Avodah Mailing List

Volume 03 : Number 139

Wednesday, July 28 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 19:27:05 -0400
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Subject:
Bal Tosif


>Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 17:23:14 EDT
>From: Yzkd@aol.com
>Subject: Re: Bal Tosif
>
>If it was received already I apologize for the duplicate. YZ
		I can't resist:  is this Bal tosif?

Gershon


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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 19:26:09 -0400
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Subject:
R'eh zeh peleh


>R' Micha asked recently aobut mitzvos that particularly have impact on 
>our respective selves. I answered that we are socialized to Torah as the
>ultimate "high". R' Micha countered that he was looking for some 
>responses on a practical level. Yet - re'eh zeh peleh! - no one actually
gave a practical response!
	With all due respect,   responses on *how*  to improve one's Avodah
Shebelev, (not which nigun you like best) are well within the parameters
of Micha's request,  at least as I understood it.  Micha,  please step in
here.

Gershon


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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 18:33:14 -0500 (CDT)
From: Saul J Weinreb <sweinr1@uic.edu>
Subject:
The Beer Mayim chayim's Teshuvah


Reb Moshe asked where Rav Chaim Chernovitzer's teshuvah can be found.
It is printed in the front of his sefer on massechess brachos, "shaar
hatefillah".  It is not easy to find but it is an extremely important
teshuvah.  It was the "official" Chassidic response to 
the Noda Beyehuda's famous attack on chassidus and the leshem yichud.  It
is also a rare example of an early chassidic leader, not known for his
halachic
prowess, demonstrating incredible bekius and halachic ability.  It is very
long, but he basically investigates the subject of Mitzvos Tzerichos
Kavanah, and talks about the importance of adding some spirit to the
mitzvah you are performing.
Shaul Weinreb


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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 18:36:42 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject:
Re: Allegorization


On Mon, 26 Jul 1999, MARK FELDMAN wrote:

> In response to RYGB, who has challenged us to answer RZW:
> 
> On Tue, 20 Jul 1999, Zvi Weiss wrote:
> 
> 1. The lack of support in Rishonim.  As has been pointed out, the
> Seforno seems to be the "most liberal" and HE is pretty circumspect.  >>
> <snip>
> 
> I will not repeat the various arguments on this point.  Suffice it to
> say that many of us on Avodah believe that the Rambam and others qualify
> as "support."  The Tradition article cites [Abravanel] with regard to
> the story of Eitz HaDa'at. 
> 

I still have not seen an argument on this point at all. I hope there are
not many on Avodah that believe there is such a Rambam (or that elusive
"and others") as it has been demonstrated here not to exist.

The Abarbanel is not a Rishon, and he does not, c"v, allegorize Gan Eden
either. As he says (pasuk 22 d"h Ach Amanam):

"Ach amnam mahu ha'remez asher yirmoz alav ha'sippur ha'zeh MILVAD AMITUS
PESHITUSO..."

> <<3. I still do not understand the fundamental motivation for this
> approach.  I am reasonably sure (not positive) that "Science" will state
> that it is unequivocally impossible for a nation of 2,000,000+ to have
> survived 40 Years in the Desert.  "Science" will state that Water
> sufficient for such a large nation will not come out of a Rock.  Does
> anyone allegorize this?> Will people state that we should allegorize
> Yetziat Mitzraim because it is "scientifically" impossible for the
> described events to occur?  Is the plague of "Blood" really just a red
> dust that polluted the river??  >>
> 
> Certain historical aspects of Torah are fundamental to Yahadut.  Others
> are not.  Did Hashem create the world in 7 days?  Perhaps not, and it
> doesn't impact my yahadut one iota.  Same for the Mabul.  Yetziat
> Mitzraim is a different matter.  It is fundamental inasmuch as so many
> mitzvot are zecher litzi'at mitzraim. 
> 

It is, really, none other than you who decide what is allegory and what is
not. Not Chazal, nor a Rishon.

