Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 085

Sunday, October 31 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 15:41:47 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Limudei Chol

If they studied Tolstoy they would still remain unemployed.

Ditto if they studied trigonometry or physics.

(BTW, I sincerely regret every single moment I spent studying trig in HS.
B"H I was never required to take physics. A major waste of time. Tolstoy
would have been a lot more useful!)

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

----- Original Message -----
> Unfortunately, all of these students run the career
> risk of joining the swelling ranks of fundraisers (of
> the greencard type).
> HM

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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 13:56:14 -0800 (PST)
From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Ortho activist

--- TROMBAEDU@aol.com wrote:

>  In many cases these Evangelicals are not the anti
>  semite missionaries they used to be.  We just hve
> to
>  be careful who we ally ourselves with.
>   >>
> R' Harry,
> All I can say about this is that I entirely
> disagree. They are anti semitic, 
> even if they don't realize it. We should not
> publicly ally ourselves with 
> these people, whose goal is to convert the Jewish
> people to the worship of 
> Jesus.

This simply isn't true.  Of course, Christians believe
we should convert.  But mainstream Fundamentalist
Christians now realize they aren't going to be able to
and it has become socially unaceptable to try and do
so.  Their theology has now been adjusted to look upon
us (Torah Jews) as allies in the battle for morality. 
As for Our conversion... they believe that biblical
prophesy tells them that the Beis Hamikdash must first
be rebuilt and to that end there is a major push
within the evangelical community to raise money in
that direction.  Only after the BM is rebuilt will
there be the second coming. It is then that they talk
about conversions.  They then look at it as the only
way to salvation and when the great tribulatiopn comes
(i.e. Armegedon) only those who have been saved (i.e.
converted) will enjoy the Rapture.  But, they now
believe that conversion comes after Bayis Shlishi is
built.  Until that time we seem to have the same
goals. Their views of morality are not that different
than ours.



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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 14:12:14 -0800 (PST)
From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
RE: Limudei Chol

--- Akiva Atwood <atwood@netvision.net.il> wrote:
> > There is absolutely no way that any of these
> students
> > have a chance of knowing any of the physical
> sciences,
> > or any other discipline that could help them lead
> more
> > productive lives in the future.
> No way, except for the job training programs here in
> Israel, like
> programming, computer repair, accounting,
> bookkeeping, electronics,
> plumbing, locksmithing, carpentry, and so forth.
> Not to mention the jobs as Sofrim, Batim Makers,
> Shoctim, Rebbes, Mashgicim,
> etc.

Too little, Too late, if you ask me. Correct me if I
am wrong but, even though these new training programs
exist, they are far too small to include all those who
are in need. Also, who determines who is eleigible for
attendance?  Is it only those who "can't make it " in
learning?  And why can't some of these individuals be
encouraged to attend a more traditional school or



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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 14:16:56 -0800 (PST)
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
Re: Luxuries

--- harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Is the motivation of the conspicuous spender to show
> off how succesfull he is in contradistinction to his
> fellow man, at the expense of making him jealous?  Or,
> as in the case of the half million dollar wedding,
> does he just want every body to have a good time? 
> Perhaps it is a little of both. 

While it is worse if the conspicuous person has a negative
motivation, there is a problem even if does not have such a
motivation.  If people attend many luxurious affairs, they are more
likely to strive for such luxury even if they can't truly afford it. 
This is not necessarily an expression of "envy" but a desire to
relive a pleasant experience.  (This is the pshat of "olah imo v'aina
yoredet imo"--it's very hard to forgo a luxury which one has gotten
used to.)  There was an article in Time magazine a couple of weeks
ago interviewing certain middle class (exactly median) couples
regarding how materially satisfied they felt.  It was interesting to
see what they felt they "needed" (e.g., a big-screen TV); these
people were not envious of others but had been convinced (probably
through television advertising and the like) that certain comforts
are typically enjoyed by all and are not "luxuries."

Often, people who can easily afford luxuries don't spend much mental
energy thinking about acquiring such luxuries; if so, they are not
being materialistic.  People who can barely afford the luxuries are
more likely to put energy into striving for them; this changes their
priorities and makes wealth/luxury acquisition into more of an ovodah

So, it's not enough to reeducate the poor about not envying the rich.
 It is important to educate the rich (and probably even more
importantly, the upper middle class, which the middle class is more
likely to strive to emulate) to reduce the amount they consume in
public in order to benefit our society.

