Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 425

Friday, March 10 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 16:22:22 -0500
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
rivavot vs. riv'vot

I would venture to say there might be myriads of reason as well as myriads of 
people interested <smile>

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: rivavot vs. riv'vot 

This stop-gap posting is meant to keep up interest in whether rivevot is written
with a chataf or a sheva alone without going into the question of pronunciation 
or type of sheva.  (On what basis do I assume there is  interest to keep up? 
I.e., excluding RGDubin, RRWolpoe and a few others.)

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 16:27:30 -0500
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Yissachor-Zevulun Learning Arrangement

To support Michah... I recall hearing besheim R SY Weinberg that he stated (at 
least once) during a shmooze that one cannot barter schar mitzvo or chelek 
l'olam habo etc.


______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________

I'm unhappy with an underlying assumption behind this question. All the stories 
about one person giving another zechus aside (e.g. the famous "You can have my 
esrog, but only if I get all the sichar for its use."), how could zechus be
a commodity? Do people really think that I can take n units of zechus and 
give it to someone else?


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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 16:55:02 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Machatzit haSheqel

> Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 14:25:48 -0500 (EST)
> From: jjbaker@panix.com
> Subject: Machatzit haSheqel
<<Something just occurred to me, as my officemate is collecting machatzit
hasheqel: why don't we say a bracha on it?  It's a clear mitzva in  the
Torah, and even if we only give it today as a derabbanan>>

	I believe the loshon in M"B is that we do it "zecher" to the machtzis


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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 16:49:04 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Yissachor-Zevulun Learning Arrangement

> Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 10:11:32 -0600
> From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
> Subject: Re: Yissachor-Zevulun Learning Arrangement

<<Zechus is a natural consequence of the ma'aseh. I've made the point
repeatedly before, no one counter argued (yet), and I did cite numerous
sources. For Zevulun to share in the zechus of Yissachar's learning means
that Zevulun too felt a consequence to that learning.>>

	There is a story about the Satmar Rov who,  when told by a chosid that
he was planning to be a Zvulun to someone else's Yisachar,  is reputed to
have told him that while the "splitting" of the schar was fine,  but "a
talmid chochom vert min nisht derfun".  In a shiur on the topic,  Rabbi
Y. Reisman cited sources that,  on the contrary,  one does become a
talmid chochom from being a Zvulun.


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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 17:31:49 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Trade Schools and The Malaise of Snobbery

In a message dated 3/9/00 1:27:15 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
hmaryles@yahoo.com writes:

> For the MO it's the
>  "My son the doctor" syndrome.  For the RW it's "My son
>  the Gadol" syndrome. Neither of these groups wants
>  there sons to get their fingernails dirty.  

While the Gemara Psachim 113b says "Pshoit Nveil'toh B'shuk",  see Y"D 255:1, 
that is as a last resort, Lchatcila see Mishna end of Kiddushin "Umnous 
Nkiyoa Vkaloh" and see Pirush Hamishnayois there that this is an obligation 
and therefore it is prohibited to become a barber, there are those who ask 
why the Rambam doesn't bring this Lhalacha, OTOH one should not be to haughty 
as to not accept anything else as the Gemara relates in Brochos 28a Mikoslei 
Beisech Atoh Nikar Shpchomi Atoh, and many of the Chachmei Hashas made a 
living in so to speak mundain jobs (especially that at that time there wasn't 
the Heter brought in the Ramoh, Y"D 146:21 and it was Mah Ani Bchinom.

Kol Tuv

Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2000 17:26:41 -0500
From: "David Glasner" <dglasner@ftc.gov>
Re: birkhat ha-gomeil

Carl Sherer wrote:

The Gemara says that there are four people who have to be modeh -
 someone who crosses the sea, someone who crosses the desert, 
someone who was ill and became healthy and someone who is 
released from prison. People who bentch gomel are simply 
complying with the Gemara. (It's in the last perek of Brachos - I 
don't recall the exact daf).

