Avodah Mailing List
Volume 03 : Number 006
Wednesday, March 24 1999
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 08:53:40 +0200
From: "Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Haggadah/Hipazon
As the Torah states in Dvarim and alluded to by Rabban Gamliel, we eat
matzah in memory of the "Rush to Freedom". Could someone suggest why it
was important for the Bnai Yisrael (BY) to leave be-Hipazon?
I am aware of two answers: (1) that the BY were at the 49th Sha'ar
Tumah and HKB"H had them rushed out so thay wouldn't totally assimilate
and hit 50. (2) The second is that it was important they be kicked out
by the mitzrim so that they couldn't ever Claim that they left as
conquerers, thus diminishing the Yad Hashem. (Anyone know the
attribution of the second?).
Chag Kasher Ve-same'ach
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 09:24:56 +0200
From: "Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Women's Prayer Groups/Catholic Israel /Modern Orthodoxy
> This is a far cry from a recent article in Tradition
> which attempted to justify womens' prayer groups.
The above quote could only be referring to the article written by My
brother Dov and I (Tradition, 32:2, pp. 5-118 (Spring 1998)). The
anonymous author of the above statement (forwarded by YGB) clearly did
not read the article - or he couldn't have said that our goal was to
justify WPG. I suggest that list members read the article for themselves
and judge. E-mail or Hard-copies happily supplied upon request.
> The worst offenses are committed by students of the Rav Z'l who are
> attempting to recast his image in a left wing mode. Again, I refer all
> on the list to Rav Lichtenstein's letter which sets out the proper > lines of demarcation.
I strongly disagree. There is terrible revisionism on both sides - each
attempting to cast the Rav in their own image. I Davka think that the
worst revisionism comes from the Yeshivishe right - but clearly both
sides are guilty. And Rav Aharon, in his letter to the Forwards makes
this clear too.
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 09:38:03 +0200
From: "Dr. Saul Stokar" <email@example.com>
Subject: Chazal discovered logarithms ?
In Vol. 3 no. 2 Josh Backon and his chavrusa claimed a chazalian
precedent for logarithms based on T.B. Ketubot 68a and T.P. Ketubot 6,6.
(In a private email conversation, Josh corrected the claim from
Napierian logarithms to so-called "natural" logarithms, i.e. logarithms
to the base "e".) These sources present the halacha that if a man dies
and leaves daughters, each is entitled to 10% of the dead father's
estate as a wedding dowry. The Yerushalmi states that if there are 10
daughters and one son, the son is left with slightly more than 1/3 of
the original estate while the daughters collectively receive slightly
less than 2/3. Josh wrote:
"This is the formula (1 - 1/n) nth power. The exact figure is indeed
0.36787944 (a fraction more than a third). 1/e = lim (1 - 1/n) nth"
In my opinion, the claim that this halacha provides a precedent for
logarithms or the number "e" is incorrect on two grounds, mathematical
and historical. Let us analyze these two grounds separately.
Let us set up some notation. Define
P0 = initial estate size
f = fractional portion per daughter (e.g. 0.1 for our case)
^ = exponentiation (e.g. 10^2=100)
Then it is a simple matter to derive the formulae:
i_th daughters's portion = P0 * f*(1-f)^(i-1)
son's portion = P0 *(1-f)^n
i.e. for 10 daughters, the son's portion equals (0.9)^10 = 0.349 of the
original estate i.e. slightly more than 1/3, as stated in the
Yerushalmi. Note that the son's portion does NOT asymptotically approach
1/e as n_daughters -> infinity; instead, the son's portion approaches 0.
