Avodah Mailing List

Volume 06 : Number 012

Friday, October 13 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 08:34:18 -0400
From: Richard Wolpoe <PMSRXW@ibi.com>
Re: "standing on the shoulders of giants"

On Wed, 11 Oct 2000 20:24:52 -0400 Harry Maryles said:
>b) not as knowledgeable in Torah or as able
>intellectually as the previous generations to change

>Hence, Amoraim can't argue against Tanaim, Rishonim
>cant argue against Amoraim, and Achronim (except for
>Rabbi Kramer) can't argue with Rishonim.

but rishonim argued with gaonim

Shalom and Regards,
Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 09:31:02 -0400
From: Richard Wolpoe <PMSRXW@ibi.com>
Yonah Insights

Tony Winston and I exchanged some insights on Yonah on another list. I
asked tony's permission to forward this to Areivim/Avodah and he said ok.
I think it makes good reading...

Shalom and Regards,
Rich Wolpoe

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Re: Reflections on Jonah

Richard Wolpoe wrote:
> One of the lessons I learned from Jonah is that when a
>person evades or avoids his/her MISSION in life the sea
>gest stormy, and the person is sleeping through the
>storm unawake and unaware of what to do
>One message is to wake up and go for your life's
>mission.  It's not the ONLY message of the book, but it
>is a universal recurring theme in humanity, not heeding
>the call.
>Yom Kippur is not only a call to return, Teshuva also
>means RESPOND. Lashuv is to return, LeHASHIV is to
>respond.  G-d calls, we are asked to respond.  We have
>free will and we are able run away from our mission and
>we can go to sleep, but we can never run away from G-d.

I would like to take the liberty of offering some additional thoughts on
the Book of Jonah which I think are complimentary to Richard's thoughts:

Until recently, I always found the book of Jonah, which we read at
Minchah on Yom Kippur, to be highly enigmatic, raising more questions
than it answered. The common simplistic interpretations given, that
Hashem accepts the sincere repentance of anyone, even the non- Jew,
always seemed eminently dis-satisfying. First of all Jonah's message,
"Another forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown", appears weak in
spiritual content. Also, Jonah's reluctance to prophesy to Nineveh and
the relevance of his being cast into the sea and being swallowed by
a fish seemed questionable. The ultimate question always seemed to me
to be why we read this book towards the end of the day on Yom Kippur?
However, a closer examination of the text convinces me that the Book of
Jonah actually gets to the very heart of Israel's mission as a people
and is ideally suited to be read immediately before Neilah.

Jonah is paradigm for Israel. Indeed the name Jonah means dove, which
is often taken as symbolic of Israel (The twelve Prophets, edited
by A Cohen, Soncino Press, 1947). Jonah lived at a time when Israel's
greatest threat was from Assyria. It is quite significant, therefore, that
Jonah is commanded to prophesy to the inhabitants of the capital of this
powerful enemy. Being sent to Nineveh at that time would be comparable to
being sent to Gaza City in our day. It should not be surprising to us,
therefore, that Jonah initially flees in the other direction. Not only
does Jonah fear for his life but he is reluctant for his holy message
to be transmitted to the enemies of Israel. If the people of Nineveh
repent and thrive, it would seem that the military threat to Israel
would increase.

Jonah boards a ship in the port city of Jaffa. After leaving Israel's
coast the ship becomes subjected to a great storm. Lots are cast
to determine who is at fault for endangering the ship and the lot
falls on Jonah. Jonah admits that he is the cause of Hashem's wrath
and relates that the ship can be saved if he is thrown into the sea.
After unsuccessfully trying to row to shore, the ship's crew reluctantly
throws Jonah overboard and he is swallowed by a fish. Jonah remains in
the depths of the ocean and in the darkness of the stomach of the fish
for three days. After three days, Jonah repents, prays to Hashem and is
cast up onto dry land to pursue his mission to prophesy to Nineveh.