> <<If one is willing to accept OTHER "miraculous" sections of the Torah,
> I do nto understand the difficulty here.  >>
> 
> I believe in miracles.  I prefer not to believe in conspiracy theories. 
> I find it difficult to believe that Hashem would make a Flood and then
> cover up all traces so that Science, in many different disciplines,
> determines that there could not have been a Flood.  Why should Hashem do
> that? 
> 

Science cannot prove something did not occur. It can only indicate what
did occur. It may simply have not yet found the sliver of a year's flood's
record in all the history of the world that geology contains. There are
scientific records that do corroborate a Flood (see Lawrence Kelemen's
evidence in "Permission to Receive"), and historical recors from many
cultures, ayain sham. I really hate to cite this, because the Torah is
truth enough, when there is not a shred of evidence to allow for
allegorization, but for those who need it, ayain od Schroeder.

> Chazal had no reason to doubt the historicity of the Flood.  We do,
> given modern Science.  Chazal seem to have accepted other parts of the
> Torah as absolute fact, while the Rambam allegorized them.  E.g., pi
> ha'aton, which chazal say was created bain hashmashot and the Rambam
> says was just a dream. 
> 

I merely note that we have refuted this point several times already here.

YGB

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: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 19:36:59 -0400
From: Sholem Berger <bergez01@med.nyu.edu>
Subject:
Mitsvos maysios


I'm mostly a lurker (heard the great sipurey tsadikim about the Lurker Rebbe? always in hisboydedus), I thought I'd rise to the challenge.

An example of what I very much enjoy (apart from talmud torah and tefilah) is the first kiddush in the suke, when each of two mitsves is set in the frame of the other: the kiddush, an at-least-twice-weekly phenomenon, is more powerful in the suke's frame of reference, and the suke, a temporary structure, is made more heymish by the comforting tones of kiddush.  

I also really like being eydes on a ksube, but that doesn't really fit the category.

Sholem Berger


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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 20:07:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject:
Re: What Moves Us


I recently posted WRT learning, that I wonder how much of the attraction to
learning -- and the excitement it generates -- is religious, and how much is
inherent in intellectual persuits. IOW, if our culture would have us delving
into Tensor Calculus would we get the same emotional response?

One lurker emailed me with a parallel question. Most responders commented on
specific parts of tefillah, or tunes for tefillah, etc.. How much of that
emotional response is religious, and how much is just getting carried along with
the tune? IOW, when one is on an emotional high from singing along with the
chazan's "Mimkomcha malkeinu", is one also on a religious high? Is the source
of the emotion because a connection to HKBH is being made -- or is it merely an
instinctive reponse to the song?

I'm not introspective enough to answer.

While on this topic, I strongly disagree with RYGB's comment that:
:                                                    no one actually gave a
: practical response! The conversation actually then turned to what part of
: the liturgy is uplifting and inspirational to respective individuals. But,
: Rabbosai, davening is not a mitzva ma'asis!

Practical equals ma'aseh? If people find that tefillah, in particular sung
tefillah, is the most moving part of their avodas Hashem, than we have a
solid piece of practical advice: We need to allocate more time to tefillah,
so that we can spend more time singing and contemplating it. *Perhaps*
even at the expense of some of the time spent on other mitzvos.

About Eli Clark's observation on the "curse of routinization". Solutions to the
problem can very well devolve into the new routine. Particularly if we're
discussing solutions offered by multi-generational movements, like Chassidus.
While the original Chassidus may have offered a route to more meaning in mitzvos
ma'asiyos, the "lisheim yichud" I tend to witness people saying before counting
omer on a weeknight ma'ariv, or sitting down to chol hamo'ed Succos dinner, is
one more bit of hurried uncontemplated davening. (Also, very ironically, RYGB's
example of bringing meaning to a ma'aseh mitzvah involves adding tefilah to
it!)