> Isn't there a serious problem of b'rakha l'vatalah associated with
> this practice?  Any responsa on the subject?

Actually Rav Moshe went a step further. Rav Moshe held that the 
rationale behind bentching gomel on crossing the sea or the desert 
is that you go through a period where you are not on "land," where 
your feet are not firmly on the ground. Therefore, Rav Moshe held 
that you should bentch gomel ANY time you go on an airplane and 
BE"H land safely. I've had weeks where I'd be bentching gomel 4-5 
times by that standard :-) 

The tshuva is found in Igros Moshe, in the first chelek of OH. I think 
it's siman 59, but don't quote me on that. Credit the bochur in 
Passaic (and I'm not sure who it was anymore) who showed me 
that tshuva many years ago.

I remember the gemara, that's why I asked about a trans-oceanic
flight, not a transcontinental flight.  The olam is not noheig 
according to R. Moshe's t'shuva, which is his own hidush, not
based on the gemara.  Don't we say safek b'rahot li'hakeil?  
B'mihilat k'vod torato, I don't see why one should risk reciting a 
brakha l'vatala based on R. Moshe's hidush, even granting the 
principle of makom hinihu li avotai l'hitgader bo.

The cases mentioned by the gemara all involve danger to the
individual.  In those days, you were literally risking your life by
traveling any substantial distance away from dry land.  Longitude 
could not be measured accurately until the 17th century.  The 
stories about ships being lost at sea before longitude could be
measured are simply hair-raising.  To compare that risk to flying 
on an airplane at the present development of technology is just 
amazing to me.  According to R. Moshe's t'shuva should one 
bench gomeil after going up or down an elevator?  

Again, why should one not be more nizhar about a safek
brakha l'vatala?

David Glasner

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Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 00:55:49 IST
From: "moshe rudner" <mosherudner@hotmail.com>
Iranian prisoners

>Three of the detainees have been released!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but to the best of my knowledge they 
were only released pending their trial. So, for them too, Tfilot are still 
in order.

Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

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Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 18:40:09 EST
From: PRaice@aol.com
bzeias apecha tochal lechem

Along the same lines, the word 'yesurim' is derived from 'sur' to turn.  
Yesurim are 
G-d's way of turning us back to where we should be, a response to us turning 
off of where we belong.  So truly, punishment is intended to merely return us 
and the world to the way it was, the solution to the problem

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Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2000 22:36:47 -0600
From: Saul Weinreb <sweinr1@uic.edu>
Livin' in the USA

Dear Reb Carl;
I have been a lurker on this conversation, mostly because I've agreed with
almost every word you've said.  The following sentence, however, upset me.
You wrote,
"The fact that we're here means 
we are more ready than you."
Do you really believe that?
Now that is truly scary to me - and downright insulting, arrogant, and self
How could you make such a judgement?
How do you know why I live in the states?
What gives you the right to make such a broad sweeping statement regarding
the "moshiach readiness" of everyone that happens to live outside of Eretz
I am fully aware of the sacrifices that so many people (not nearly enough,
however) make to live in EY.  But have you ever asked me why I live here in
the States?  How could you possibly be so sure that you are more ready for
moshiach than I am?  I think that you've overstepped your bounds, and it
upsets me because I truly yearn to move to EY, but alas, there sometimes
are good reasons to remain in the States ( although, I admit that one truly
needs to find a good excuse to remain here, not as some seem to think, an
excuse to make aliyah).  Financial, educational, alas even Harbotzas Torah
can be just a few reasons in some people's lives.
I'm sorry if I got carried away, but your original tactics of persuasion
were doing well, until you through out such a blatant undeserved insult to
the fundamental belief system of so many G-d fearing Jews here in the US.
If you want to convince Jews to move to EY, then convince them that they
should be moving to EY, such insults are never appropriate.
Shaul Weinreb

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Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2000 23:43:51 -0500
From: sambo@charm.net
Re: birkhat ha-gomeil

David Glasner wrote:

> Isn't there a serious problem of b'rakha l'vatalah associated with
> this practice?  Any responsa on the subject?