The above analysis assumes that daughter portion is f (e.g. 10%),
INDEPENDENT of the number of daughters. The way to get to Josh's formula
is to assume that each daughter's portion is 1/n_daughters (e.g. 10% for
10 daughters, 5% for 20 daughters, etc). In that case the son's portion
is, asymptotically (by the above formulae):
lim P0 * (1 - 1/n) ^n = P0 * (1/e)
However, the gemara and poskim state quite clearly that the daughters
portion is fixed (for the case where the extent of the father's largesse
is unknown) at 10% (per daughter), independent of the the number of
daughters. Thus, I cannot see that the above halacha has anything what
so ever to do with logarithms or with the value "e". In addition, there
is no indication that Chazal were cognizant of the fact that the son's
portion is an exponentially decreasing function of the number of
Even if the mathematics of Josh's claim is correct, and the
value of the son's portion is an approximation of 1/e, (which, as I
stated above, I don't think is the case) there is still another problem
with the claim for chazalian precedence. (This objection has already
been raised by Sholem Berger in V3 no. 3.) In my opinion, there is no
evidence that Chazal of the Talmudic era, in this or any other source,
showed awareness of the notion of a "limit" or an "asymptote". Thus,
even if we find that Chazal calculated (1-1/n)^n for n=10, this does not
mean that they were aware of the asymptotic value (or even whether that
value is non-zero).
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 14:37:53 +0200 (GMT+0200)
From: Eli Turkel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Yeridas hadoros
There is an article by Leiman in Tradition Spring 1993 on
"Dwarfs on the Shoulders of Giants"
It seems that the first in the Jewish world to use that phrase was
"Should Joshua the son of Nun endorse a mistaken position, I would reject
it out of hand, I do not hesitate to express my opinion, regarding such
mattersm in accordance with the modicum of intelligence alloted to me.
I was never arrogant claiming "My Wisdom served me well".
Instead I applied to myself the parable of the philosophers. For I heard
the following from the philosophers, The wisest of the philosophers asked:
"We admit that our predecessors were wiser than we. At the same time we
criticize their comments, often rejecting them and claiming that the
truth rests with us. How is this possible?" The wise philosopher responded:
"Who sees further a dwarf or a giant? Surely a giant for his eyes are
situated at a higher level than those of the dwarf. But if the dwarf is
placed on the shoulders of the giant who sees further? ...
So too we are dwarfs astride the shoulkders of giants. We master their
wisdom and move beyond it. Due their wisdom we grow wise and are able to
say all that we say, but not because we are greater than they"
(Teshuvot haRid 301-303)
The sources for niktadu hadorot are:
1. Eruvin 53a
R. Yochanan stated: The hearts of the earlier generations were as wide
as the entrance to the Ulam whereas the hearts of the later generations
were merely as wide as the entrance to the heichal. Our minds are only
as wide as the eye of the needle.
2. Yoma 9b
R. Yochanan stated: The fingernail of the earlier generations is better
than the belly of the later generations
3. Shabbat 112b
R. Zera said in the name of Raba bar Zimona: If the earlier authorities
were angels, we are mortals. If the earlier generations were mortals, we
are asses - and not extraordinary asses like those of R. Hanina b. Dosa
and R. Pinhas b. Yair but rather ordinary asses.
See however, eduyot 1:5 Hullin 6b-7a, Berachot 20a.
The gemara in Berachot records the question of Rav Pappa to Abaye that
they learned all of shas while Rav Yehuda learned only some mesechtot.
Abaye answered that nevertheless Rav Yehuda's prayers were earlier
because the earlier generations were "moser nefesh"
Rav Soloveitchik (Divrei hashkafa 224) explains that we see that here
nitkanu hadorot refers to the power of prayer. Also this power does not
derive, necessarily, from more knowledge. Also "moser nefesh" does not
imply any physical dangers. Rather the earlier generations were more
identified with the Jewish tradition and more willing to sacrifice for it.
He brings the story of amoraim who ripped off a covering of a woman
because it was red (not recognizing that it was a gentile women). Thus,
earlier generations were more zealous in the jewishness and not willing
to deny any portion of their yiddishkeit no matter what the cost.
In any case, it still is not clear that nitkanu hadorot has anything to
do with not arguing with earlier generations. In particular Rashi and
Rambam see to state that we not argue with tannaim or amoraim because
their teachings were accepted by the entire nation and so are equivalent
to a sanhedrin - not because of nitakanu hadorot.