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 27-Jul-99: Shelishi, Eikev
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 345:7-13
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 13b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Kuzari V 9-12


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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 19:09:14 -0500 (CDT)
From: Saul J Weinreb <sweinr1@uic.edu>
Subject:
The Munkatcher


I was always familiar with the vehemently anti-zionist philosophy of the
Minchas Elazar, but I was quite taken aback by the teshuvah which Reb eli
posde for us.  I had never heard this before.  By the way, I previously
posted on this list several months ago, that another talmid muvhak of the
Minchas Elazar also stated that he would have changed his mind had he seen
the holocaust.
Rav Yitzchok Sternhill ZT'L Rav in Baltimore, author of SHUT Kochvei
Yitzchok, was a talmid muvhak of the Minchas Elazar.  He agreed with the
Em HaBanim Semeichah that he would have changed many of his opinions had
he seen the holocaust.  Maybe these talmidei Chachamim knew something
about their rebbe that we could never know.  However, it is still shocking
to hear those words coming from a gadol beYisrael.
Shaul Weinreb


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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 19:17:46 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject:
Re: What Moves Us


On Tue, 27 Jul 1999, Micha Berger wrote:

> While on this topic, I strongly disagree with RYGB's comment that:
> :                                                    no one actually gave a
> : practical response! The conversation actually then turned to what part of
> : the liturgy is uplifting and inspirational to respective individuals. But,
> : Rabbosai, davening is not a mitzva ma'asis!
> 
> Practical equals ma'aseh? If people find that tefillah, in particular
> sung tefillah, is the most moving part of their avodas Hashem, than we
> have a solid piece of practical advice: We need to allocate more time to
> tefillah, so that we can spend more time singing and contemplating it.
> *Perhaps* even at the expense of some of the time spent on other
> mitzvos. 
> 

Sheesh! A little latitude, gentlemen (RMBerger and RGDubin), please!

"Practical" here is not me'lashon useful or helpful, but me'lashon
practice - so far as I can tell, the English translation of "mitzva
ma'asis" is "practical mitzva", no?

That having been said, RSBerger reminds me that there are flashes of
inspiration (here, not meant me'lashon creativity but me'lashon
upliftedness) in those silent moments of eating Matzas Mitzva,
concentrating on R' Tzadok's writings about "meichla d'asvasa" etc., and,
to a lesser extent, for some fleeting moments sitting in the tzila
d'heimnusa of the Sukka.

If we don't get too hung up on the language, perhaps we can assemble here
some meaningful kavanos for mitzvos ma'asios (practical suggestions for
practical mitzvos) to enhance our Avodah (me'lashon Avodas Hashem).


YGB

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: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 20:31:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@idt.net>
Subject:
Re: Allegorization


> ------------------------------
> 
> Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 11:44:17 -0400
> From: "MARK FELDMAN" <mfeldman@cm-p.com>
> Subject: Allegorization
> 
> In response to RYGB, who has challenged us to answer RZW:

===> I am pleased to see responses but I believe that they require
clarification.


> 
> On Tue, 20 Jul 1999, Zvi Weiss wrote:
> 
> <<The discussion of allegorization has brought out two points that I have
> NOT seen well-addressed by those who think that allegorization is a proper
> approach.
> 
> 1. The lack of support in Rishonim.  As has been pointed out, the Seforno
> seems to be the "most liberal" and HE is pretty circumspect.  >>
> <snip>
> 
> I will not repeat the various arguments on this point.  Suffice it to say 
> that many of us on Avodah believe that the Rambam and others qualify as 
> "support."  The Tradition article cites [Abravanel] with regard to the 
> story of Eitz HaDa'at.

===> Basically, this sounds a lot like "I want to allegorize -- and now
let me find *someone* to tie onto.  consider: NO Rishon felt constrained
to allegorize the story of the Mabul.  Consider: Rambam -- on whom people
"jump" for support gave a *theoretical* construct and actually did NOT
apply it.  At the same time, the *negative* POV in Rishonim seems
definitive.  To choose to rely upon "hints" and extapolations in the face
of *explicit* counter approaches appears problematic.