Yalkut Yosef Vol 3, Siman Resh-Yud-Tet, #20:


One who travels in an airplane from city to city, and the duration of
the flight is 72 minutes or longer, says the berachah, even if the
ground is below him. A flight less than 72 minutes, do not say it.And
this also applies to one who travels in a speeding car, that the trip is
less than 72 minutes, even if it would take that long in a bus. A round
trip flight, where the total flying time is 72 min or more, say the

His (rather extensive) notes bring many responsa.

Against: HaGaon HaRogachov R' Yosef Rosen - sefer Ishim Veshitot p.80,
Helkat Yaakov - Vol 2, siman tet, HaAdmor miBelz.

For: Meiri (held that others besides the 4 explicit can say it), Hida -
Mahazik Berachah, siman RY"T (re: the four who travelled to Gan Eden via
the Shem Hameforash), R' Pinhas Epstein - SHU"T Bazel Hahachmah, p. 190,
Igrot Mosheh, V4, Oruh Haiim, siman 59, Beit Mordechai siman 23, For
more see R' Epstein - V1, siman 20 and V5 simanim 66, 67, and 88.


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Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 08:12:16 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Livin' in the USA

On 9 Mar 00, at 22:36, Saul Weinreb wrote:

> Dear Reb Carl;
> I have been a lurker on this conversation, mostly because I've agreed with
> almost every word you've said.  The following sentence, however, upset me.
> You wrote,
> "The fact that we're here means 
> we are more ready than you."
> Do you really believe that?

As an aboslute statement, I only believe it is a reflection of being 
physically prepared, not emotionally prepared. Pure practicality - if 
Mashiach comes tomorrow, I can walk to the Beis HaMikdash for 
the Tamid shel Shachar (well - there's even still time for that today, 
as it's still 40 minutes to Magen Avraham zman Kriyas Shma 
here). You cannot. 

Obviously an individual's spiritual readiness (or lack thereof) for 
Mashiach's arrival (BBY"A) is only partially based upon where s/he 
is physically located. I would not argue that most of the people 
here are more spiritually ready than were the Gdolim of previous 
generations who packed a bag each night in case Mashiach came 
during the night. But coming to Israel - or striving to come to Israel -
 is in my view a physical preparation for Mashiach coming, and is 
part of trying to prepare oneself spiritually for Mashiach coming. 
But it's still only a part.

Sorry you felt insulted.

-- Carl

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

Carl and Adina Sherer

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Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 01:25:42 -0500 (EST)
From: David Roth <droth@pobox.com>
Re: birkhat ha-gomeil (Adar humor alert)

Excerpted by David Roth from _Selections from the LIKUTEI SPLIT_:

Rabbi Avraham Anan in his code, "Hilchot El Al" ruled that those
flying to Israel do not "bentsch 'gomel'" after their flight, "as in
these days, flying is statistically safer than driving, and who
bothers to bentsch gomel after driving around Tel Aviv?" However,
Rabbi Mordechai Mazon has ruled the opposite, that one does indeed
"bentsch 'gomel'" after a flight, but only after a flight in which a
meal has been served, and only if one actually eats the meal served
by the airline. "The prayer is said for surviving the meal, not the
flight." (Hilchot Hamazon 1:973)

In fact, R' Mazon even requires one to "bentsch 'gomel'" if one sins
by eating a non-kosher airline meal. "It is meritorious to thank the
Source of All Life for surviving the ordeal of eating a non-kosher
airline meal, for one's very survival after eating such a meal is a
sign that one is forgiven for the trangression. Eating a non-kosher
airline meal is sufficient punishment for the sin of eating
non-kosher food." (Hilchot HaMazon 1:974) And if one can give thanks
for surviving a non-kosher airline meal, how much more so that one
should "bentsch 'gomel'" for eating and surviving a kosher airline
(c) 1996 by Joe Bachman for the Schlitzer Purim Torah Institute

For a more complete discussion of the problem, see the complete

Mishenichnas Adar...

