
yosef/brothers


Midrash says that had Reuvein known that the Torah would have written
"vayatzileihu m'yadam" he would have carried Yosef home to his father.
Parashas Derachim (among others) understands the dispute between Yosef and his
brothers revolved around whether the shevatim had a din of a Yisrael (acc. to
Yosef) or a B"N (shevatim).  Tos. Kiddushin 39b says only by a Yisrael do we
apply the din that machshava ra'ah is not mitztaref l'ma'aseh and machshava
tovah is.  In light of that, perhaps we can say that the Midrash means had
Reuvain realized that the Torah would count his machshava tovah as a ma'aseh,
meaning he was a yisrael gamur and not a B"N, he would have carried Yosef home
bec. Yosef won the argument!

Chag Sameiach : - )
 -Chaim


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 13:54:03 -0500 (EST)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject:
Re: yosef/brothers


I think that understanding Re'uvein to mean "Had I known that we were
Yisraelim g'murim, and therefore can get credit for machshavah g'murah" is
clever. In fact, to clever for me to feel it's realistic. It's one thing to
say the avos (and sh'vatim?) kept all of Torah, but they engaged in pilpul
too?

Instead, I had understood him to mean "Had I known that my actions were
l'doros, and therefore knew in advance that they had value..."


BTW, I thought we hold that issur chal al issur in the case of gid hanasheh.
The reason given that in principle, GH applies to Jews and to a group of b'nei
Noach -- Yaakov, his sons, and the generations until Sinai. This would imply
that we hold that l'halachah, we assume that they were NOT completely Jewish.

As I can't find the makor, though, I may be misremembering, all remembering
only a hava amina.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287    Help free Yehuda Katz, held by Syria 6006 days!
micha@aishdas.org                         (11-Jun-82 - 15-Dec-98)
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.
http://www.aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 13:58:39 -0500 (EST)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject:
Ais La'asos


We recently touched on the topic of eis la'asos, which brought to mind a
question...

Is there an example where "eis la'asos" nullifies a real issur? For example,
in the case of "d'varim sheba'al peh i ata risha'i", which of the 613 are
being violated? To me it looks like the application is more oriented toward
terminating minhagei Yisrael or possibly chumros, and not necessarily actual
issurim.

Any counter-examples? Did I misunderstand the case of DSPIAR?

-mi
-- 
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287    Help free Yehuda Katz, held by Syria 6006 days!
micha@aishdas.org                         (11-Jun-82 - 15-Dec-98)
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.
http://www.aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 14:04:23 -0500 (EST)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject:
Eidim Zomemim


A thought hit me Friday night, I'm airing it to the chevrah for you to find
any flaws...

Why are eidim zomemim paid "ka'asher zamam"? It can't be a variant of "ayin
tachas ayin" as that wouldn't explain why "... v'lo ka'asher asah", nor would
it explain why corporal punishment, and not monetary fines, are imposed.

I therefore want to argue that the eidim are punished for their own p'gamim.
"Kol haposeil b'mumo poseil". Therefore, we assume that if they accuse others
of some flaw, they must have that flaw themselves.

However, once the punishment is meted out, we can never be sure that the false
charge was projection, and not based on a character flaw that comes to mind
because the accused has it in some measure. Perhaps Hashem allowed the accused
to get punished because he deserved or needed that punishment. Kol haposeil is
not assumable in this case, and therefore we don't punish them.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287    Help free Yehuda Katz, held by Syria 6006 days!
micha@aishdas.org                         (11-Jun-82 - 15-Dec-98)
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.
http://www.aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 14:07:02 -0500 (EST)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject:
Disembodied Intelligences


In the Moreh, the Rambam says that Aristotle was correct in his understanding
of mal'achim, that they are "sichliyim nivdalim". In the Yad, mal'achim are
understood to be "tzurah b'li chomer". There appears to be an identification
of seichel as tzurah.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287    Help free Yehuda Katz, held by Syria 6006 days!
micha@aishdas.org                         (11-Jun-82 - 15-Dec-98)
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.
http://www.aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 14:11:00 -0500
From: "Pechman, Abraham" <APechman@mwellp.com>
Subject:
RE: Ais La'asos


What about Eliyahu at Mt Carmel?