Israel's history parallels that of Jonah. Israel has also veered from
its divine mission. Just as the people on the ship are threatened by
the storm, the nations of the world are threatened because they are
dependent on Israel, the priestly nation, for their future redemption
and the completion of Hashem's plan. Israel is therefore destined for
the depths and darkness of exile (ibid). When Israel repents it too will
be redeemed so that it can ultimately fulfill its mission.

Jonah enters and crosses Nineveh giving his divine message, "In forty
days the city of Nineveh will be overthrown". Not only does Jonah survive
this ordeal but the citizens listen to Jonah and repent of their sins.
Hashem changes his decree and the city is spared. Jonah becomes angry
and Hashem to explain that even Israel's enemies were created by Hashem
and therefore worthy of redemption.

Jonah's entry into Nineveh, refers to what will happen in the messianic
age. As stated in several places in the Torah, Israel was chosen by
Hashem to be a holy people, a priestly nation and a light unto the
nations. Israel's mission is to set up a perfect society based on
Hashem's mitzvot. The Book of Jonah tells us that if we set an example,
the other nations of the world, including our enemies, will learn from
Israel and will copy our behaviour. Rather than this threatening Israel's
existence, the final result will be perfect and just societies being
set up throughout the world and all men will live in peace and worship
the true G-d.

As we approach Neilah, we must realize that our repentance not only
affects our own redemption but ultimately that of the world. We have
an important mission to accomplish, which can only be fulfilled by our
subjection to Hashem's will and the fulfillment of the Mitzvot. Let us
pray that this year will see the coming of the messianic age, when the
Jewish people will be looked up to as the example of how to behave, when
the world will become truly just, when all peoples will live in peace and
when everyone everywhere will recognize the divine authority of Hashem.

If I have offended anyone on this list over the past year I sincerely
apologize. I'll try to be more careful in future.

Gemar Chatimah Tovah Tony Winston

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 14:52:44 +0200
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il>
Re: "standing on the shoulders of giants"

On 12 Oct 2000, at 7:38, Micha Berger wrote:

> As to being on the shoulders of giants... R' MM Shneerson uses it to
> answer the question of how the ge'ulah could possibly come to a bunch
> of spiritual chamorim when the mal'achim didn't merit it. We're adding
> little to their foundation, but we're still adding.

Yes, but.... Aren't we also adding to their aveiros? For example, we 
say over and over again in Yom Kippur tfilla "aval anachnu 
v'avoseinu chatanu." And in one of the tfillos in Yom Kippur either 
right before or shortly after "mareh Kohain" we say something 
about how the Bais HaMikdash was nechrav and in our continuing 
aveiros it has not been rebuilt. So while we may be adding to their 
mitzvos, we are also R"L adding to their aveiros, no? All of which 
makes it seem (IMHO anyway) more likely that geula will be b'ita, 
and we'd better daven awfully hard that the "b'ita" is soon....

-- Carl

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: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 09:22:02 -0400
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
RE: Fish on Rosh Hashanah/simcha

Akiva Miller wrote:
: Isn't it a tartay d'sasray, an inherent contradiction? How is it possible to 
: accomplish simcha with something which one does not enjoy?
: I would have thought that if meat (of whatever species) is me'akev, and a 
: person does not enjoy it, then perhaps he is patur, since he has no way to 
: accomplich this simcha in the required manner.
Everyone agrees that during the time of the beis hamikdash we had to bring and 
eat korbenos simchah.  Personal tastes did not play a role.

Gil Student

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 09:06:49 -0400
From: Richard Wolpoe <PMSRXW@ibi.com>
Liturgy as Affirmations - Amidah shel chol

The first 3 brachos - that contain shevach are also in effect
affirmations. This is even moreso in gevuros.

Of the last 3 brachos, the next to last - hodaya - has effectively
affirmations about Hashem's greatness and goodness.

Every siyyum can be seen as an affirmation of a truth about Hashem,
and every Amein can be seen as affirming this is "emes".(amain - Keil
melech neeman)

In the 13 intermeddiate brachos, every phrase prefaced by a "ki" is in
effect an affirmation. Ayein Sham

What we call shvach, can also be seen to be affirming a a truth about
Hashem, EG that He is a Rofei, a Goel, etc.