Shabbat Shalom,


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Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 08:39:17 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@zahav.net.il>
Re: Machatzit haSheqel

> Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 15:57:58 EST
> From: Yzkd@aol.com
> Subject: Re: Machatzit haSheqel

> The Machtzis Hashekel we give only resembles the Mitzvah Min Hatorah
in that
> it is a 1/2 of the coin of the cuntry, it is not given towards
> Kol Tuv
> Yitzchok Zirkind

I haven't seen any mention of this on Avodah or elsewhere, but here in
Israel  a new society for Machatzit Hashekel has been opened.

They have minted a silver coin in the appropriate value and you can
purchase it for 20 NIS.  They state categorically that this is not

They handed out info-sheets about this on Shabbat Shekalim.  Maybe
someone has a copy and can supply a phone number and more details for
those interested.

Shoshana L. Boublil

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Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 02:38:53 EST
From: UncBarryum@aol.com
Re: Avodah V4 #417

<< What DOES America represent? Loose Morals?  Perhaps...
 in some instances. But this is not the essence of
 America, the Beautiful.
 There is such a thing as too much freedom, regardless of the form of 
democracy. We refer to this as classic hefkayrus; The extreme example of this 
is called anarchy. There are consequences in celebrating too much of a good 
thing. We acknowledge these accesses in the spirit of our Tefillos, the 
letter of our Torah discourse, and, in the daily, mundane manner that we're 
supposed to operate our businesses, and, conduct our lives. Glutonizing on 
freedom is probably at the root of the unacceptable assimilation, and, 
intermarriage rates in our too free country, and, may, chas v'shalom, be a 
formula for our undoing as a religious community. One CAN drink too much 
water, which is good, and, necessary  for survival; One could glutonize on 
very healthy food, gain too much unhealthy weight, which would threaten 
life....why not overdosing on too much freedom? While our constitution 
safeguards our right to "freedom OF religion," it is powerless to halt 
freedom FROM religion. Our government, our great country, is powerless to 
stem the tide of religious drifters, and, malcontents. Do we wave the flag 
when thousands of our children, raised in religious families, "fall through 
the cracks," stop being religious, become substance abusers, and, will 
probably be lost? Do we sing America the Beautiful, when we read in the news 
about, yet another religious Jew being carted off to prison for felonious 
activity? How much more freedom can we stand?
 The religious intolerance of Mother England toward the
 early pilgrims moved them to venture across the ocean
 to settle in the New World. 
 The Christian Pilgrims were every bit as prejudiced, and, hateful to 
minorities as Mother England was toward them, to wit, their genocidal 
treatment of Native Americans. Would you stand by and be labeled a "savage" 
when you defend your land, family, RELIGION, and, possessions? There's a 
lesson somewhere in there for American Jews. A lesson about modesty.
 Because of this, religious tolerance was built into
 the very fabric of existence here.  Much of the early
 culture was adapted from the  "Old Testament". Early Pilgrims paid great 
homage to the
 Old Testament and named their children biblical names
 Like Israel, Abraham, Sarah and Jacob. 
 They did, but, they didn't give us any credit. Remember, they claim that 
they are descendant of our Forefathers, don't they? For all the money, and, 
support that Chaim Solomon gave to the American Revolutionary cause, he died 
broke. Neither he, nor his descendants ever received a penny from the monies 
he lent the U.S. government. Is that how much they love us?
 Culturally, most Goyim here do not give a whit as to
 whether you are Jewish or not.  Most Goyim just want
 to worship the god of money or sports or "whatever"
 pursuit of pleasure they please.  Sure... there might
 be a hint of latent anti-Semitism here. Most probably
 this is more in the form of a stereotyping which is