> 
> <<3. I still do not understand the fundamental motivation for this 
> approach.
> I am reasonably sure (not positive) that "Science" will state that it is
> unequivocally impossible for a nation of 2,000,000+ to have survived 40
> Years in the Desert.  "Science" will state that Water sufficient for such
> a large nation will not come out of a Rock.  Does anyone allegorize this?>
> Will people state that we should allegorize Yetziat Mitzraim because it is
> "scientifically" impossible for the described events to occur?  Is the
> plague of "Blood" really just a red dust that polluted the river??  >>
> 
> Certain historical aspects of Torah are fundamental to Yahadut.  Others are 
> not.  Did Hashem create the world in 7 days?  Perhaps not, and it doesn't 
> impact my yahadut one iota.  Same for the Mabul.  Yetziat Mitzraim is a 
> different matter.  It is fundamental inasmuch as so many mitzvot are zecher 
> litzi'at mitzraim.

===> So, if something seems to you to be "fundamental", then you will
"decide" to accept "literally" -- and if somethng seems to be
"non-fundamental", then you will decide to allegorize...  Seems to reduce
Emudan to a matter of personal comfort.  Let me ask: *Why* is Yetziat
Mitzraim so "fundamental"?  What is "wrong" with saying that it is all
allegory regarding the manner in which G-d watches over the Am Yisrael?
The fact that mitzvot are "zecher" only emphasize the "theological"
significance...  I find that approach to be inadequate.



> 
> <<If one is willing to accept OTHER "miraculous" sections of the Torah, I 
> do nto
> understand the difficulty here.  >>
> 
> I believe in miracles.  I prefer not to believe in conspiracy theories.  I 
> find it difficult to believe that Hashem would make a Flood and then cover 
> up all traces so that Science, in many different disciplines, determines 
> that there could not have been a Flood.  Why should Hashem do that?
===> The approach is from the wrong end.  *If* you assume that the
Biblical Mabul follows the "physical Laws" of floods, then you are
"forced" into "conspiracy theories".  If, however, you assume that this
flood -- while being just that -- did not follow "phuysical laws because
the entire event was "unnatural", then there is no need to consider a
"conspiracy theory".  If ChaZaL say that fish survived in *boiling water*,
that should tell you right away, that this is not a "regular" event
anyway. (BTW, the Netziv believes that *fossils* are actually *remnants*
of the flood!  He has his own explanation but clearly does not seem to
"suffer" the same problem.]


> 
> <<Especially when we see ChaZaL who state
> that "the seasons" *did not* operate during the year of the Flood.  Were
> they ALSO speaking in "allegory"?  Seems to me that THEY accepted the
> flood as "real"...  >>
> 
> Chazal had no reason to doubt the historicity of the Flood.  We do, given 
> modern Science.
> Chazal seem to have accepted other parts of the Torah as absolute fact, 
> while the Rambam allegorized them.  E.g., pi ha'aton, which chazal say was 
> created bain hashmashot and the Rambam says was just a dream.

===> There are two objections here.  first of all, ChaZaL did not simply
"believe in the flood", they described it as "supra-scientific".  Thus, it
does not seem adequate to state that this is only because ChaZaL did not
have the "benefit" of "modern science".  ChaZaL cited pesukim to explain
aspects of what was going on.  In effect, one isnow saying that akll of
ChaZaL's understandings of these verses is incorrect.  I find that a bit
problematic.  Second, the choice to allegorize something like the "Pi
Ha'Aton" (and saying that is was a dream is NOT the same as allegorizing
it as was mentioned earlier) is based upon INTERNAL issues in the Torah,
itself.  For example, why does the Torah not mention the other people WITH
Bila'am when the donkey spoke?  Also, the use of ChaZaL does not directly
contradict the "dream" sequence.  That is, while the Gemara states *what*
the Aton said to Bilaam (based upon pesukim), this could have clearly been
"within" the sequence that Bila'am experienced.  So, here the motivation
is different -- internal to Torah, itself -- and also NOT in direct
contradiction to ChaZaL.  I do not see that the case over here.