Avi Pechman

> -----Original Message-----
> From: micha@aishdas.org [mailto:micha@aishdas.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 1998 1:59 PM
> To: avodah@aishdas.org
> Subject: Ais La'asos
> 
> 
> We recently touched on the topic of eis la'asos, which 
> brought to mind a
> question...
> 
> Is there an example where "eis la'asos" nullifies a real 
> issur? For example,
> in the case of "d'varim sheba'al peh i ata risha'i", which of 
> the 613 are
> being violated? To me it looks like the application is more 
> oriented toward
> terminating minhagei Yisrael or possibly chumros, and not 
> necessarily actual
> issurim.
> 
> Any counter-examples? Did I misunderstand the case of DSPIAR?
> 
> -mi
> -- 
> Micha Berger (973) 916-0287    Help free Yehuda Katz, held by 
> Syria 6006 days!
> micha@aishdas.org                         (11-Jun-82 - 15-Dec-98)
> For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.
> http://www.aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed
> 


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 14:13:07 -0500 (EST)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject:
Terumah vs. Ma'aser


It's interesting to contrast the Chinuch on Ma'aser (395), with his
description of Terumah (507).

Ma'aser is about supporting Leviim, so that they have no tasks other than
serving their King. Terumah is about testifying that "ha'olam kulo liHKBH".
This is why, the Chinuch explains, there is no shi'ur (mid'Oraisa) for
terumah. It's the act of giving that is required.

We can only use this to understand why leviim can be mocheil their maaser, but
a kohein can not mocheil t'rumah. T'rumah isn't the kohein's, he's eating
"mishulchan gavoha". Besides, the man has a need to give, regardless of the
kohein's need to receive.

Similarly, we can suggest that terumah is given before ma'aser because it
serves a similar role to b'rachos. Until we acknowledge HKBH's role in
creating the crop, it is not ours to give to Leviim.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287    Help free Yehuda Katz, held by Syria 6006 days!
micha@aishdas.org                         (11-Jun-82 - 15-Dec-98)
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.
http://www.aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 14:14:48 -0500 (EST)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject:
Re: Ais La'asos


Was Eliyahu b'har HaCarmel a situation of pure eis la'asos, or was it modified
by being a hora'as sha'a? I would argue the situation is entirely different,
having to do with hilchos nevu'ah, not p'sak halachah.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287    Help free Yehuda Katz, held by Syria 6006 days!
micha@aishdas.org                         (11-Jun-82 - 15-Dec-98)
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.
http://www.aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed


Go to top.

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 15:58:20 EST
From: Pawshas@aol.com
Subject:
Chumros


To add information to the discussion on Chumros:

I recently went through the Sedei Chemed's discussion of the rule, "Kol
haPatur Min haDavar ve'Oseihu Nikra Hedyot (One who is exempt, and practices
anyway, is considered ordinary - he has done nothing special)." [I base this
translation of "Hedyot" on the Peri Megadim in his letters published in the
intro to the Shulchan Aruch].
The following is an outline of what I gleaned from his comments. I based the
structure on the consideration of what could be wrong with a Chumra, and what
could then justify the Chumra.

A. The Problem with a Chumra: There is no Mitzvah
   1. Exception 1: The act is a Mitzvah act; this person is exempt
       a. To fulfill a Mitzvah in which others are currently obligated
       b. To fulfill a Mitzvah from which one is temporarily Patur
       c. To fulfill a Mitzvah from which one is always Patur
   2. Exception 2: There is some other benefit
       a. The act will benefit other people
       b. One has a "Gadol" relationship with HaShem
       c. Zeh Keli veAnvehu / Zerizus
       d. Ol Malchus Shamayim
       e. To prevent a prohibition
       f. A strict opinion holds that one is not Patur at all