 relatively benign.  The only true anti-Semites are
 fringe groups that are very noisy and very ignored or
 condemned by the vast majority of Americans. 
 The "Good Ole' Boys club" of the upper echelons of
 American business where you have to be the "right"
 (read:WASP) kind of American is fading fast if not
 already gone. Big Business is interested in Big
 Profits and it doesn't matter to them if the CEO is a
 Jew, a Black, a Woman, a Pakistani, or a Cik, (turban
 and all).All that matters is the bottom line. Orthodox
 Jews are upwardly mobile proportionally to the amount
 profit they can produce. 
 It's hard to accept that ANYONE believes this in their heart! Where there's 
smoke, there's fire. Latent anti-Semitism shouldn't be celebrated. Where will 
you be when hundreds of Southern Baptists swarm over major Jewish populated 
cities this summer, and, knock on YOUR door. Is this the latent, in-your-face 
anti-Semitism that you refer to? There are many more examples which shouldn't 
be summarily swept under the rug. How many Jewish, upper executives are there 
in PUBLIC corporations in  America? Very, very few, according to several 
leading Jewish organizations. While Gentiles aren't actively leading 
anti-Jewish crusades, their Good-Old boys WASP attitudes are alive and well, 
and, stopping minorities from leading them. 
 The world of
 entertainment is so full of Jews that it would be
 nearly impossible for them to exist without them. And
 the entertainment industry is probably the most
 influential compononent to determine attitudes, not
 only in the USA but in the world.  The same thing is
 true about the print and electronic media. 
 The so-called Jewish influence on the U.S. and the world, by the 
entertainment industry, came to a screaming halt decades ago. The current 
destructive culture prevalent in Hollywood, is nothing short of sacrilegious. 
Their pervasive, perverse programming is repulsive. Shvichaas Domim, Aroyos, 
Nivul Peh, perhaps even some forms of Avodah Zorah, isn't my idea of having 
pride in that industry, and, it's getting worse, not better.
 Every President and Congress almost
 without exception since Harry S. Truman has been
 pro-Israel some more some less but always pro.
 Without his former business partner chepping him constantly, Truman was 
prepared to stall Israel's statehood. Can anyone spell Eisenhower, Nixon, 
Dulles, Senator McCarthy, Carter, Bush, and, even "Slick Willy," who wants a 
Nobel Peace Prize regardless of how it affects Israel? Were these  strong 
examples of our friends? 
 And look at how Jews flourish here.  Jews, (even
 Orthodox ones) are wealthier today (both as a
 percentage and in sheer numbers) here than in any
 other country and any other time in history.
 Opprtunities abound and are virtually unlimited. 
 Money, money, money....tsk, tsk, tsk.
 We are
 totally protected and are very often admired by much
 of the gentile world. One of the most admired women in
 history by all Americans: Golda Meir.  Dr. Laura, an
 Orthodox Jew, is looked to by millions of Gentiles as
 the standard for morality. 
Dr. Laura, as of several weeks ago, when I was part of a contingent to 
interview her, is RW Conservative, a Solomon Shechter type, and, doesn't hide 
it.She's a good, moral person, who has done some form of Teshuvah, and, has 
the ears of what's left of moral Gentiles. As far as protection is concerned, 
we shouldn't be looking elsewhere, we have OUR MELECH, UMOSHIAH, UMOGEN.

Pardon my Megillah, but, alas, the time is late, and, I still have another 
assignment to complete, and, submit before Shabbat, so, I'll "say goodnight 
Gracie." Goodnight.

Shabbat Shalom,
Barry Schwarz

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Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 09:17:14 +0100
From: David.Kaye@ramstein.af.mil
Torah u'Melocho

   Some brief comments on this subject:

   Before beginning: I needn't note in this forum that notwithstanding what
is written below, we must never forget or shirk the universal obligation of
all Jews to study Torah regularly and to make it their major interest in
life. (as to how to make time for both that is a subject for another time). 