Kol tuv,


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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 00:00:06 +0200
From: "Mrs. Gila Atwood" <gatwood@netvision.net.il>
Re: Limudei Chol

> >
> > According to R. Feldman almost everyone on this list is in violation of
> > daat Torah since the majority of rabbis (in his opinion) oppose any
> > secular education certainly above 8th grade.

This is in reference to boys, of course.  "RW" girls' sems in Jerusalem
school the girls in a LOT of maths,  computer science, approved topics of
biology, (I smile a bit at this since I majored in zoology), even chemistry
and some environmental studies.
Then there's Machon Lev- a technical yeshiva- at least some of the staff are
thoroughly a part of the Litvish charedi world.

Then, of course there was Volozhin. Some people (not on this list!) would
prefer to deny history there.

Does anyone know the Lubavich position on college studies, given that the
late Lubavicher Rebbe Zatzal, learned engineering at Berlin and the
Sorbonne, - was he not already the son-in-law of the Friediche Rebbe at that
(I'd challenge our Chabad friends on this,  except for the fact that I've
challenged them on enough stuff already <g>)

Mrs. G. Atwood

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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 23:24:40 +0200
From: "Mrs. Gila Atwood" <gatwood@netvision.net.il>
Re: Toward Tradition -- or Torah and politics

Mrs. Gila Atwood
We are pixels in G-d's imagination.
You are welcome to browse my website at:
a little Torah, nature, humour, environmental concerns and memoirs.

----- Original Message -----
From: <TROMBAEDU@aol.com>
To: <avodah@aishdas.org>
Sent: Sunday, October 31, 1999 7:37 PM
Subject: Re: Toward Tradition -- or Torah and politics

> In a message dated 10/30/99 3:49:34 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM writes:
> << That having been said, it is of course true that, on issues
>  of permissiveness and moral relativisim, we share more with the
>  so-called religious conservatives than with the liberal-progressive
>  camp. >>
> What R' Eli says in this regard is true. My objection on this count is
> we have no business getting into bed with the Christian right to deal with
> it. I have reasons for this, and I will be glad to discuss them off list.
> Jordan

I agree-  too many differences in approach.  In a nutshell- The Torah
approach is to elevate and sanctify the physical world - the Christian
approach is to disdain it.
I disagree, though, with the previous post. The fact that we may disagree
with two extreme groups in many details of practise and attitude, this does
not at all make those two groups equivalent. The Hollywood "New Age"
liberalism is ultimately based on a pagan view of the world. If anyone would
like to discuss this with me off line- you're welcome. It's a big subject.
The Torah has ecological values in common, but for fundamentally different
reasons and goals.  The Torah view is essentially G-d centered, and though
some of us will dislike the RW approach, lifestyle, policies, etc, as Jews
we can still recognise the intended goals as true.

Mrs. G. Atwood

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Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 00:31:13 +0200
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <csherer@netvision.net.il>
Re: Limudei Chol

On 31 Oct 99, at 15:41, Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M wrote:

> (BTW, I sincerely regret every single moment I spent studying trig in HS.
> B"H I was never required to take physics. A major waste of time. Tolstoy
> would have been a lot more useful!)

Actually, I understand that there are people who make a good 
parnossa off physics. I wouldn't know about that though :- )

-- Carl

Carl M. Sherer, Adv.
Silber, Schottenfels, Gerber & Sherer
Telephone 972-2-625-7751
Fax 972-2-625-0461

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.
Thank you very much.

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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 17:57:48 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Limudei Chol

In a message dated 10/31/99 5:30:28 PM EST, gatwood@netvision.net.il writes:

> Does anyone know the Lubavich position on college studies, given that the
>  late Lubavicher Rebbe Zatzal, learned engineering at Berlin and the
>  Sorbonne, - was he not already the son-in-law of the Friediche Rebbe at 
>  time?
As a GENERAL rule, the Rebbe was against going to college.

Kol Tuv

Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 20:30:58 +0000
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Re: Women/psak

Sorry, I meant to reply to this, but realised that I never did.