B. The problem with a Chumra: It can cause an Issur
   1. Exception: No Issur
       a. It will/won't cause confusion as to the Halachah
       b. The Chumra will/won't lead to an Issur
       c. The Chumra will/won't lead to a Kula

C. The problem with a Chumra: It can cause Yuhara
   1. Exception: No Yuhara
       a. One is a Gadol, so that there is no Yuhara involved
       b. It's a Shev veAl Taaseh
       c. It is not visibly against popular practice
       d. It is not visibly against the Rebbe's practice

This is a list of cases involving Chumros, brought up by the Sedei Chemed in
one way or another:
A. Interrupting a meal in order to daven
   1. Jerusalem Talmud Berachos 2:9
B. Sirtut in Tefillin
   1. Tosafos Menachos 32b "Ha Moridin"
C. Onein beHavdalah
   1. Rosh Berachos 3:2
D. Sitting in the Succah in the Rain
   1. Hagahos Maymoniyos Succah 6:2
   2. Rama Orach Chaim 639:7
   3. Magen Avraham 639:15
E. Chasid Shoteh
   1. Sotah 22b
   2. Peirush haMishnayos there
F. Meat after Milk
   1. Yam Shel Shelomo Chullin 8
G. Standing for Shema in the morning
   1. Rama Orach Chaim 63:2
H. Reading Shema when Patur
   1. Magen Avraham 70:5
I. Leaning at the Seder when Patur
   1. Magen Avraham 472:6
J. Lying down for Shema at night
   1. Tiferes Yisrael Berachos 1:3:25
K. Lighting Chanukah candles when Patur because someone at home is doing it
   1. Terumas haDeshen 101
L. Getting up to daven Maariv after removing belt
   1. Shevus Yaakov 2:30
M. Switching candles for oil in Chanukah candles, after lighting
   1. Shevus Yaakov 2:30
N. Preparing the wick for Shabbat candles
   1. Be'er Sheva 21
O. Eating meat in the week after Tishah be'Av
   1. Be'er Sheva 21
P. Wearing Tefillin while performing the Avodah
   1. Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Tefillin 4:13
   2. Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Kelei haMikdash 10:6
Q. Hashavas Aveidah by a Zaken
   1. Bava Metzia 30
R. Hallel on RC with a Berachah
   1. Hagahos Maymoniyos Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Chanukah 3:7
S. Tzitzis on a borrowed Tallis
   1. Rosh Chullin 110
   2. Sedei Chemed pg. 82 "UvSifro"
T. Women and Berachos on Zeman Gerama
   1. Sedei Chemed p. 81 "Umatzasi"
   2. Sedei Chemed p. 82 "Michlal"
U. Standing during Leining
   1. Pesach haDevir 146:4
   2. Sedei Chemed p. 83 s.v. BeDevar
V. Returning to Bench where one ate
   1. Berachos 53b
W. Women and Talmud Torah
   1. Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Talmud Torah 1:13
X. Succah for Holchei Derachim
   1. Even Shesiyah 22
   2. Sedei Chemed pg. 89 s.v. Amnam beSefer
Y. Keeping Shemitah when Patur
   1. Maharashdam Yoreh Deah 192

Mordechai
HaMakor! http://www.aishdas.org/hamakor Mareh Mekomos Reference Library
WEBSHAS! http://www.aishdas.org/webshas Indexing the Talmud, Daf by Daf
Congregation Ohave Shalom, Pawtucket, RI http://members.tripod.com/~ohave


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 00:20:09 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@netmedia.net.il>
Subject:
Heaven & Halacha


David Glasner wrote:

>  ... Nevertheless, the Gemara in BM clearly shows that one may not bring any
> halachic proof  from a miracle, as R. Eliezer learned  much to his surprise and
> consternation.  That Poskim invoke Divine assistance, as Daniel Eidensohn noted
> in a subsequent posting, is certainly an admirable reflection of their piety,
> but it does not -- underline not -- provide any greater weight to their
> halachic decisions which are to be critically evaluated strictly on the
> accessible (niglah) merits of their arguments not on hidden (nistar)
> considerations that are impervious to criticism.  It is precisely because
> nistar considerations cannot be criticized that they don't count halachically.