Shalom and Regards,
Rich Wolpoe


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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 14:32:16 +0200
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il>
Re: Leshannah haba'ah biYerushalayim

On 11 Oct 2000, at 6:02, Isaac A Zlochower wrote:

>                                                              On Yom
> Kippur, we do as best we can, the avodah shebelaiv.  The real avodah
> described by the Torah requires a bet hamikdash.  We, therefore, make
> the prayerful suggestion that next year at this time we will merit to
> perform or witness the real avodah in the rebuilt bet hamikdash.
> Similarly, at the end of the haggadah we say "chasal siddur pesach
> kehilchoto..ka'asher zachinu lesader otoh, keyn nizkeh la'asotoh"....

I see your point about Yom Kippur, but couldn't we also interpret 
the LhBBY (LeShanna haBaa b'Yerushalayim) in the seder as 
applying to Pesach Sheini, which of course would be in the same 

-- Carl

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: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 09:51:20 -0400
From: Richard Wolpoe <PMSRXW@ibi.com>
Re: "standing on the shoulders of giants"

On Thu, 12 Oct 2000 07:54:18 -0400 Micha Berger said:
>                                 The discussion between R' Papa and Abayei
>(Berachos 20a) make it clear that they believed their generation knew
>more, but had less commitment to live al kiddush Hashem.

As I posted several years ago, the reduction in Torah knowledge
in particular the esoteric knowledge was reduced by persecutions.
(al pi Professor Irving Agus)

Two major drops in the Torah IQ happened in the tiem of the Tannaim,
at the time of the churban bayis and after the failed Bar Kochba revolt.
Remember that 24k of R. Akiva's BEST talmidim were lost. Imagine that
RSBT and R. Meier were amongst his most junior talmidim. A similar point
might be said about R Yochan B. Zakkai who was Hillel's most junior Talmid

Dr. Agus makes simlar points re: the Crusades and the loss of Torah in
the Rashi early Tosfos era.

ad kan Dr. Agus

My understanding of mimetics is just a bit different than Micha's.
IMHO the WHAT's survive but the WHY's are lost.

If ashkenzim don Tefilin on ChhM they know what to do but the rationale
has been lost or is fuzzy. That is because the why's were not textually
preserved, the what's were preserved miemtically and eventually
textualized w/o a clear udnerstanding.

And what makes the Talmud Bavli clearer was there was a lot less
persecution there in general, only the era of redaction (circa 500 CE)
is afaik an exception.

And therefore niskatnu is a function of us getting less and less original
transmission and relying upon more and more sevara to fill in the gaps.

The Midrash re: teh lost halachos after the dath of Moshe rabbeinu
helps to illustrate that further. And it is not because the generaton
of Yehoshua were less tzaddikim than the dor deiah, but it is arguable
that they knew less than dor deiah! (after all who could know more than
dor deiah? <smile>).

Niskatnu - aiui - is a function of refraining from overruling previous
generations out of deference to the fact that we do not have the complete
set of Torah information that they had at their disposal. So out of
intellectual honesty and humility, we realize that if we knew what they
knew we would porbably agree with them, but since we don't we are coming
to a different conclusion.

It is arguable that given old kisvey yad, etc. that this gap can
be closed. It is certainly worthwhile considering that gedolim who
specualted what a shver Rambam meant might be overruled when faced with
a ksav yad of a Gmoro that shows the Rambam paskened like HIS girsa and
ours is different. (IIRC this is the case with Yibbum bizman hazeh, that
the Rambam's girsa was different and therefor he paskened differently).

Bottom line, imho, niskatnu has to do with the progessive lose of
TSBP transmission, expecially that which was lost during crises and

Shalom and Regards,
Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 10:08:47 -0400
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: "standing on the shoulders of giants"

Probably about 6-7 years I attended a shabbos shiur by Dr. Leiman dealing
with this topic.  My very vague recollection is that he traced back the
usage of "nanas ha'omed al gabei anak" to the Tos. Rid (who I think lived
before Newton).  Anybody else attend that shiur?