> 
> <<If they could, why do WE (or some of us )have a
> problem simply saying that this happened and that Science can not [yet]
> excplain it?>>
> 
> That's possible, but very improbable.  I refer you to other posters who 
> talked about when to "trust" that Science has got it right and when to 
> believe that the issue is still in a state of flux.  I'm no expert, but it 
> seems that here, given the data from various fields, it seems that unlikely 
> that the Flood can co-exist with future scientific findings.

===> It is only "improbably" because of the great level to which we have
elevated "science".  If science were to "prove" that Matan Torah could
NEVER have taken place, then the logic stated here would force you to
"allegorize" the entire event "because science said so"...
I *think* that the great "reverence" in which we hold "science" is a
legitimate issue here.  G-d gave us an intellect to delve into the world
and try to understand that.  At the same time, there is always the concept
os "the 50th gate of knowledge" ... that we strive for understanding and
we do not always achieve it.  Seems to me that the latter is lacking here.
Put differently:
If someone showed a "scientist" a food item prepared in a microwave oven
and told that "scientist" that the food had been prepared in "x" minutes
when the "scientist" had always "known" that the food took "y" minutes..
would you say that there was a "conspiracy theory" because the scientist
did not knwo about the "microwave"?  Or, rather would you simply say that
the scientist was missing information??  I do not claim to knwo *how*
miracles "work" but I think that it represents a certain degree of
arrogance on OUR part to insist that the miracle "must" subsequently
"behave" in certain ways....

> 
> The question is: why must we believe be'emunah shleima in improbable 
> things?  Christian Fundamentalists do that with regard to ma'aseh breishit 
> (and teach Creationism literally).  Orthodox Judaism is more liberal in 
> this regard.

===> The issue is not "believeing in improbably things" -- the issue is
elevating OUR "logic" to be superior to that of ChaZal and most
[possibly all] Rishonim.  To turn mental gymnastics of searching out
Rishonim who "hint" at some sort of allegory -- and even then in only the
most limited way -- seems more an exercise to confirm one's own
intellectual superiority than anything else.  
I am willing to state that I simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND what has occurred in
the Torah -- but accept that the Torah is reporting an ACTUAL event --
rather than distort the Torah just to feel more "intellectually secure".

==> If we do not "copy" the xian fundamentalists, it is because they are
looking at the words of the Torah without the guidance of Torah She'b'al
Peh -- not because we retain the "right" to twist the Torah into whatever
we want.  When Aryeh Kaplan ZT"L was discussing the age of the Universe,
he did not simply appeal to intellect, he found *source texts* that were
more than simply "hints".  One can disagree, of course -- but THIS is an
example of "liberalism" within the Mesorah.  I would like to see if serous
source texts can be found to back up the "allegorical" approach to the
Mabul.  If not, maybe it measn that it is NOT such a suitable method.
While it may be OK for "Ketanim" -- [people who are still trying to find
their way in Yahadus] -- as a way-station while they "build themselves
up", ultimately, it seems that one's avodas Hashem and emunah should allow
them to say that they understand Torah *within* the parameters that we
havce received. 


Further, that logic provides every excuse to deny EVERY miraculous event
in Torah -- regardless of whether it is an "ikar ha'emunah" or not...  I
think that there is a lot of "liberalism" in terms of working WITHIN the
Mesorah and I am certianly not willing to describe people as "heretics"
BUT I think that there is a certain "ego issue" that has to be resolved --
rather than hide behind the slogan of "liberalism".
--Zvi

> 
> Kol tuv,
> Moshe Feldman


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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 21:01:02 -0400 (EDT)
From: micha@aishdas.org (Micha Berger)
Subject:
Web site addition


I got to the point where I feel comfortable releaing a "beta" version of a
project I've been working on for months: "Ashirah Lashem" -- a siddur for
Friday Night davening.