In message , Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> writes
>In v4n32, Chana Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk> reposts comments
>about D'vorah:
>: a) she didn't in fact judge, but taught the judges the halacha (ie
>: poskened for them) and they did the judging.  The problem with this
>: formulation is of course it is not true to the language of the tanach, -
>: if that is what she did, then why does it use the term shofta
>: (especially if we are, by using the term, implying that she was
>: performing an issur).
>Only if I were clear on the definition of "shofeit", and how it differs from
>"dayan". We hold that women can't be dayanim. I don't know what that says
>about shoftim.

Shoftim is the tanachi term for dayanim, which tends to be the term used
in the mishna/gemorra.  But the concepts are the same.  To quote the
Aruch Hashulchan Choshen Mishpat, 1:1: It is a positive mitzva from the
Torah to appoint dayanim as it says "shoftim v'shotrim titen lecha...
>: b) al pi hadibur shani. ...
>: However, since this answer assumes that what she did was halachically
>: assur...
>No, it might be saying that being a shofetes who transmits Pi haDibur is
>permissable because it is different in kind than being a dayenes who paskens
>halachah al pi s'varah. This is what the words literally mean to me,
>"transmitting Pi haDibur is different".

Devarim 17:8-9: And if any matter be hidden from you in judgment bein
dam l'dam, bein din l'din bein nega lanega ... and you shall come unto
the cohanim  th leviim "v'el hashofet asher yiheh ba'yamim hahem".

If you distinguish between a shofet who transmits al pi hadibur and a
dayan who transmits al pi s'vrah, you are going to have to produce some
interesting explanations of this particular pasuk (in a way somewhat in
contradiction of the mesora).  

But however you parse it, you will still have the problem articulated by
tosphos.  The halacha, as discussed in my previous post, relates to the
biblical prohibition on a woman judging.  The tanach in relation to
Devorah uses the same biblical term to judge.  The problem is, how could
she do it?

As mentioned in my previous posts, Tosphos gives three answers - the
first of which is brought by the Tur, the last of which by the Ramban
and others.  Certain methods of learning Tosphos suggest that where
Tosphos brings more than one reason, they are not fully satisfied with
some or all of the reasons brought, and I gave some of the reasons why
they might have thought the first two might have be fully satisfactory.

>- -mi

Kind Regards


Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 20:47:00 +0000
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Re: Women/psak

In message , Joelirich@aol.com writes
>  Another
> source is from Bruria (I believe we posken like her at least once).
> Kind Regards
> Chana
>  >>
>Kol Tuv,
>Joel Rich
>PS Which Bruria position - yitamu chataim?

Sorry I haven't come back to you - See Eruvin 54, Rambam Hilchos Talmud
torah perek 3 halacha 12, Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah siman 241 si'if 22.

The other one I was thinking about, but can't seem to find anywhere is
about not giving bad tidings on shabbas (from the story about how their
sons died on shabbas)- although maybe that is regarded as merely midos

Yitamu chataim seemed to me to have no particular halachic relevance in
olam hazeh, so that fact that the beis din shel ma'ala might posken like
Bruria did not seem apposite.

Kind regards

Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 22:57:44 +0000
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Shul centred Judaism

Micha writes:

>>it reinforces the idea that O Judaism is structured like other
>>religions, primarily in the synagogue and centered around clergy. If we
>>were properly propogating the idea that Judaism is centered on the home,
>>perhaps more people would be trying to seek spirituality there, instead
>>of striving to become quasi-clergy.

Ironically though, when i have tried to exercise that choice, I have run
into a lot of resistance.  Truth is, I don't like going to any of the
shuls around here, I am much happier on a shabbas morning sleeping in,
davening at home, maybe learning a bit.

But that choice is not seen as an acceptable one.  If we had children
that would be one thing, but Robert gets all the time "where's Chana" on
shabbas, and it makes him miserable.  And strangely enough, the decision
itself upsets him a great deal.  Yes, he would prefer I came along to
his Sephardi shul, but the fact that I might prefer an Ashkenazi service
is something he can live with (although he has come up with a place her
that has a Sephardi service in one room and an Ashkenazi service in
another as the ideal solution).  So he was comfortable with me going to
my local Ashkenazi shul for the yamim noraim, while he went to his
usual.  What really upsets him (and i don't really understand why) is my
not going at all. Everybody else seems to respond this way as well (as
well as us getting a lot of flack for the separate shuls business, which
I really don't understand.  I mean, the whole point of a mechitza is
that you are not davening with your husband, so what difference does it
make if you are meters away or kilometres - the shuls being in opposite
directions to our house.  But I have had the most charedi people
objecting emphatically to this course of action).  And he was so happy
last shabbas when, because we were going really quite far for lunch, and
the shul (the one with the Sephardi and Ashkenazi minyan) was a good
portion of the way there, I turned up so as to meet them all there. 