Kol tuv,

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 10:03:54 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: "standing on the shoulders of giants"

RHM wrote:
: >Hence, Amoraim can't argue against Tanaim, Rishonim
: >cant argue against Amoraim, and Achronim (except for
: >Rabbi Kramer) can't argue with Rishonim.

Last time we discussed this it was pointed out that in the opinion
of RYBS and others, it's "won't argue" not "can't argue". IOW, it's a
willing acknowledgement by the latter generation that they are less able
to create halachah -- not a technical lack of authority.

On Thu, Oct 12, 2000 at 08:34:18AM -0400, Richard Wolpoe wrote:
: but rishonim argued with gaonim

As did tana'im with members of the zugos, and savora'im with amora'im. And
one could question current acharonim arguing with the Bach or the
Taz. Which is why I defined an era by two elements -- a rupture in culture
and the acceptance of a Mishnah, Talmud Bavli, or Shulchan Aruch / Mapah.

As mashiach will undoubtedly come first, we won't know if the same will
happen after the current reconstruction.


Micha Berger                 When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org            you do not chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org       You light a candle.
(973) 916-0287                  - R' Yekusiel Halbserstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 09:54:29 -0400
From: Richard Wolpoe <PMSRXW@ibi.com>
Re: "standing on the shoulders of giants"

On Thu, 12 Oct 2000 09:40:31 -0400 Carl M. Sherer said:
>Yes, but.... Aren't we also adding to their aveiros? For example, we
>say over and over again in Yom Kippur tfilla "aval anachnu
>v'avoseinu chatanu."

FWIW nusach Roedelheim/Heidenheim has ONLY aval anachnu chatano.
Avoseinu is omitted

I like it because I like to speak on behalf of myself and
not on behalf of others.  I.e. Lo yumso banim al avos.

Shalom and Regards,
Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 10:12:21 -0400
From: "Stein, Aryeh E." <aes@ll-f.com>
FW: Machnisei Rachamim Apologetics

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
> The Satan is portrayed as not enjoying his job, just like the messenger
> who is sent by the king to tempt the prince with a purse of money and
> a ride to the door of a house of ill repute. The king needs to test
> the prince, the prince needs to practice overcoming ta'avah, and the
> messenger really wants him to pass the test.

This reminds me of vort I once heard concerning the fight between the malach
of Eisav and Yaakov.  They fought until daylight, when the malach had to
leave because it was his turn to say shira.  How was it decided (up in
shamayim) whose turn it was to say shira?  The Medrash says that it was a
malach's turn to say shira only after he had completed his "job."  Thus,
after the fight between the malach and Yaakov, the malach had completed his
job, and, therefore, it was his turn to say shira.

Q. - How can you say he completed his job.... The malach lost the fight and
he had to bentch Yaakov?

A. - This shows that when the satan tempts us to sin, he doesn't care if we
withstand the nisayon or not.  His job is merely to tempt us.

(See also the Lekach Tov (LT) on parshas Chai Sara, where he explains what
the satan was trying to accomplish when he informed Sara about the Akeida.
(According to the LT (or the source quoted by the LT, don't remember
offhand) the satan actually wants us to withstand the temptation (as RMSB
explained).  This puts the satan in a different light than, I believe, we
grew up with.)

(The LT explains that everytime we do a mitzva, we have two nisyonos: 1) the
temptation not to do it; and 2) the possibility that we will regret doing
the mitzva afterwards.  So, by the akeida, the satan wanted to try to get
Avraham to regret going up to sacrifice Yitzchak (given that this ultimately
led to  Sarah's death), but, alas, Avraham passed this test as well (and
this is why Avraham minimized his crying for Sarah... so that people
shouldn't think that he regretted the akeida.)  Ayin sham.  IIRC, the LT
brings down the mashal about the king, his son and the king's messenger that
RMSB mentioned.