Features:
- The nusach of R' YB Soloveitchik, with explantion where he diverges from
  Ashkenaz.
- Every sh'va na and kamatz katan is marked according to the Gaon's rules.
- Trup is printed for every paragraph or phrase quoted from Tanach as a second
  guide to punctuation.
- A commentary I put together myself from the words of the Rav, R' SR Hirsch and
  the Vilna Gaon.
- Two appendices with thoughts on Birchas Avos and the first paragraph of Shema.

http:/www.aishdas.org/siddur_bk.pdf contains the siddur formatted as a booklet,
to be stapled down the middle of the page. http://www.aishdas.org/siddur_pg.pdf
contains the same text, one page per sheet.

Remember, though, that this is only beta. I reviewed the text itself numerous
times, but it still might have a flaw or two. I'm less confident about the
clarity and accuracy of the commentary -- not to mention my usual creative
spelling and grammar. Any feedback you may have is very welcome.


While on the subject of web site additions... I very much like R' YGB's
suggestion that we share kavanos for various mitzvos ma'asiyos. To the extent
that I'd like to post them on the site in a place more prominent than being
buried in the Avodah archives. If you share an idea with the list that you would
/not/ want on the site, please let me know.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 27-Jul-99: Shelishi, Eikev
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H O"Ch 345:7-13
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 13b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         Kuzari V 9-12


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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 18:15:32 -0700 (PDT)
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
Subject:
Re: Allegorization


RYGB claims that no Rishonim permitted allegorization.  I don't have
the time to go through all the posts on this topic, but here are some
quotes disputing RYGB.  

Jonathan Baker noted:
<<Another data point: the Meiri in Avos on megaleh panim shelo
kehalacha.
<snip>
He gives three categories:
1) things which can only be understood as allegories (sodot hatorah);
these include various points of narrative which contradict common
sense and (our understanding of) physical reality.  He brings as an
example the claim that the Dor Haflagah wanted to build a tower "to
heaven" - this cannot be literally true, so it is clearly hyperbole.
<snip>
>>

Meir Shinnar note:
<<The question, though, is even if we accept a ban on allegorization,
does it
extend to the mabul?  There seems agreement that there is room for
allegorical
interpretation of ma'aseh breshit.  As Rav Berger asked, are there
sources that
extend ma'aseh breshit past vayechulu?  There clearly seems sources
to support
it at least for gan eden (Sforno, rav Kook).  The article on
Tradition,when
discussing allegorical interprtation of the mabul, specifically says
it might be
permissible because the mabul is before the avot, where real history
starts.  He
too rejects extending the allegory to the avot (one of rav
Bechhofer's main
complaints) This approach - allegory acceptable before the avot - can
be be
found explicitly in rav zvi Yehuda Kook.
Rav Zvi Yehuda Kook says that history begins with the avot, and that
everything
before them is "para history", and that the issur of en dorshin
bema'aseh
breshit applies up the end of parshat Noah.  This is brought
specifically with
regard to the issue of potential conflicts with science.I do >>

Eli Clark wrote:
<<Indeed, I think I will, with your permission, return to my original
suggestion that allegorization is an example of parshanut and cannot
be
subsumed under the concept of Mesorah.  I will, I think, maintain
this
position until I am confronted by an authoritative source that
indicates
otherwise.  Finally, I will note that R. Avraham ibn Ezra's hakdamah
to
his Perush al ha-Torah lists a number of approaches to parshanut and
includes allegorization among them.
>>

[While RYGB argued back that the Ibn Ezra rejected allegorization as
a method of parshanut, I assume--without having looked at the
source--that one might counter that Ibn Ezra didn't reject because he
viewed it as apikorsut but because of parshanut reasons.]