The assertion - that Divine Assistance or Ruach Hakodesh in psak is a clear
violation of Lo Bashamayim  - is a major subject which can fill many volumes. I
will just indicate some sources that  disagree with this assertion.

There are several gemoras which seem to indicate that a Heaven does not get
involved in Halacha. In the debate between Rabbi Eliezer and the Chachomim in
which Rabbi Eliezer invoked Heaven to support his position, he was rebutted by
Rabbi Yehoshua saying "It is not in heaven" (Bava Metzia 59b). The gemora (Megila
2b) says the forms of the final letters of the Hebrew alphabet were decreed by
the prophets. It asks but "a prophet canít innovate?". It replies it had been
forgotten which letters were the final forms and which were the regular letters,
and the prophets merely reestablished that which had been known before. Finally
the gemora (Temura 16a) records that after the death of Moshe, 3000 Halachos were
forgotten.  When Yehoshua was asked to ask G-d what they were he replied, "It is
not in heaven". When Shmuel was asked to ask G-d, he replied, "These are the
Mitzvos", a prophet can not innovate in Halacha.. Asniel Ben Kenaz, however,
restored the Halachos through logical reasoning.

The Rambam states (Yesodei Hatorah 9, 1-5), "1)...The verse ĎIt is not in Heavení
(Devarim 30,12) teaches that a Prophet has no ability to alter the Mitzvos.
Therefore if any person,... does miracles and he says that G-d sent him to add or
to subtract from the Mitzvos or to explain them in a way that we didnít hear from
Moshe or he says that a particular Mitzva is not for all generations... - that
person is a false prophet ... and he should be executed."  This position of the
Rambam is stated even more forcefully in his Introduction to the Mishna. He says
that a prophet who claims to have been told the correct Halacha or explanation
from G-d is a false prophet and is executed.

The gemora (Eruvin 13b) records that Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel disagreed for
three years without resolution. Finally a Bas Kol announced "Ailu víAilu" that
both were the word of the living G-d but that the Halacha is in accord with Beis
Hillel. The gemora (Eruvin 6b) brings two apparently conflicting statements. The
first says that the Halacha is like Beis Hillel and the second says whoever wants
to follow Beis Shammai in Halacha can. The gemora answers that the latter
statement was made before the Bas Kol announced that the Halacha is like Beis
Hillel while the former was afterwards. [This clearly indicates that the Bas Kol
determined that the Halacha is like Beis Hillel.] The gemora offers an
alternative answer that both statements could have been made after the Bas Kol
but the latter statement follows the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua (Bava Metzia 59b)
that we pay no heed to a Bas Kol. While the former follows the position of the
majority that we do in fact heed the Bas Kol.[This would indicate that the
opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua in Bava Metzia (59a) in not necessarily the majority
opinion and that Rabbi Eliezarís opinion was not rejected just because it is
"not in Heaven".]
The gemora (Yevamos 14a) says that a particular dispute can be explained as
occurring either before or after the Bas Kol announced that the Halacha is in
accord with Beis Hillel. If it occurred before, then one side holds that Beis
Hillel was the majority. The other side claimed that majority only helps if both
are comparable in scholarship. Alternatively, the dispute took place after the
Bas Kol. One side holds that the Halacha was determined by the Bas Kol to be in
accord with Beis Hillel. The other side agrees with Rabbi Yehoshua that we donít
pay attention in Halacha to a Bas Kol.
Tosfos (Yevamos 14a) asks  why do we accept the authority of the Bas Kol that the
Halacha is in accord with Beis Hillel, while in the case of Rabbi Eliezar we
rejected the authority of the Bas Kol?. Tosfos answers that the Bas Kol of Rabbi
Eliezar was only to honor him but not to indicate the Halacha. Alternatively, the
case of Rabbi Eliezar was simply a minority opinion against the majority so of
course he was rejected. The case of Beis Hillel involved a new legal issue, the
question was whether a majority wins even against the superior scholarship of the
minority. The Bas Kol was needed to answer this question for which they had no
precedent and no way of resolving by normal judicial means. According to this
line of reasoning, it is possible that Rabbi Yehoshua only rejected the validity
of the Bas Kol in the case of Rabbi Eliezar but would accept it in other cases
Tosfos concludes, however, that Rabbi Yehoshua claim was a universal one of Ďit
is not in heavení and rejected the Bas Kol in all cases. A similar assertion that
Rabbi Yehoshua was not the consensus opinion is found in other gemoras (Pesachim
114a/ Chulin 44a).