As to ruach hakodesh - I am confused at to what it means. Rabbi Bechoffer
admits it has nothing to do with infallibility (incidentally Chatam Sofer
states that even the sanhedrin in lishkat hagazit was not infallible).
In that case what is ruach hakodesh? If it means that they were more
spiritual - than that is what nitkanu hadorot means. If it is something
more substanstive than that it should be clarified what the source of
that statement is.
I understand that even "siyata deshmaya" applies only to an immediate
psak halacha. It does not apply to general learning.
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 14:24:22 +0200
From: "Dr. Saul Stokar" <email@example.com>
Subject: Pessach Thoughts
As is well known, there is a argument amoung Tanaim (R. Elazar ben
Azariah and R. Eliezer on one side vs. R. Akiva and R. Yehoshua on the
other side) concerning the time period during which the Korban Pessach
may be eaten (see T.B. Pesachim 120b, Brachot 9a, Zevachim 57b).
According to the first group, the Korban can only be eaten until
midnight, while according to the second group it can be eaten (at least
Biblically) until morning. Since the Gemara (Pesachim, ibid) links this
limit to the time period for eating Matza, a lively debate has ensued
amoung the Rishonim and Poskim as to the normative halacha. For those
looking for an interesting topic for Pesach-related research, I'd like
to suggest the following two topics:
 There is an interesting reversal of opinion by both R. Asher (Rosh)
and Rambam concerning the time period when one can eat matza (on the
night of Pesach) as compared with the time period during which one can
recite Kriyat Shema (every night). Rosh allows one to consciously (i.e.
lechatchila) recite Kriyat Shema after midnight, while he seems to
require eating matza before midnight, while Rambam requires reciting
Kriyat Shema every night before midnight, while allowing the eating of
matza all night (even lechatchila). A number of acharonim have discussed
this reversal of opinion, including
 Resp. Pri Yitzchak (R' Yitzchak Blazar), sec. II, resp. 3
 Resp. Beit HaLevi, sec. I, resp. 34
Had I managed to go through both of these sources completely, I might
have attempted to summarize them, but I haven't, so I present them
as "marei mekomot" for those who are interested in pursuing the subject
 I would like to call this august forum's attention to an novel
"chiddush" found in Or Sameach, Hil. Chametz U'Matza, ch. 6, halacha 1.
R' Meir Simcha has difficulty undestanding R. Eliezer's exposition
of the verse in Deut. 15,6 "You shall offer the Pessah in the afternoon,
when the sun sets, at the time you went out of Egypt". According to the
Gemara (Brachot 9a), this verse refers to three distinct time periods.
R. Eliezer's interpretation is, in the afternoon (of the 14-th of
Nissan) we slaughter the sacrifice, in the evening we begin eating the
meat and in the morning we burn the leftovers. Rashi points out that in
the morning of the 15-th of Nissan we are still unable to burn the
leftovers, based on the rule "we may not burn left over sacrifices on
Yom Tov, so in practice this occurs only on the morning of the 16-th.
Note that Rashi implies that the meat only becomes Notar in the morning,
rather than at midnight, since that is when the "time of burning" begins
- i.e. apparently, the theoretical time of burning, since, in practice,
it may not be burnt until the next morning. On the other hand, Rashbam
in Pesachim 109b (D.H. R'EbA) states quite unambiguosly that, according
to R. Eliezer, the left over meat becomes Notar at midnight. R' Meir
Simcha has a problem with Rashi's interpretation of the end of the
verse. How can we understand the expression "at the time you went out of
Egypt" to teach us that the left over meat becomes Notar in the morning,
the meat has been forbidden to be eaten since midnight, and the only
reason it could not be burnt at that point is the rule "We may not burn
leftover sacrifices at night" (Pesachim 3a). What changed in the
morning? Then too we are forbidden to burn the leftover meat, due to the
rule "We may not burn holy meat on Yom Tov"! What special thing happened
at sunrise that didn't happen at midnight? Why postphone the Notar
status from midnight to sunrise ? (As I stated before, this question
seems to apply only to Rashi, not Rashbam et. al.) A second question
that R' Meir Simcha raises is, how can R. Elazar ben Azariah and R.