Quote from Rav AY Kook (from Meir Shinnar):
<<The main points were already said by the
rishonim, and at their head in the Moreh Nevuchim (footnote to part I
chap 71,
part II chapters 15,16, 25, and to look at part III chapter 3), and
today we are
willing to expand this even further (leharchiv et hadevarim yoter). 
We have no
concern (nafka mina) if in truth there was ever in the real world
(olam
hameziut) a golden age, when man enjoyed both physical and spiritual
wealth, or
whether existence started out in actuality from the bottom to the
top, from the
bottom of the scale of creation to its top, and it continues to rise.
 We only
have to know that there is a complete possibility (efsharut gemura),
that man
even if he rises to a great height, and will be ready for all honor
and
pleasure, if he shall destroy his ways he could lose all that he has,
and cause
harm to himself and his descendants for many generation, and this we
learn from
the occurrence (uvda), of manís existence in Gan Eden and his sin and
exile. 
 And the master of all souls knows how deeply this needs to be
implanted in the
hearts of men to be careful from sin, and according to this depth
indeed came so
many letters about this in the Torah of truth.  >>


Kol tuv,
Moshe
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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 21:54:38 EDT
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Subject:
Re: Beit Lechem


Most maps indicate that Beit Lechem is south of Yerushalyim. I understand
that some people feel that the story of the galus to Bavel would be
easier to understand if it were north of Yerushalayim instead. I have
been very suprprised to hear that the city which most maps call "Beit
Lechem" is not the same Beit Lechem as the one where Rachel Imenu is
buried.

I think it is common knowledge that contemporary Bnei Brak was built from
scratch in a location which was estimated to approximate the Bnei Brak of
Rabbi Akiva. I had been under the impression that contemporary Beit
Lechem was of an entirely different nature. I thought that Beit Lechem
has been populated without interruption, from before the Avos and Imahos,
through the early Christian days, until today. Am I mistaken? Was today's
Beit Lechem built at some point, based on where the old Beit LEchem was
thought to be?

How long has "Beit Lechem Haglili" been around? Why is *it's* name
qualified while the southern one's is not? Is anyone worried that we'll
someday find a "Yerushalyim Haglili" with the *real* Har Habayit? Or a
"Chevron Haglili" with the *real* Machpela?

I obviously misunderstood something. Can someone tell me what it was?

Akiva Miller

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Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 21:11:25 -0500 (CDT)
From: Saul J Weinreb <sweinr1@uic.edu>
Subject:
beer Mayim Chaim's Teshuva


correction to my previous post, R' Chaim Chernovitzer's sefer "shaar
Hatefilah" is not on masseches brachos, it is about tefila (what a
surprise) but the teshuva I was referring to is there.  His sefer on
brachos is called something else but I can't remember.
Shaul Weinreb


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Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 00:46:10 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Bal Tosif


In a message dated 7/27/99 7:16:10 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
gershon.dubin@juno.com writes:

> >If it was received already I apologize for the duplicate. YZ
>  		I can't resist:  is this Bal tosif?
>  
>  Gershon
>  
Nice Chap!
Since it was done Al Hasofeik no! <g> 

Kol tuv

Yitzchok Zirkind


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Date: Wed, 28 Jul 1999 00:04:48 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject:
Re: Allegorization


On Tue, 27 Jul 1999, Moshe Feldman wrote:

> RYGB claims that no Rishonim permitted allegorization.  I don't have the
> time to go through all the posts on this topic, but here are some quotes
> disputing RYGB. 
> 

There is not a single quote in the whole post that disputes me. I will
strive for brevity.

> Jonathan Baker noted:  <<Another data point: the Meiri in Avos on
> megaleh panim shelo kehalacha.  <snip> He gives three categories:  1)
> things which can only be understood as allegories (sodot hatorah); 
> these include various points of narrative which contradict common sense
> and (our understanding of) physical reality.  He brings as an example
> the claim that the Dor Haflagah wanted to build a tower "to heaven" -
> this cannot be literally true, so it is clearly hyperbole.  <snip> >>
> 

Not at all relevant. "v'rosho ba'shamayim" or "arim gedolos u'betzuros
ba'shamyaim" are apparent guzma'os. The Talmud recognizes this in "dibra
Torah b'lashon havai", see the sugya in Tamid 29a. The same Talmud that
discusses whether Dor ha'Mabul has OH. Could have avoided the issue had
they been just smart enough to realize it's all an allegory (sorry 'bout
the sarcasm, but when I went to my Michlol to look up the dibra Torah
source the Dor ha'Mabul discussion from Sanhedrin 108-110). This is very
similar to the alleged precedent in the Rambam: Taking a tool of limited
application and different meaning and attempting to coax out of it a
foundation for allegorization.


