Avodah Mailing List

Volume 03 : Number 121

Monday, July 12 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 12:12 +0200
From: BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il
Re: Top doctor

I checked the NISHMAT AVRAHAM Yoreh Deah Siman 336 and it seems that the
CHIDA in Shiorei Beracha Orach Chaim 328 s"k aleph calls any doctor with
a *license* a MUMCHEH. Yet Harav Valdenberg in Ramat Rachel Siman 22 insists
that any intern/junior resident with any question whatsoever must get a
consultation with a senior resident or staff physician.

As someone who teaches a course at the Faculty of Medicine entitled
"Evidence based medicine", I see a possible conflict with the literal wording
of what Rav Valdenberg wrote. The basic premise of evidence based medicine
is that one takes NOTHING for granted; nothing is obvious. Every step of the
diagnosis and therapy must be based on proven clinical trials rather than on
what an *expert* says on the basis of his clinical acumen. Thus, I would
guess that the newly trained doctors who have been exposed to evidence based
medicine are halachically required to verify and validate the standard
diagnostic and treatment protocols by accessing (through the Internet !)
the databases on clinical trials.

I will ask Rav Dr. Avraham Sofer (NISHMAT AVRAHAM) his psak on this.


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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 15:48 +0200
From: RWERMAN@vms.huji.ac.il

Ba'al haTurim [Orah Hayim 169] mentions old wine in Tamuz [yayin
yashan b'tkufat tamuz] as --together with fatty meat-- excluded
from the principle that all food served must be offered immediately
to the waiter.

Does anyone know what he has in mind?  Neither the mehaber nor
any of the m'pharshim seem to take up on this.  I think it might
be related to the yayin tamim of the Shevu'ot sacrifices [parashat
Pinhas], concentrated and spiced after a year's aging; the new
wine is already ready soon after Pesah.

Thanks for any help.

__Bob Werman

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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 09:59:27 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com

In a message dated 7/11/99 8:48:28 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
RWERMAN@vms.huji.ac.il writes:

> Ba'al haTurim [Orah Hayim 169] mentions old wine in Tamuz [yayin
>  yashan b'tkufat tamuz] as --together with fatty meat-- excluded
>  from the principle that all food served must be offered immediately
>  to the waiter.
>  Does anyone know what he has in mind?  Neither the mehaber 

See Rashi on Kessubos 61a.

Kol Tuv

Yitzchok Zirkind  

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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 10:28:01 -0400 (EDT)
From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@ymail.yu.edu>
R. Soloveitchik & Aggadta

1. In the early years, R. Soloveitchik did devote substantial time to
Aggadta when it came up. R. Zelo Schussheim z"l had detailed notes, which
R. Schachter urged him to publish. R. Schussheim asked me to help him work
the notes into publishable English form. Unfortunately he died before we
finished. I published some selections in Hamevaser (circa 1989).

2. In his later years, the Rav devoted one summer to giving shiurim on
Avot d'Rabbi Nathan instead of Gemara. On yahrzeit he usually spent the
day learning Mishnayot, and frequently discussed the first perek of Avot
(Moshe kibbel) in memory of his father. (Of course I omit all shiurim and
lectures he gave in other "slots.")

3. The Rav once told me that he used to deliver serious discourses on
Aggadta but stopped because nobody had the intellectual breadth and depth
to understand him ("They had no idea about the questions, let alone the
answers."). On one occasion in the 1970's he began to discuss an issue of
hashkafa that came up tangentially in connection with the Gemara, but one
of the people sitting in the room interjected a sevara that the Rav found
morally repulsive and when he was finished yelling he refused to continue
with the subject.

4. The Rav frequently made sarcastic comments when someone tried to make
him address questions he wasn't interested in at the moment. One of the
first shiurim I heard from him dealt with the Baal haMaor & Ramban about
the issur of wearing shoes on Yom Kippur. Someone tried to steer the shiur
to halakha l'maaseh matters and was firmly told to ask his neighborhood
shoe salesman! (Other times, after making similar sarcastic reactions, he
consented to set aside a separate session to answer practical questions
arising from the subject matter).