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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 10:16:14 -0400
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: Yom Kippur Notes

In Avodah V6 #11, SBAbeles wrote:
> Parshas Aroyos at Mincha

Rabbi Eliyahu Teitz had a nice thought which I'd briefly like to share
(and any mistakes I may have made in understanding it are entirely mine):
the point of Haftoras Yonah is not the t'shuvah done by Ninevaih --
it's the t'shuvah done by *Yonah*, who _knew_ that he was doing the
wrong thing in refusing to proclaim the message of HKBH and _knew_ he
could not rationalize the actions he instead took, yet was still able to
do t'shuvah and have that t'shuvah accepted by HKBH; its connection to
the leining at Mincha, and the reason we lein this parsha, is that the
no-nos detailed therein (and, by extension, gilui arayos in general) are
ones we know are wrong & cannot possibly rationalize if we are nichshal
in them, yet can still do t'shuvah upon.

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 10:42:50 -0400
From: Richard Wolpoe <PMSRXW@ibi.com>
Re: Leshannah haba'ah biYerushalayim

On Thu, 12 Oct 2000 09:40:32 -0400 Carl M. Sherer said:
>I see your point about Yom Kippur... LhBBY (LeShanna haBaa
> b'Yerushalayim) ...

And FWIW, the Roedelheim Machzor does NOT have LhBbY at
the end of Ne'ilah - what we call "sheimos".

Shalom and Regards,
Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 12:06:16 EDT
From: YFel912928@aol.com
Bread and Salt

    Shoshana L. Boublil wrote, "Recently someone told me of a custom to bring 
bread and salt to a new home. Can anyone identify the source of the custom 
and it's meaning?"

    I've seen my mother a"h bring candles too, and I always took it to 
represent the bare minimum one would need to make Shabbos.
    -- Yaakov Feldmsn

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 14:52:52 GMT
From: "" <sethm37@hotmail.com>
Re: Yom Kippur Notes

On 11 Oct 2000, at 16:12, Richard Wolpoe [quoted RCS]:
>> We don't say Mimamakim. In fact, most of the places I have been in
>>EY don't say Mimamakim (even on RH and YK)....

The first point to understand is that this was an addition 'al pi
qabbolo in the 16th-17th centuries. It was not accepted so fast by
all kehillos. The Gra' opposed it as he opposed all additions to the
tefilla 'al pi qabbolo (see, for example, in Ma'ase Rav in reference
to all the pesuqim said before blowing the shofar, among many other
examples there). The Gra' did not mention the issue of hefseq. That was
mentioned by other aharonim (references b'n tomorrow). Because of this,
even some places that do not follow the Gra' in everything do not say
shir hama'alos here, but in EY where most places follow the Gra', they
of course do not say it. The old minhagim bukh's in Ashkenaz show that
it was not said there even in the 18th century; Teimanim even today
do not say it. RYBS's custom of allowing it to be said before nishmas
was a compromise to allow the tzibbur to say it, and still be correct
according to halokho, but not a custom from Europe.

Seth Mandel

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 11:54:30 -0400
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: kodosh atoh

In Avodah V6 #10, MBerger wrote:
> The question is whether they would make a tephillah for which there
> is no peshuto shel matbei'ah (for want of an expression).

> I would think not. Based upon discussion on Mesorah, I would not
> assume [everyone] here agrees.

We previously had an Avodah discussion re "onu v'o'm'ru" -- to rephrase
a point of contention in terms of the above language, we may disagree on
what "peshuto shel matbei'ah" actually is and we did disagree on whether
knowing it was a prerequisite to davening "with kavanah."

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 13:14:45 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Yom Kippur Notes

In a message dated 10/12/00 7:12:28 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
C1A1Brown@aol.com writes:
>  The tochacha/kelala of HaAzinu is nevuah; that of Ki Tavo is expressed
>  conditionally. Shirah is characterized by content (prophetic vision of
>  the future as opposed to narrative or conditional schar/onesh), by the
>  arrangement of pesukim with unique breaks ...