Eliezer explain the verse "You shall not leave any of it over until
morning and anything left over until morning shall be burnt" (Ex. 12,10)
if, in fact, the meat can only be eaten until midnight ? (Tos. (Brachot
9a) answer this question, but R' Meir Simcha doesn't find their
To answer these questions, R' Meir Simcha proposes the following novel
idea, which I quote more or less verbatim to ensure accuracy:
"...the Korban Pessah differs from all other sacrifices in the
following: For all other sacrifices, there is a requirement that the
sacrifice be eaten, but there is no specific requirement for any given
person to eat it; only that the sacrifice be eaten and not be leftover
(Notar). However, for the Korban Pessach there is a specific personal
requirement for each person to eat an olive-sized portion, and one who
does not eat is invalid for being "associated" (minui) with the Korban.
The meat must be eaten together with Matza and Marror, and the Korban
Pessach eaten in Egypt had the additional requirement that it had to be
eated in a hurry ("bechipzon"). Thus, the Torah teaches us that AS A
PESSACH, it can only be eaten until midnight, but after midnight it can
still be eaten until morning - not as a Korban Pessach, whose primary
purpose is to be eaten, but rather e.g. as a Thanks offering or Peace
offering. Similarly, if it is eaten after midnight, one has missed the
mitza of eating the Pessach, but it remains like any other sacrifice
whose meat is eaten, where there is no particular requirement for the
owner to eat the meat, but any other member of the group ("chabura") can
eat it. This is taught by the "Gezira Shava" (the word "this" in the
phrase "you shall eat the meat on THIS night" Ex. 12,8) - which is an
additional detail in the specific requirements of the Pessah. However,
the verse that states "You shall not leave any over until the morning"
(Ex. 12,10) shows that in fact the meat may be actually eaten until
morning, like a Thanks offering, and the requirement to burn the left
over meat only begins in the morning, when the left over meat may not be
eaten at all. Thus we understand the verse "the time when you came out
of Mitzraim" (Deut. 16,6) as referring to the fact that you burn the
leftovers in the morning, since at that point the meat may no longer be
eaten at all, it becomes "Notar" and one who eats it from then on
suffers the penalty of "Karet". Thus, if one intended to eat the meat
after midnight (e.g. during one of the four avodot), the Korban does not
become Piggul, since as a Korban it may still be eaten after midnight;
only if he intended to eat the meat after morning does the Korban become
R. Meir Simcha goes on to show that this explanation explains the
"weird" hypothesis of the Gemara in Brachot 9 - we might have thought
that the Pesach can be eaten for two nights and a day, so the Torah used
the word "This" ("You shall eat the meat on this night" (Ex. 12,8)) to
teach us that you may only eat the meat on one particular night. This
hypothesis is "weird", says R. Meir Simcha, since we the Torah
explicitly states that the Pessach can only be eaten at night! (Rashi
(Brachot) and Rashbam (Pessachim) both address this problem, but R. Meir
Simcha is not satisfied with their explanations.) According to the above
explanation, we understand the (rejected) hypothesis differently. We
might have thought that the meat may be eaten, not as Pessach but simply
as generic sacrificial meat, without a specific obligation on the owner,
for two nights and a day (the mirror image of the period a Peace
offering may be eaten), so the Torah wrote the verse "this night" to
teach us that after this night is over, the meat becomes Notar and
perforce must be burnt and not eaten.
I find the idea presented by the Or Sameach quite novel and compelling.
Any comments ?
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 08:44:42 -0500
Subject: Was The Rav a Brisker?