I mean yes, I can cite you all the halachic literature on how one
shouldn't daven at home because your prayers are only accepted amidst
the rabbim (come to think of it, I think I posted some of these to mail-
jewish a little while ago).  But the mimetic tradition (as opposed to
the textual) has always been that it is fine for women not to go to
shul, even when they do not yet have children (of course the mimetic
tradition, as opposed to the textual, says that women don't daven -
something I do do, but that is another complicated issue - I wrote a
piece on the textual obligations for Beis Medrish, but as per usual,
anything over about a paragraph is rejected on byte limit grounds, but
even the straight textual issue it too involved to be reduced to that
kind of soundbite). What I find rather bewildering is that choosing to
daven at home when one is not constrained by children is also no longer
being considered a valid option, despite the fact that the texts are
even murkier here, to the point that a) my husband is being told off,
and b) it really bothers him regardless of other people's opinions.

So Micha, perhaps you can add to your campaign an additional one "let
the women stay home" - or does the idea of women opting out of the
shabbas shul experience bother you too?


Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 18:56:14 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Rashi - tshuvah for an Akum

>>>however Bnidun Didan Bpashtus Haksuvim when he said that he loved 
 both of them is Mashma equal to Yitzchok (just like I have 2 sons, both are 
 Yochid Limoi)<<<

One other note: if you assume that at the time of the Akeidah that Yishmael 
and Yitzchak were equals (as bincha, yecidcha, asher ahavta still didn't tell 
Avraham which one) it is hard to say Yishmael acheived that level by doing 
tshuvah.  Midrash Tanchuma in Ha'Azunu writes 'yisa Hashem panav elicha' 
refers to someone who has done tshuvah, yachol l'kol t"l elecha only to 
Yisrael, so we see that tshuvah works only for a Yisrael and wouldn't help 
Yishmael (though  this may apply only l'takein what was already done, but 
they can do tshuvah m'kan u'lahaba as Yishmael did, also Ninveh, see R' 
Tzaddok in Takkanat HaShavin #1, but Yishmael would still be on a lower 


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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 16:02:30 PST
From: "Alan Davidson" <perzvi@hotmail.com>

But to put things in a different perspective -- how many of us has ever been 
in a shul where kiddush is as a rule very modest -- some cake, l'chaim, 
tam-tams (except perhaps for shabbos mevarchim, shabbos rosh chodesh, the 
occasional minor yomtov or rebbe's birthday), or where the Rav will not 
allow the serving of cholent for kiddush b/c not everyone can afford to 
provide cholent.  Or witness the recent article in Yated from a gemach 
manager talking about how deeply most newlyweds get into debt before they 
can even think about how they are going to pay for day school tuitions and 
the like -- or the frequency with which frum tenants negotiate late rent 
payments with their landlords or negotiate with phone companies or credit 
card companies to save their phone service or credit rating.  Never mind 
this stuff isn't endemic to the frum world (the average professional school 
student is $40,000 in the whole by the time their schooling is over -- I 
only owe 1/10th of that amount and most of it is recent).  But the point of 
the original poster is there are things folks can do to minimize or 
alleviate the extent to which we as frum yidden encourage this.

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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 19:21:04 EST
From: Broasters@aol.com
Luxuries and Other Luxuries

Opening Disclaimer: I have many friends and several relatives in the Frum 
Wedding Industry, and my advocation of moderation should in no manner be 
interpreted as a slur against any of them, or any their colleagues, or even 
their patrons.

There seem to be so many reasons to not go overboard with material 
consumption, that I am somewhat puzzled by the simple assertion that simply 
having a lot of money justifies its prominent display.

In no particular order:

1)  We are still in a state of galus, and we are supposed to curtail our 
chasuna expenses to remind ourselves of the destruction of the Beis 
Hamikdash.  I would submit that even if a relish plate is omitted, a 
half-million dollar wedding tends to obscure this point.

2)  It causes jealousy (and perhaps worse) in other Jews.  RHM is correct 
when he says that the midah of kinah should be addressed, but in any case of 
lifnei iver, the fact that the aveirah is the other person's fault does not 
necessarily permit all actions of the first person.