   The need for man to work is not part of the curse of Adom; Indeed man was
originally placed into Gan Eden "l'ovda u'leshomra". The curse was that "By
the sweat of your brow shall you get bread to eat" and "Thorns and thistles
shall it sprout  for  you." Even prior to his punishment, Adom was placed in
the garden in order to work it. Constructive labor is part of what a person
ordinarily ought to be engaged in.

   Indeed man is mandated to perfect the world in which he lives and while
this sounds quite odd, we find it advanced by Chazal in several places.
Perhaps the most noteworthy is the Medrash (Tanchuma Parshas Tazriah) which
speaks of the encounter between Turnus Rufus and Rabbe Akiva. Turnus Rufus
asked Rabbe Akiva, "If G-d wanted man to be circumcised,  then  why didn't
He  create him that way?"  Rabbe Akiva told him, "Bring me some wheat." Then
he said, "Bring me a loaf of bread."  He asked, "What do you prefer to eat,
the bread or the wheat?" "Naturally, the bread," he replied. Rabbe Akiva
retorted, "So do you now not see that the works of flesh and blood are more
pleasant than those of G-d!?" There is a certain audacity here, but these
are the words of Rabbe Akiva! 

   Indeed, the entire institution of Shabbos is encouragement to man to join
and imitate the Creative process of Hashem. We create for six days and cease
on the seventh in pale imitation of Hashem. G-d's creation, perfect as it
was, was incomplete so as to allow man room to experience the potency of
creation. His intent in creating man was to have a partner in creation. 

   Rav Yonason Eibeschutz and Beis Halevi, Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik
explain that Hashem arrested the development of many things in this world.
For example, Hashem could have made it possible for wheat kernels to crumble
into flour, for the flour to absorb rain and moisture from the air, for the
wind to churn the water-drenched flour so that dough be formed and for the
heat of the sun to bake the mixture into bread Instead, He arrested the
process long before its completion and ordained that grinding of the wheat,
mixing the flour with water, kneading the dough and baking the bread be
performed by man. The Divine appellation "Shaddai" is understood in Rabbinic
exegesis as an acronym: she-amarti l'olami 'dai' - Who said to My universe,
"Enough!" Thus the verse, "I, am the L-rd Shaddai" (Bereishis 17:1) is
rendered by Medrash Rabba (46:2) "I am the L-rd who said to the universe
'Enough'!" (See Chagigah 12).

   In the Torah view, work is indeed a central value. Chazal have numerous
statements to this effect. Rambam speaks of this in a halachic context. The
Talmud (Sanhedrin 25b) says that a mesachek b'kuviya (i.e. a gambler) is
disqualified from giving testimony in court. Two reasons are offered for
this. One opinion is that he is a sort of thief, because of the halachic
principle that "asmachta lo kanya." Whoever gambles does so because he
assumes he is going to win, and if he knew that he would lose he wouldn't
gamble. Thus he gambles relying on an implicit condition. Therefore, the
loser does not really transfer ownership of the money, and the winner does
not legally acquire it. The second opinion disqualifies him because "aino
osek b'yishuvo shel olam," he is not involved in developing the world
constructively. The Talmud then brings a practical distinction between these
two opinions. According to the first reason, even a person who gambles only
occasionally is ineligible to give testimony. However, according to the
second approach, only a professional gambler is disqualified. Rambam
(Gezeilah 6:11) rules according to the latter opinion, and then says:
	One who plays dice with a gentile does not transgress the
prohibition of stealing, but he does transgress the prohibition of busying
oneself with worthless things since, all the days of one's life, it is only
suitable for a person to busy himself with divrei chachma, matters of wisdom
and with yishuvo shel olam, settling the world.

   The Mishnah (Kesuvos 59b) says that a married woman is expected to
perform certain tasks in the house, but if she brings servants  with  her,
she doesn't have to do them. The Gemara adds that the more servants she
brings, the less she has to do, because they will take care of the needs of
the household. However, beyond a certain point, this does not apply; her
husband can demand that she do something - anything - because, Rabbe Eliezer
says, "idleness leads to lewdness," it leads to a loose, lascivious life.
Raban Shimon ben Gamliel says: "A husband who takes an oath that his wife
should do no work, should divorce her and pay her Kesuba, since idleness
leads to shi'amum [insanity or boredom]."