There is the famous statement of the Raavad (Hilchos Lulav 8:5)  that since there
is Ruach HaKodesh in his Beis HaMedrash - the Halacha should be with him. The
Chasam Sofer (O.H. 208) has an important discussion of this together with the
nature of dreams and Bas Kol. He explains that Ruach Hakodesh assists in
discovering halachic answers which are beyond that what the unaided mind could
come up with. A person learning leshma is assisted by G-d in discovering Emes.
This is the gemora (Bava Basra 12a) that prophecy was not taken from the
Chachomim but only from the prophets. Therefore Ruach Hakodesh is not a synonym
for piety.

The Arizal himself describes his extensive learning with Eliyahu HaNavi - who was
his main Rebbe in Kabbala. The Arizal is viewed by some Poskim (e.g., Rav
Bentzion Abbah Shaul Intro to vol II) as the final authority because his words
are with Ruach HaKodesh from Eliyahu HaNavi.

In sum, if you posken like Rabbi Yehoshua it would seem that Heaven is not
relevant to the halachic process to either change the Torah or to decide between
disputants. According to the Rabbonim (Eruvin, Yevmos, Pesachim, Chullin) it
would seem that Heaven will not change the Torah but it  can indicate a binding
preference between disputants such as Shammai and Hillel. However in regards to
Heaven giving inspiration there is no clear source that states that Heaven can't
provide inspiration that enables a person to decide halacha in such a way that it
is superior to others (Bava Basra 12a). This is the Raavad, and the Chasam Sofer,
the Arizal as well as Rav Yonasan Eybeshutz and many others. The concept of
Yisroel being bnai neviim (Pesachim 66a) also assumes that G-d provides
inspiration for Klall Yisroel to recognize the correct approach to follow in
halacha. [see R' Aryeh Kaplan Handbook I page 233 12:8]. Therefore the acceptance
of the Shulchan Aruch as a basis of halacha can be legitimately understood as
resulting from it being written with Ruach HaKodesh. This doesn't necessarily
mean that others can't disagree with it - but only that it has a special status
The consequences of this special status can also be a matter of dispute.

                                                            Daniel Eidensohn


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 27 Aug 1956 21:11:42 +0000
From: David Riceman <driceman@WORLDNET.ATT.NET>
Subject:
mailing lists and chumras


1.  Mailing lists of charitable organizations are a bad example, since
both the gemara and the Shulhan Aruch say very clearly that distributing
them is a form of loshon hara.

2.  Rabbi B. has missed what I consider the fundamental machlokess about
chumras, and what I consider the most important category of chumros. 
The machlokess is between the Rambam and R. Chaim Vital (in the first
shaar of Shaarei Kedusha) and is based on the observation that mitzvos
induce good middos (though both agree and R. Chaim emphasises that the
opposite also holds).  The argument is whether the proper midda is the
extreme or the mean (the Rambam takes the second option).
  According to R. Chaim chumros help to extirpate bad traits (this is an
extension of Rabbi B.'s fourth classification, though there are
spiritual bad traits cf. Shmona Perakim Perek 4).  Incidentally R. Chaim
also says that the four humors are extremes - I've never seen either of
these opinions elsewhere, and would greatly appreciate possible sources.
  For the Rambam we need to be a little more subtle.  Halacha is
standardised, but people are individual.  So a person may need to adopt
a chumra to mend one of his traits and push it back to the mean (see his
comments about fasting and living like a hermit in the hakdama to the
peirush hamishna).  If he lives in a society like ours where people wear
neckties he may need to adopt a chumra (no shirts?) his whole life to
counteract the evil influence of his society.  So that the type of
chumra R. B. fails to mention is the personal/communal chumra to rectify
internal/external flaws.