Our esteemed moderator Micha:>>I somewhat disagree with the first statement, and
strongly disagree with thesecond. (The third, avout is koach hahesber, I'll
leave to people who learned
by enough other gedolim to make such a survey.) I received much criticism
when I said this on mail-jewish, but I still think it's true. The Rav was
not a true Brisker, and I mean that lishevach.<<
I learned at YU primarliy from R. Yeruchim Gorelick who was a talmud of the the
Brisker Rav R. Velvel. I also spent about a year with the Rav.
At THAT time, while both were very much alive and well, I said that the biggest
difference in their respective abilites as rebbeim was that the Rav was more
artciulate than R. Yeruchim, but their derech in analyzing a blatt was virtually
the same, and both came up with simlar sevoros. so I've held that view for
about 24 years or so. That within the confines of Shiur I sense we has
thoroughly Brisker. The Rambam was virtually the ONLY Rishon not on the blatt
that we read inside during Shiur.
The Rav, like other Gedolim, really transcnded labels. R. aaron Kotler was more
than just a kletzker Rosh Yeshiva, and R. Moshe was more than a Rav and Rosh
Yeshiva of MTJ and the RJBS was more than just a Brisker. But I really did not
see his derech as deviating from Brisk very far. If anyone is around that
recalls his shiurim in Moriah and in Boston, may have greater insight. His
kinnos shiurim had a very similar Brikser ring. One hakdomo (circa 1979) he
spent 45 minutes showing that the 5 innuyim on YK and TB - while outwardly the
same - were differrnt. becaue YK derived from Teshuvo and TB from aVailus. IOW
2 dinnim in 5 inuuyim! My impression of the Rav is that he used this technique
over and over again.
The Rav himself once said, that there were 2 other rebbes in the Yeshiva that
could learn as well as he. I will finish that quote off-line for those that are
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 09:49:21 -0500 (EST)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Micha Berger)
Subject: Ruach HaKodesh
R YGB and I had a discussion that I thought might be worthwhile to open to
other peoples' thoughts.
I hope I included enough to make the conversation comprenhensible.
> IIUC, you're saying that the authority of Chazal comes from them being the
> kind of people who get ruach hakodesh, not the R"H itself.
R' YGB agreed with this summary, although I lost the text where he does so.
> Where does da'as Torah come in? If that's the source of authority for
: I am not a fan of D'as Torah per se. I do not think it is the authority
: source for gedolim. The term is elastic, and a moving target to boot! But,
: to the extent it exists, DT is equivalent with the Da'as that is the
: result of Chabad. D'as Tachton is wisdom. Da'as Elyon is Ruach HaKodesh.
> gedolim, then the reduction in mesiras nefesh must be linked to a loss
> of da'as Torah. Why? Is it a matanah, and therefore with less shefa
> there's less DT? Or perhaps the causality is in the other direction --
> mesiras nefesh comes easier if your decision process is one with the
I suggested a different idea, that da'as Torah (DTo) isn't da'as tachton (DTa),
it's a state of DTa. DTo is the extent to which someone's da'as conforms to
that of the Torah, and therefore to Da'as Elyon (DE). Similarly, I suggested
that Ruach haKodesh (RhK) isn't DE, it's the communication from DE to DTa.
So, in a sense, DTo and RhK are flipsides of the same concept. They both
suggest a closeness between DTa and DE.
In another sense, it implies a causal connection. A person can gain that
closeness by developing a DTo, and through that connection get RhK.
If I had some mar'eh mikomos, I could see if R' YGB's model fits the sources
better than mine.
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287 MMG"H for 24-Mar-99: Revi'i, Tzav
email@example.com A"H O"Ch 307:9-15
http://www.aishdas.org Eruvin 54b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light. Shmuel-II 16
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 10:01:35 -0500
Subject: Talmud Torah
Learning machshvah doesn't fit the Rambam's definition of T"T: it's neither
mikra (unless the seifer machshava happens to be Iyov, one of Sh'lomo
haMelech's sifarim, or the like), mishnah or gemara. His definition appears to
be limited to Tanach, halachah, and the origins and mechanics of the halachah.<<
Question: Would the Rambam have considered Hilchos Deios as outside of TT?
