Avodah Mailing List

Volume 03 : Number 079

Saturday, June 5 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 17:17:30 -0400
From: "Pechman, Abraham" <APechman@mwellp.com>
RE: Chachamim hizahru b'divreichem!

I, in no way, shape or form, meant to minimize the situation re: abused
wives (or husbands for that matter). I apologize to the public for any
inference to the contrary.

Avi Pechman

> -----Original Message-----
> From: MSDratch@aol.com [mailto:MSDratch@aol.com]
> Sent: Friday, June 04, 1999 4:59 PM
> To: avodah@aishdas.org
> Subject: Chachamim hizahru b'divreichem! 
> Chachamim hizaharu b'divreichem!  
> I appreciate the open nature of the discussion re: abuse and 
> kiddushei ta-ut. 
>  It is necessary if the issues are to be aired properly and 
> understood.  But 
> the flip nature of some of the language and the monetary 
> accounting of 
> "slaps" and punches is disconcerting, to say the least.  I've had the 
> unfortunate "honor" in my rabbinate of working with abused 
> women, as well as 
> writing and speaking on the topic.  It is not pretty!  And 
> there is a mi-ut 
> ha-nikkar even in our circles (across the Orthodox spectrum) 
> in which abuse 
> is found.  The denial of the problem, by rabbanim and baalei 
> battim alike, is 
> a serious issue-- and has dangerous consequences for the 
> safety of women and 
> children.  Likewise, lack of understanding, sensitivity and 
> compassion is 
> rampant.  Let's continue the discussion, but with greater 
> discretion and 
> respect.  Who knows who else reads these posts and what 
> opinions they may 
> form of this group of lamdanim?  Who knows what effect our 
> loose language may 
> have on our sensitivities and perspectives?
> Sorry for the mussar.  I feel that the high level of 

No need to apologize. Good mussar is always in good taste.

> discussion of this 
> group-- intellectually and morally-- needs to be maintained.
> Mark Dratch

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Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 17:53:37 EDT
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Re: metziyus and halacha

>>>1)  Would an astologer modify his beliefs regarding the "4" elements in 
light of
Mendelyev's  periodic table of elements?
2) Would an accupuncturist change his model of the meridians based upon 
contemporary anatomy?
3) Would an herbalist research chemically based pharmeceuticals?
4) Would a naturopath alter his dieteray recommnedations in light of the 
research paper re: brna muffins and colon cancer? 
Within their alterntative paradigms, certain elements of science are largely 
irrelevant, no?
If these practitionaers are successful because they are faithful to their 
mesora, why are we any less faithful to our mesorah?<<<

The claims of astrology, herbal medicine, and other such non-scientific 
approaches have never been verified and are viewed by most of the world as at 
best quackery, at worst, hoaxes.  Do you wish to lump divrei Chazal into that 

A concrete example: see Chulin 126b.  Do you believe that mice spontaneously 
generate from dirt?  As for a non-literal reading: given the historical fact 
that spontaneous generation would be logical to a contemporary ofg Chazal's 
in the 4-5 century, is there any reason to assume they held such a different 

There are countless articles on these topics by the likes of Isaac Asimov and 
Stephen Jay Gould (among others.  I just like their writing).  The issue is 
similar to the debate between creationists and scientists: it more and moire 
looks like a choice between bad science and good, rather then between equally 
valid scientific viewpoints (Gould makes this point in every other book he 

I dislike the approach some advocate of dismissing chazakos about human 
behavior and science as wrong, but advocating adherence to halacha based on 
principles of ain B"D yachol l'vatel, etc.  Aside from technical halachic 
issues, the approach reduces haalcha to an artificial reality that does not 
engage the real world as we live in it.  However, I find equally disturbing 
the claim that Chazal were privy to scientific secrets that the world only 
knew centuries later - it makes for poor forced readings of too many texts.  
Somewhere in the middle there is room to embrace accurate science as well as 
halachic legitimacy; I make no pretense to knowing the details of how to work 
it out.

Good Shabbos!


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Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 17:58:45 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: koach d'heteira

 > Finally, on a somewhat different but related topic, how do those who are
 > hashkaphically predisposed to be mahmir interpret the principle koah
 > d'heteira adif?
 While I am not predisposed to be machmir, the quote is out of context. It
 is specific to the preferred style of editing a Mishna, not an Hashkafic
 viewpoint.  >>
As I understand it:

Rav A holds X is assur (even bdeieved) and Rav B holds X is Mutar 
L'chatchila. How do you present the disagreement? If you say a case of 
Bdieved and Rav A says assur and Rav B says mutar, then you don't see how far 
Rav B is matir(even Lchatchila), if you say a case of lchatchila and Rav A 
says assur , then you don't see how far he assirs(even bdeieved). Coach 
dhetera says show how far the matir is matir.

Shabbat shalom
Joel Rich

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Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 16:03:17 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Yir'as shomayim and Psak

On Fri, 4 Jun 1999 richard_wolpoe@ibi.com wrote:

> Granted. And voice lessons might be pre-condition for a good singing
> voice but I would not wnat my chazan to perform vocal excercises while
> davening! 

You are right. I used the wrong word. It is not just a precondition, but
rather a critical and essential component of the psak process. No she'eila
- from the brocho on corn flakes to hetter agunos - may be paskened
without halachic acumen functioning in tandem with YS.

A Posek not exercising the quest for YS as an integral - albeit subtle -
component of the process, is like the Chazzan who knows the words, but not
the nusach.


Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
ygb@aishdas.org, http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila

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Date: Sat, 5 Jun 1999 21:58:20 EDT
From: TROMBAEDU@aol.com
Re: metziyus and halacha

In a message dated 6/4/99 5:54:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time, C1A1Brown@aol.com 

 The claims of astrology, herbal medicine, and other such non-scientific 
 approaches have never been verified and are viewed by most of the world as 
 best quackery, at worst, hoaxes.  Do you wish to lump divrei Chazal into 
 category?  >>

Just as an aside, I would suggest you keep your uninformed opinions about 
herbalists, acupuncturists, etc. to yourself. Quite frankly, we are too self 
righteous about most of our on topic discussions, let's not extend that too 
off topic asides....


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