Avodah Mailing List

Volume 02 : Number 145

Saturday, January 30 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 15:50:07 EST
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: More on Avos - the Answers

In a message dated 1/29/99 8:47:08 AM Eastern Standard Time,
richard_wolpoe@ibi.com writes:

 1. However, Avos refers to a position, that is Av Beis Din.  This maseches is
 specifically geared to the Avod Beis Din thoughout our history. (Another 
 possiblity it that Avos means "principles", for example, Arbo'o Avos neizkin,
 melocho, etc., but, I prefer the first answer.)
Dear Richard,
 I Once heard quoted in the name of the Gra that the reason it's called avot
is an allusion to the avot who are paradigms of the moral lessons being

Shabbat shalom

Joel RIch

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Date: Fri, 29 Jan 99 15:56:30 -0500
From: meir_shinnar@smtplink.mssm.edu
MO and heterim

Two posters remarked that gdolim are not infallible, and that we need therefore
to be independent minded and follow the sources.  It does seem a bit strange for
a MO to defend gdolim's infallibility and the more right wing to bash them. 
However, I think the point is being missed.  Clearly, any single individual can
err, and therefore be subject to criticism. (The Rosh yeshiva who said that
there was no limud zchut seems to be guilty of lashon hara, although I am
willing to be melamed zchut on him, and he may not have known the zadkaniot and
rebbitzens he accused). It is not that every action of the rabbanim was Torah
misinai (they were not rebbes),However, when a position is taken consistently by
rabbanim of a given community, it passes from the position of a single (possibly
fallible) action that may be questioned to one that reflects a whole derech. 
 At that point, one can argue that the shita is wrong, but to argue that it is
beyond the pale seems to be motzi la'az.   In the examples being discussed, this
shita was widely practiced and accepted by many (Rav Maryles himself remarked
this), making it far more  a valid source for a current practice.

One has to be far more careful of criticizing an entire community than when one
individual does one action.  Again, look at the beginning of the Rambam's
Iggeret Hashmad. 

The issue of whether we should rely on these "maaseh ravs" or only on our
understanding of the text is of course a complex one.  However, it is quite
surprising how many are blithely willing to assume that there was no textual
basis or support for these "maaseh ravs".  (if my rav says it is assur, it must
always have been assur).  The rabbanim involved were talmide hachamim and yere
shamaim.  There wasn't an isolated single episode, and the opinions of those who
assured it were quite well known, yet they didn't see a problem.  Perhaps we do
not know Yoreh Deah well enough.

For most of us (there may be exceptions on this list), while we  try to learn
and understand the rationale, it would be presumptuous to decide between, say,
Rav Feinsten and and Rav Auerbach.    The concept of aseh lecha rav applies
lekula as well as lehumra, and the rabbanim involved were bar samkha and the
rabbanim of our communities.  Why is it problematic for us to follow them?

Meir Shinnar

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Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 16:00:47 EST
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Ma'aser Kisafim

In a message dated 1/28/99 12:46:24 PM Eastern Standard Time,
micha@aishdas.org writes:

 A thought hit me last night.
 Roman soldiers were paid in salt, which is the origin of the English
 "worth his salt".
 This little factoid affects how we understand a medrash. Eisav attempts to
 impress Yitzchak by asking if ma'aser should be given on salt. He's asking
 about ma'aser k'safim!
 So, it would seem that this minhag is not as old as that medrash.
 Where does the minhag really come from. R' Frand, in a taped lecture, implied
 that it's not a religious minhag at all, yet, although in a generation or
 two it might be -- we are now making it one. "Ma'aser k'safim", R' Frand
 says, was the taxation system used in Europe to run the autonomous Jewish
 community and its social services.
 OTOH, what about all those sh'eilos about what can or can not be included.
 a bit much for a "not really a minhag".
Dear Micha, 
See yoreh deah-249 especially the ptchei tshuva re: connection to maaser sheni
which might  imply duraiata. I think however that the majority opinion is that
it is minhag.

Shabbat Shalom
Joel Rich

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Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 16:02:46 EST
From: Pawshas@aol.com
Avos and "Kol Yisrael"

The Maharsha (Mahadura Basra Eiruvin 21a Chiddushei Aggados, I believe, but my
Sefarim are all in boxes as we are moving, IYH, Motzaei Shabbos) suggests that
we use the Pasuk "Yagdil Torah veYaadir" before Avos to teach that the ethics
of social behavior are Torah, too.

Mordechai Torczyner
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

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Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 20:14:35 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Birchas haTorah, Netziv

The Netziv (15:26) cites an interesting Yerushalmi (Berachos 7) that holds
Birchat HaTorah b'rabbim is a chiyuv d'orayta (and the yerushalmi beg. of
keitzad mevorchim derives all birchat hamitzvot from birchas hatorah).  I
thought this might answer the famous kashe (see Tos. Eiruvin 96, Emek Beracha
1 citing talmidei Rashi) of why a new birchas haTorah is recited before
keriyas haTorah and we don't rely on the beracha  said earlier in the morning
- one is d'orayta, one derabbanan.  The Rambam in hakdama to Yad (cited by
Netziv) who quotes Mechilta's derasha and not Yerushalmi might be l'shitaso
that birchas haTorah is derabbanan (Megilas Esther on S"M writes he could find
no makor for the Rambam).  The Yerushalmi's parallel between zimun and birchas
haTorah b'rabbim might also shed some light on whether keriyas haTorah is a
chovas hayachid or a chovas hatzibbur (of course, I guess first we have to
figure out what zimun is : - ).  

On the issue of m'vatlin T"T for mikra megillah, see RaSHaSH in Megillah.


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