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 10:58:53 EST
Subject: Re: Talmud Torah
In a message dated 3/24/99 10:15:57 AM Eastern Standard Time,
<< : Would the Rambam have considered Hilchos Deios as outside of TT? >>
As a follow up question, don't Hilchos Deios have the power of Halacha
according to the Rambam? This is something I have always been a bit fuzzy on.
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 11:47:15 -0500
Subject: Yeshivos v academy, RYGB & R. Dessler, a Veiled yeridoh?
Following his original tribute to the greatness of the individuals who
comprised the chain of qabboloh, RYGB wrote:
<But, as a paean, I hope, it was suitably moving?.. YGB>
Quite. I had to pause a few moments to compose myself before continuing.
in all seriousness, I've also realized what that expressive response of RYGB
reminded me of (and which I believe he would be very happy to acknowledge if
not for that natural humbleness of spirit which, as I've recently learnt,
suffuses the yeshiva world) and that is of R. dessler z"l's instinctive
response to the post facto controversy which questioned the soundness of the
pre-WWII gidolim's judgement in advising their flocks re the looming threat.
Thus R. Dessler (famous passage in mikhtov mai'eliyohu) also responded
indignantly with a moving paean to the spirit of qidushoh and palpable
presence of the shichinoh which could be sensed by any who observed the
deliberations of these gidolim, but never directly engaged the point of the
On the subject of yiridoh and to whom it might apply RYGB responded:
<I always tended to believe that the yeridas ha'doros axiom applied only to
the select few, although I have heard it said in the name of the GRO, that
he would have given all of his Torah learning to be a simple Ba'al Haayis
even duting the time of Bayis II, which indicates that not necessarily in
scholarship, but in kedusha, the level of Bayis Sheni was far higher. I do
not know if the statement is accurate, and, again, yesh l'chalek bein
Interesting response, to which I might even agree (but don't sign me up just
yet for any of those chicago mussar schmoozes). It would also respond to
RET's problem of the miracle of compound interest as applied to an assumed
yiridoh, where - projecting backwards - the many orders of magnitude
disparity in capability between a chazal and your roman official say -
should have been so incongruously apparent that its hard to imagine how it
worked or why it wasn't remarked by josephus or something. If its solely a
matter of qidushoh, one can entertain its non-public practice - a masveh al
pineihem. While I kinda like it, it does seem at odds with other
suggestions suggestions emanating from yeshivoh circles that earlier doros
were infinitely? more brilliant, more learned, more powerful (e.g. consider
a previous yeshivishe poster's take on the earlier doros: "They also had
control of the physical world (through the spiritual world )in a much
greater fashion then any scientist alive today. I think this is surely a
shegags me'pi ha'shalitetc etc."
<his characterization of the difference between the yeshivoh and >
non-yeshivoh was not only inaccurate but bordered on that which we've > not
come to expect from our usually even keeled house moderate-c.
Now you are holding my reasonable-c status over my head as a threat! >
Who better than I who first perceived this RA* in our midst?
*note to ET: that's Rara Avis
<Nevertheless, at continued peril to my status, I reassert my position.
This unrelenting stance was something I mulled over a bit on Shabbos when
reading some passages in Fishbane's "The Exegetical Imagination" of what in
yeshiva-world mode would have been highly moving and inspirational and was
reduced by academic-world mode to something far different...I am happy - and
will do my best to remain reasonable - to pursue this thread. YGB>
Can't comment on fishbane with whom I'm unfamiliar. But a few stray thoughts
spring to mind. First off is RYGB's, I can only call it brisker - some of
it must have rubbed off despite his best efforts, taxonomy of the yeshivoh
vs non-yeshivoh which he apparently identifies solely with the academic
world. While a number of our participants may hold, or have held,
university positions, probably very few (only two immediately spring to my
mind, though of course I'm ignorant of the backgrounds of the vast majority
of list members) hold a position in academic jewish studies or in bible.