[On a tangent: R. Bechoffer's distinction between the Brisker temperament
and that associated with the Hazon Ish touches on some deep points.

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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 11:02:02 -0400 (EDT)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@icase.edu>
daf yomi

Why can a wife die because her husband did not fulfill a vow?
(How about if the wife doesn't fulfill her vow?).

Eli Turkel

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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 11:10:18 -0400 (EDT)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@icase.edu>
R. Lichtenstein and Brisk

>>  perhaps only someone as great as R. Lichtenstein can absorb
>> truly integrate secular studies with Torah (being able to separate the
>> wheat from the chaff, and being able to identify how a particular idea
>> of Milton accords with a certain ma'amar chazal).

> This, however, again, is not the Brisker approach, as they hold staunchly
> of yeridas ha'doros since R' Chaim - to the extent that both RYBS and RAS
> hold that their father was greater than themselves.

R. Lichtenstein was asked a shaila and after the kulah answer
the questioner mentioned that Rav Soloveitchik was machmir.
Rav Lichtenstein responded " Rav Soloveitchik was a Brisker, I am not"

BTW RYBS father, Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, quoted his son during his
shiurim, so I don't know what that implies about yeridas hodoros.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 11:09:56 -0400 (EDT)
From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@ymail.yu.edu>
To think or not to think

As a non-scholar in the field of Shakespearian studies and the 16th
century as a whole, it seems to me, nonetheless, that many scholars and
theater people have gone too far in trying to sanitize the play. True,
Shylock is a three dimensional human being, in a way that Marlowe's Jew of
Malta is not. True, Shakespeare's criticism of Gentile Venetian society is
sharp. But none of this makes S one of hasidei ummot ha-olam.

Shakespeare in no way challenges the customary cliches about Christianity
as religion of love, Judaism of justice. But this generalization is alive
and well today, perhaps less in standard Christian theology than in
feminist ideology. It would be nice if all of us could live in a nice
cocoon, where we would neither know of nor internalize these ideas. Anyone
reading these lines, however, has been exposed to these notions. The
question is whether we want to confront such attitudes in others and in
ourselves, or pretend that they don't exist.

What is just as interesting is the tendency of "enlightened" opinion to
apologize for Shakespeare. Naturally, given our admiration for S's
literary power and psychological penetration, we like to be "dan l'kaf
zekhut," to look away from his deficiencies and put him on a pedestal. But
maturity requires honesty. If one doesn't want to confront the truth, then
one doesn't need Shakespeare: it's pleasanter to stick with Barney and
Olamenu. But by that token, it would be much more pleasant if we could
replace the Ribbono shel Olam with something warm and cuddly (which is
exactly what our American neighbors have done with Santa Claus).

If the "Has not a Jew eyes" speech sounds cloying, it is in part because
repetition makes everything into a cliche (including "To be or not to
be"). But if actors find it difficult to overcome the challenge of the
speech, it is largely because there is too much pressure to "political
correctness" connected with it. Again, the problems of dealing with
cliches, whitewashing unpleasant utterances and so forth affect our
lives on an everyday basis. We do not have the luxury of ignoring our
inner lives and our responses to the world. This self-awareness is
precisely what we need to bring with us if we want to re-conform our lives
in accordance with what the Ribbono shel Olam demands of us.

John Gross, in his history of Shylock interpretations, tells of a recent
performance in which the absent-minded Shylock said "If you tickle us, do
we not bleed?" and everyone was so accustomed to the correct speech that
nobody laughed. It occurred to me that in real life we often bleed when we
are tickled. By which I mean that we take offense when we are forced to
think seriously about our deficiencies and difficulties. It is the
terrible curse of Modern Orthodoxy to minimize the conflict between avodat
haShem and the culture in which we find ourselves. It is the terrible
curse of "the right" to pretend that such conflict is between "us" and
"them" and the battlefront does not within our own souls.