3)  It can make the goyim upset.  I grew up in a city where there are many 
wealthy Frum people, and the fact that so many of these people had 'monster 
homes' did upset the lower elements of the general society.  Of course, their 
being upset indicates character flaws in them, rather than in us, but (to 
carry this to an admitted extreme) the Nazis were wrong during the holocaust 
as well.  That didn't make their reactions more pleasant.

4)  'Hatznea Leches'  This could apply to attitude as well as consumption, 
but it seems specious to suggest that conspicuous consumption is not included 
in this statement.

5)  There have been several postings recently about how difficult it will be 
for the kollel world to continue, because the money is running out.  It would 
seem to be a frightful indictment of our world-wide community if we feel we 
cannot support Torah study, but we can spend enormous sums of money on single 
evening events.

6)  There are still people (even aniyei ir'cha, wherever one lives) that do 
not have enough to eat.  I certainly assume that those sponsoring huge 
weddings and living in massive homes are doing at least their share to help 
out the less fortunate.  It still seems somewhat wrong that while this 
suffering continues, such huge amounts of money are spent on one evening's 
entertainment, or whatever.

Having said that, it is certainly not my intention to slur any person or 
group of people.  I also understand that my own standard of living is 
substantially higher than anyone living in the shtetl could even imagine.  I 
do not presume to draw lines for anyone.  I simply want to contribute my 
thoughts to this discussion of what is actually proper.


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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 17:50:49 -0500
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
RE Onooah Devarim

Rabbi B writes
I do not believe the issue was Ona'as Mammon. I believe it is the issue
Ona'as Devarim. That is the prohibition, the general category of which, I
believe, includes the prohibition of Lechitzas Almono v'Yasom.

that is rediculous. The sources I cited explicitly state that you can 
stipulate to a worker against market value. How is that onooas mamon!?

Such a view undermines the whole basis of a free economic society (which
halahca belieeves in).

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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 18:29:17 -0500
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
RE: GEn 18:4

I have read the 3 proposed explanations and none of them 
satisfy me for the simple reason that a Konkordance check 
shows that THE NORMAL MEANING OF ETZ is tree.

So the question stands---why does Rashi explain ETZ=TREE
(Rabbi Boncheck answered a different question---why did
the CHUMASH mention tree...he answers this question well..
but Rabbi Boncheck did not answer why Rashi explained to
us that a word that means TREE is translated as TREE)

I will get to this on my Rashi website ...but since I have
no ideas now I will not pursue it immediately
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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 17:24:48 -0500
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
RE: Obligation of Women to Spin

This is in response to the claim that the
only thing a women is obligated to do is spin.

Actually conceptually non-work leads to sin.
So the only thing a women is obligated to do is SOME
WORK (She shouldn't sit home doing nothing).

The GMARRA mentions spinning as something that
was easily accessible to do and earned money in
talmudic times. I suppose computer programming might
be a good substitute today. But there is no obligation
per say to spin in the Gmarrah...the obligation is to
do work.(This is what emerges if you read the 
Gmarrah WITH its reasons)

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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 17:48:18 -0500
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
turning aside rishonim

Regarding Richards claim that
While a Sandhedrin may not choose to exercise ALL of its authority; 
nevertheless, A bona fide Snahedrin certainly could deal with these
issues and 
not feel restricted by the  Rishonim if it chose to.  I would think it
repeal Beis Hillel and pasken like Beis Shammai (isn't that the case

No Sanhedrin can just "repeal" Rishonim. THey have to
---be greater in number
---greater in wisdom
---have a good reason (eg an error in a rishon)
---not do it too often

The last stipulation is important

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Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 17:17:13 -0500
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
A 3rd Meaning of Tzur

YZirking writes
n a message dated 10/26/99 2:17:47 PM EST, micha@aishdas.org writes:

> Tangential tidbit: Most people translate "Tzur" to mean "Rock",
>  permanence and dependability. The Gr"a understood it to be a masculine
>  conjugation of "tzurah", and refers to HKBH in the sense that we are
>  in His Image.
As the Gemarah Teitches Ein Tzur Ke-lokeinu, Ein Tzayor.

Kol Tuv

Yitzchok Zirkind
I once heard form the Rav in Shiur that Tzur can also refer
to Gods capacity to Shade and protect us.
(The Rav said people gathered at Rocks in Israel for
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