Thus one is really talking about a rather large community of university
trained people, which also includes quite a noticeable fraction of yeshivoh
trained people as well. And with rather disparate hashkofic leanings. I
doubt very much that the grouping is anywhere near as homogenous as might be
ascribed to the yeshivoh veldt, where I do think a categorical grouping is
anthropologically appropriate. if only because conformity to correct
thinking - (anecdotal data supporting this thesis to be gleaned from
postings of some members to this list) seems to have become a critical
marker of group membership. But the brisker taxonomy is far too crude a
tool to capture the finely zoned reality beyond that.
But even accepting RYGB's brisker take, I would not have picked humbleness
vs haughtiness as the demarcation. I would probably have gone for something
more related to intellectual honesty, as intrinsically bound up to
identification with a maimonidean shima ho'emes mime she'omiro approach -
but that's not quite right either since many exemplary instances of such
certainly exist in the yeshivoh. Maybe it has to do with the relative
hispashtus of such in the camps, if only as an ideal to be pursued.
Haughtiness - aside from the intrinsic offensiveness, gotta watch those hot
button words - has little to do with it.
Mechy Frankel firstname.lastname@example.org
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 13:40:04 -0500
Subject: Hilchosoh kibasroi, again
RDE wrote: <I'd just like to correct a minor misimpression which has
appeared in a number of postings. The term hilchosa k'basroi is not found in
the gemora. The Sheloh writes that it is a mesora we have received from the
Gaonim. The Rishonim and Achronim applied it
to the gemora to determine halacha l'maaseh.>
This may also be a bit misleading. it is quite accurate, as RDE writes, to
say that the term hilchosoh kibasroi was a go'onic misoroh. it first appears
in the go'onic work, seder tanoim vi'amoroim. However, it is inaccurate,
or at least confusing, to say that <Rishonim and Achronim applied it to the
gemora to determine halacha l'maaseh>. In fact there is a clear distinction
between the approach of almost all rishonim and the acharonim on the purview
of this kilal. As I mentioned in a previous post, until the spread of the
moshol of dwarves on giants in the jewish world, nobody - and that includes
99% of all rishonim in the entire rishonic period (no - I didn't count 'em
all, but that seems about right) - applied this kilal to any but talmudic
figures - just as RDE remarked. It is literally a very few of the very last
group of rishonim - in the 14th century - (though I confess this is all
aliba di'my prejudice that the ashqenazic age of rishonim finished with the
black death in the mid 1300s) which started to expand the usage of this
principle to post-gimoroh authorities. Most notably the rosh's son (other
guy, not the tur) applied it to his father while some others were willing to
apply it backwards to the maharam mi'rutenberg (but possibly not
afterwards). In any event the modern conception of the parameters of its
application was still not developed at the end of the rishonic period and
the extremely important caveat of the mahariq (early 15th, i.e stemming only
from the beginning of the acharonic period) that hilchosoh kibasroi can only
be wielded if we are assured that the basroi was actually familiar with all
the qamoi, was not formulated by the rishonim. It is the ashqenazi
acharonim however who finished the development of this concept and applied
it post-gimoroh, BTW, much to the chagrin of the sefardim who never accepted
it. (See maharam alshaqar's reductio ad absurdum scorn for the whole idea
which would leave the last guy standing as the ultimate authority. Don't
have the citation handy but I think I referenced it the last era in which
this thrread surfaced).