> Meir Shinnar note:  <<The question, though, is even if we accept a ban
> on allegorization, does it extend to the mabul?  There seems agreement
> that there is room for allegorical interpretation of ma'aseh breshit. 
> As Rav Berger asked, are there sources that extend ma'aseh breshit past
> vayechulu?  There clearly seems sources to support it at least for gan
> eden (Sforno, rav Kook).  The article on Tradition,when discussing
> allegorical interprtation of the mabul, specifically says it might be
> permissible because the mabul is before the avot, where real history
> starts.  He too rejects extending the allegory to the avot (one of rav
> Bechhofer's main complaints) This approach - allegory acceptable before
> the avot - can be be found explicitly in rav zvi Yehuda Kook.  Rav Zvi
> Yehuda Kook says that history begins with the avot, and that everything
> before them is "para history", and that the issur of en dorshin
> bema'aseh breshit applies up the end of parshat Noah.  This is brought
> specifically with regard to the issue of potential conflicts with
> science.I do >>
> 

I have no idea what para-history means, and, we have noted already, that
this is a ra'aya li'stor, as it means we are forbidden to allegorize as
that is in direct violation of "ein dorshin".

> Eli Clark wrote:  <<Indeed, I think I will, with your permission, return
> to my original suggestion that allegorization is an example of parshanut
> and cannot be subsumed under the concept of Mesorah.  I will, I think,
> maintain this position until I am confronted by an authoritative source
> that indicates otherwise.  Finally, I will note that R. Avraham ibn
> Ezra's hakdamah to his Perush al ha-Torah lists a number of approaches
> to parshanut and includes allegorization among them.  >>
> 
> [While RYGB argued back that the Ibn Ezra rejected allegorization as a
> method of parshanut, I assume--without having looked at the source--that
> one might counter that Ibn Ezra didn't reject because he viewed it as
> apikorsut but because of parshanut reasons.]
> 

I certainly did not and do not accuse anyone of Apikorsus, c"v. The
sources of MPbT, as I said from the beginning, were only meant to indicate
the spirit and mindset of Chazal in these matters that Allegorization
undermines. One can be tragically mistaken, educationally ruinous, on the
brink of spiritual and theological abyss, lacking Emunas Chachomim, and
blithely disregarding Mesorah without being an Apikores. One is then, in
sum, wrong - but I will still drink non-mevushal wine that person poured.
That is how I feel about the School of Allegorization, and that is
probably how the Ibn Ezra felt as well.

> Quote from Rav AY Kook (from Meir Shinnar):  <<The main points were
> already said by the rishonim, and at their head in the Moreh Nevuchim
> (footnote to part I chap 71, part II chapters 15,16, 25, and to look at
> part III chapter 3), and today we are willing to expand this even
> further (leharchiv et hadevarim yoter). We have no concern (nafka mina)
> if in truth there was ever in the real world (olam hameziut) a golden
> age, when man enjoyed both physical and spiritual wealth, or whether
> existence started out in actuality from the bottom to the top, from the
> bottom of the scale of creation to its top, and it continues to rise. 

We already noted that R' Kook is talking about how we should deal with
individuals that we are trying to be mekareiv that still allegorize, not
with how we ourselves should allow for such perspectives internally.

In sum, no Rishon, no Acharon. If you note the Tradition essay, the same
is true about the basis for R' Spero's position. No Rishon, no Acharon -
some scientific sources.

YGB

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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