David Riceman


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 01:56:44 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@netmedia.net.il>
Subject:
Torah vs Secular Thought


David Glasner wrote:<<<

> Daniel Eidensohn also chided me for my implied criticism of R.
> Eybeschuetz.  I would just add that one can't simultaneously judge both
> R. Eybeschuetz and R. Emden favorably.  One of these two Gedolai
> Yisrael was guilty of reprehensible conduct.  By defending one, you ipso
> facto besmirch the other.  This is very unsettling.  I personally have cast
> my lot with R. Emden, for all that is worth, others may prefer R.
> Eybeschuetz while still others may prefer to remain neutral.  What seems
> to me untenable in this unfortunate situation is to say eilu v'eilu and to
> pretend that nothing was or is amiss.

There are two major issues here. The first issue you raise is what is the
historical reality. Was the gadol hador guilty of heresy? As I pointed out in a
previous posting G. Scholem says there are three views amongst historians. 1) he
was innocent 2) he had been a heretic but repented 3) he was a heretic till the
end. Dr. Leiman says that historians generally believe that Rav Yaakov Emden was
correct while *the Rabbonin disagree*. Is there any way of proving the facts
conclusively? Probably not. However, contrary to what you have stated. There is
no necessity that we have to decide between one or the other of these gedolim.
Rav Yaakov Emden might have had enough evidence to justify his attacks - even
though  Rav Yonason Eybeshutz was totally  innocent. He never defended himself
against the attacks. Therefore they are both tzadikim. A similar issue occurred
with the Bal HaTanya, the Ramchal, the Rambam etc.Violent disagreement doesn't
mean one side is wrong. Suspicions, even supported by some evidence - don't have
to be true.

The second issue of more relevance to this list is the Torah guidelines for
dealing with this type of issue. The guidelines revolve around the issue of what
difference does it make. If in fact you have concluded that the accused was
probably  guilty - what are the consequences? The answer is nothing. Since his
books are widely accepted - and contain no heretical material - no one is going
to throw them out or burn them. Rav Emden doesn't need to be defended - his place
in Yiddishkeit is secure. Since Rav Yonasan is fully accepted in religious
circles as innocent - your public comments to the contrary constitute slander.
This is no different than someone - who is a single witness who has knowledge
concerning a crime  but can not get a second witness. Is he supposed to run
around announcing the crime? If his testimony has no legal or practical
significance he is required to remain silent. Is he required to deny what he
knows? Chofetz Chaim rules that there is no requirement  to be stupid. If you
have negative knowledge - that won't be accepted -  concerning a shidduch etc are
you allowed to announce it publicly. No. In contrast - from the secular point of
view - a person must say what he *thinks* is true - regardless of the
consequence. He *must* take a stand From the Torah point of view - there is a
limit to what you can say publicly - even if you know 100% that it is true. If
you only suspect it to be true - which is the present case  - publicizing your
suspicions,  even if supported by the authority of Gershon Scholem,  is not
kosher.

In sum, from a halachic point of view - there is no justification for you to
publicize your condemnations concerning the dispute between these two
gedolim.There is absolutely no benefit to anyone by  publicly deciding between
them. What you want to believe in private is your own business. The gemora
Berachos 19a states some pretty harsh things about those who criticize talmidei
chachomim after their death. The only relevant issue is whether to deal with this
from the secular value system or from the Torah point of view.

                                                     Daniel Eidensohn


Go to top.


********************


[ Distributed to the Avodah mailing list, digested version.           ]
[ To post: mail to avodah@aishdas.org                                 ]
[ For control requests: mail the word "help" to majordomo@aishdas.org ]

< Previous Next >