BTW, there have been references by a few posters to the Lubavitcher rebbe
z"l or perhaps others as the source for the dwarf-giant moshol. This is
wildly misplaced as, again as previously mentioned, it is a medieval
christian moshol propounded by christians to treat much the same problem as
the jews - a rational for disagreeing with earlier more authoritative
generations who surpassed us. It apparently originated with Bernard of
Chartre in the early 1100s as credited by his talmid muvhoq, the christian
scholastic John of Salisbury. It didn't hit the jewish world till the
mid-1200s, introduced first by the tosephos rid who explicitly acknowledged
its foreign ("chachimei hapilosophim") origin. It is also interesting that
tosephos rid introduced it in self-defense. Seems he was getting bashed on
his own avodah list for the temerity (haughtiness?) of spirit which led him
to disagree with R. yitzchoq, a previous generation's godol hador (perhaps
the ri hazoqein). Nanos al gabei ho'onoq was his reply to attacks on his
ostensible lack of traditional - it started even then - yeshivish humility.
Mechy Frankel email@example.com
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 13:14:14 -0600 (CST)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Yeshivos v academy, RYGB & R. Dessler, a Veiled yeridoh?
On Wed, 24 Mar 1999 Michael.Frankel@dtra.mil wrote:
> in all seriousness, I've also realized what that expressive response of
> RYGB reminded me of (and which I believe he would be very happy to
> acknowledge if not for that natural humbleness of spirit which, as I've
Whoa! We must not be humble klapei chutz - that would be intellectual
meekness. We are humble klapei pnim - vis a vis previous generations. I
had occasion to open a Minchas Shlomo today. Where does such greatness
reside among us?
> recently learnt, suffuses the yeshiva world) and that is of R. dessler
> z"l's instinctive response to the post facto controversy which
> questioned the soundness of the pre-WWII gidolim's judgement in advising
> their flocks re the looming threat. Thus R. Dessler (famous passage in
> mikhtov mai'eliyohu) also responded indignantly with a moving paean to
> the spirit of qidushoh and palpable presence of the shichinoh which
> could be sensed by any who observed the deliberations of these gidolim,
> but never directly engaged the point of the challenge.
In fact, the parallel is inaccurate. To the best of my knowledge there is
no challenge I have not engaged. You got one?
> Can't comment on fishbane with whom I'm unfamiliar. But a few stray
> thoughts spring to mind. First off is RYGB's, I can only call it
> brisker - some of it must have rubbed off despite his best efforts,
It happens to the best of us.
> But even accepting RYGB's brisker take, I would not have picked
> humbleness vs haughtiness as the demarcation. I would probably have gone
> for something more related to intellectual honesty, as intrinsically
Tsk. Tsk. You would like to call it intellectual honesty (IH), perhaps -
but, if you find haughtiness offensive, I find IH shamelessly
> bound up to identification with a maimonidean shima ho'emes mime
> she'omiro approach - but that's not quite right either since many
> exemplary instances of such certainly exist in the yeshivoh. Maybe it
> has to do with the relative hispashtus of such in the camps, if only as
> an ideal to be pursued. Haughtiness - aside from the intrinsic
> offensiveness, gotta watch those hot button words - has little to do
> with it.
I invite another phrase - but methinks I see you agreeing in principle An
academic perspective is one of critique and assessment - that, by
definition, places the critic on a perch from which he feels capable of
looking down on the subject below him and critiquing it. The yeshiva
perspective starts - as in a R' Chaim - from the assumption that everyone
is correct - let us figure out how.
Please get back to me on value free terms you want to use for that
Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 14:07:46 -0500
Subject: Cholov Akum - Definitons
Reb Alan Davidson:
>>Rav Moshe's heter allowing those who wished to to drink
cholov akum are examples of this phenomena at work. The problem, to some,
including myself is when the heter becomes defined as normative halachah
to the point that folks who drink cholov Isroel, wear tzitzis out, and
grow beards are branded "right-wing extremists". <<
In order to avoid a mis-understanding I think it's worht mentioning that R.
Mosshe's salient point is that he categorized USDA milk as falling into the same
category as Cholov Yisroel, IOW both are free from Cholov Chazir.
This is not to be construed as eliminating the gezeiro of cholov akum so much as
a definition of hwere/when it applies.
RDE/Yad Moshe can confirm.
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