   The Medrash (Bereishis Rabba 39:8) asks: When Hashem told Avraham, "Go
forth from your native land and from your birthplace and from your father's
house, to the land which I will show you," how did Avraham know when he had
arrived at the right place? The Medrash answers:
	Rabbe Levi said: When Avram walked through Aram Naharayim and Aram
Nachor, he saw the people there eating and drinking and acting loosely,
Avram said to himself, 'I hope that I do not have a portion in this land.'
When he arrived at Sulma of Tyre, he saw the people busying themselves with
weeding at the season for weeding, hoeing at the time for hoeing, etc. He
said to himself, 'I hope that I will have a portion in this land.'

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Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 09:15:29 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Machatzit haSheqel

In a message dated 3/10/00 1:39:22 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
toramada@zahav.net.il writes:

> I haven't seen any mention of this on Avodah or elsewhere, but here in
>  Israel  a new society for Machatzit Hashekel has been opened.
>  They have minted a silver coin in the appropriate value and you can
>  purchase it for 20 NIS.  They state categorically that this is not
>  Hekdesh.
IMHO for the Minhag of Machtzis Hashekel before Purim this will not be good, 
as it has to be 1/2 of the official coin of the country (not something that 
is worth 20x as much), likewise there are those that try to be Mehadeir in 
the USA to use an old half dollar, as it is pure silver, however Ldina IMHO 
(I am NOT a Poseik) it is not needed as the current 1/2 dollar is just fine.

Gut Shabbos V'kol Tuv

Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 08:35:13 -0600
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Avodah V4 #417

On Fri, Mar 10, 2000 at 02:38:53AM -0500, UncBarryum@aol.com wrote:
:  There is such a thing as too much freedom, regardless of the form of 
: democracy. ...

As the derashah says, "cheirus al haluchos". The Jewish view of freedom is
very different than the western one. Cheirus is about the opportunity to
follow one's calling -- not one's whim.

Which ties back to my complaint about the American ethos and the concept of
rights. A rights-based ethos focusses on giving each person the authority
to get what is his. An obligation-based one forces you to focus on making
sure the other is taken care of. To quote the Chafeitz Chaim, "Yenem's
gashmius iz deiner ruchnius." (Sorry if I mangled that. I can follow Yiddish,
but don't speak it.)

(Compare Holloween and Tick-or-Treating, collecting the goods, with (lehavdil
seems wrong in a sentence that begins "compare", but) lehavdil Purim in
which one is obligated to give others. In both cases, you end up with a
table full of food -- but our ethos is b"H more other-focussed.)

The concept of rights lead (although it didn't have to) to that of
entitlements, a victim orientation, and an inability to accept personal
responsibility. How do I lay all that on one good-sounding concept?

It's a small step from fighting for what you ought to have to fighting for
what you ought to get -- entitlements, handouts. Also, if one is looking
to make sure other's don't do unto you to seeing oneself as an object, not
an object. The law is about what happens to you, and only indirectly about
what you do. So, even one's own violations are explained as being caused by
"society" or "the system".


Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for  7-Mar-00: Shelishi, Pekudei
micha@aishdas.org                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Rosh-Hashanah 5b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

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Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 08:38:31 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Yissachor-Zevulun Learning Arrangement



----- Original Message -----
From: <Joelirich@aol.com>
To: <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2000 9:10 AM
Subject: Re: Yissachor-Zevulun Learning Arrangement

> In a message dated 3/9/00 9:43:23 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu writes:
> <<
>  R' Chaim Volozhiner in the Kesser Rosh (printed in the Gr"o Siddurim and
>  the Otzar Ha'Tefillis as well).
>  There is an extensive teshuva in the Tzitz Eliezer on this all.
> ++++++++++
> Do you know exact cite?
> KT,
> Joel

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