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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 20:34:25 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Re: Darius & Persian Kings

In c3n117, Eli Turkel <turkel@icase.edu> asks about Daris:
:    According to one answer he built the Temple for his own honor and
:    so that G-d would help him and his children. Tosafot asks that such
:    deeds are still considered righteous. Tosafot answers that this applies
:    only to Jews not gentiles.
:    But Darius was indeed Jewish !!! (the son of Queen Esther).

I would therefore argue that Tosfos mean "this applies only to people who
believe in Judaism, not someone whose faith is non-Jewish". I admit this
is a k'neitch into Tosfos' words, but I don't think even the most diehard
Reform skeptic would claim that Tosfos believed in patrilineal descent.
So if they're calling Darius a non-Jew, it must be his religion/beliefs, not
his membership in K'lal Yisrael.

: 3. I am also bothered philosophically by the idea that a nonJew is not
:    considered righteous unless his motives are purely for the worship of
:    G-d.

My previous comment would make understanding this point much easier. We're
saying (merely) that someone who doesn't believe in Judaism presumably acts
from the wrong motives.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 11-Jul-99: Cohen, Devarim
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 336:31-37
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 5b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Melachim-I 8

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Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 20:50:09 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Re: Nature and medicine

In v3n117, Mark Feldman <mfeldman@CM-P.COM> writes:
: R. Bloch had a more positive view of nature.  Hashem has decided to 
: constrain Himself and run the world according to natural law.  Therefore, 
: hishtadlut actually accomplishes the result, since Hashem has decided to 
: run the world that way.  Of course, since it is Hashem who is actually 
: causing the result, nothing happens from hishtadlut if the person does not 
: merit the result.

I"m not sure what you're saying here. Please clarify. If Hashem is "actually
causing the result" then how does this position differ from R' Dessler's?

The Rambam clearly believed in teva as a real entity, as he speaks (Moreh
III:17) of people who don't merit hashgachah p'ratis and are abandoned to
(check the Avodah archives, we've discussed this position more than once).

: It would seem that R. Avigdor Miller is following R. Dessler on this issue. 

No big surprise there, I'm convinced R' Dessler's hashkafos basically define
belief of the contemporary Ashkenazi misnagi masses.


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 11-Jul-99: Cohen, Devarim
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 336:31-37
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 5b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Melachim-I 8

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Date: Mon, 12 Jul 1999 08:59:18 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Flood - Introduction

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


In the current issue of "Tradition" - that contains several 
submissions by distinguished chaverim of Avodah/Aishdas, there is 
a troubling essay about Gan Eden and the Mabul. The essay, 
written by R' Shubert Spero, argues the case that these passages 
are allegorical in nature. There was a significant correspondence 
on the matter back in late 1994 (time flies when you are having 
fun!) on Mail-Jewish. For the benefit of those who are unaware of 
that correspondence, I am here posting some of the major posts. 
For the benefit of those who are aware of that correspondence, I 
have attempted to be brief and exclude as much of the 
correspondence as possible. The selection, however, still had to
be divided over several posts. The balance is in the MJ archives: 
"Dirshu me'al sefer Hashem v'kir'u." 

I am not sure whether to write a Letter to the Editor of 
Tradition or not. I would normally do so, but way back, I 
believe, in 1991, I wrote a Letter to the Editor of "Jewish 
Action" concerning R' Spero's review essay on R' Norman Lamm's 
"Torah U'Madda", and I am loathe to attack him again, even in the 
service of a cause that I feel integral and central to Yahadus. 

As the Editor and Consulting Editor of Tradition are members of 
our little society, I bring this to their respective attentions: 
Perhaps the conversation that will ensue here (doubtless!) on 
this point will be fodder for a reaappraisal in a subsequent 
issue of Tradition. 

While the names of the participants are explicit in the MJ 
archives, I have nonetheless chosen to change those other than my 
own to those of the Shevatim, for the benefit of those who will 
consider the position opposed to my own as dubious to say the 
least, and, if they choose then not to look up the MJ archives, 
will be spared the knowledge of who said what when. 

Although many points discussed then should probably be modified 
for the purposes of discussing R' Spero's essay, I leave that for 
a later date. 

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer 

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