See The last Tos. on Megila 31b, due to the current Eis Tzara I am not using 
the D"H, and may the Oisiyois of Tzarah be reversed to Tzohar (Kpirush 
HaBASH"T), and may the whole Kllal Yisroel have a true Simchas Yom Tov, and 
the Gulah Shleima, (Shaychus of Gulah to Sukkos see Reish A"Z and Psachim 3 
Rishon's), Vnochal Sham Min Hazvachim.

Kol Tuv, GT,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 14:05:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: "standing on the shoulders of giants"

--- Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> Last time we discussed this it was pointed out that in the opinion
> of RYBS and others, it's "won't argue" not "can't argue". 

That may be true and is borne out by the fact that the Gra does in
fact argue with Rishonim, but it is a distinction without a practical
difference since no Acharon would do so without being totally rejected
by his peers as approaching tremendous chutzpah and lack of respect to
the Doros HaRishonim and therefore not a true Yiras Shomayim. All an
Acharon can do today is say that he doesn't understand the given Rishon.
The fact that the Gra's ability to argue with Rishonim, was accepted
gives testament to the great awe and respect that the Gra had from his
peers, I don't think any other Acharon would have been able to achieve
that kind of acceptance.


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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 15:42:28 -0400
From: Richard Wolpoe <PMSRXW@ibi.com>
Are Kabbala and "Jewish Mysticism" Synonymous?

Are Kabbala and "Jewish Mysticism" Synonymous?
(C) 2000 by Richard Wolpoe
This article addresses the definitions of the terms Kabbala and
Jewish Mysticism

Webster's defines mysticism:

       Main Entry: mys.ti.cism
       Pronunciation: 'mis-t&-"si-z&m
       Function: noun
       Date: 1736
       1 : the experience of mystical union or direct communion
       with ultimate reality reported by mystics
       2 : the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual
       truth, or ultimate  reality can be attained through
       subjective experience (as intuition or insight)
       3 a : vague speculation : a belief without sound basis b : a
       theory postulating the possibility of direct
       and intuitive acquisition of ineffable knowledge or power

(For this article, let's restrict our use to definitions #1 and #2).

Based upon this definition:
A) Does one need to learn or master Kabbala in order to affect a
Union {deveikus} with the Creator?
B) Does one need to learn or master Kabbala in order to experience
G-d directly?
C) Does Judaism require Kabbala to bridge the gap to G-d?

I will offer a simpler definition of mysticism:
"The process by which humans bridge the gap between themselves and
(Please remember that I, like Webster, am a native of West Hartford,
CT. So I am using this mystical connection as my lexicographic license!

I would argue that Kabbala is NOT a prerequisite to becoming a "mystic"
There is plenty of Torah readily available to achieve mystical states
of mind without even entering the realm of "Kabbala". Do I mean to
imply that Kabbala is *not* mysticism? No, it clearly is mystical,
but it is not a complete view of Jewish Mysticism.

Here comes the critical distinction:
There are two separate, distinct forms of Jewish Mysticism
1) The revealed
2) The esoteric

Let's use Webster again to define esoteric:
      Main Entry: es.o.ter.ic
      Pronunciation: "e-s&-'ter-ik
      Function: adjective
      Etymology: Late Latin esotericus, from Greek esOterikos,
      from  esOterO, comparative of eisO, esO within,
      from eis into; akin to Greek  en in -- more at IN
      Date: circa 1660
      1 a : designed for or understood by the specially
      initiated alone
      <a  body of esoteric legal doctrine -- B. N.Cardozo>
       b : of or relating to knowledge that is restricted
      to a small group
       2 a : limited to a small circle <esoteric pursuits> b :
      PRIVATE,  CONFIDENTIAL <an esoteric purpose>  *

"Kabbala" is that part of mysticism that was a guarded secret (as
in definition #2 above). It was passed on in secret, privately to
individuals. It contains then the "secrets" of Jewish Mysticism.

Therefore the revealed Jewish Mysticism is open to all and readily
available. It includes the book of Tehilim {Psalms}. Apparently R.
Akiva would have considered Shir haShirim {Song of Songs} *the*
most holy book of mysticism. Vast amounts of Talmud and Midrash
are clearly transcendent in nature. Our liturgy abounds in mystical
topics. Any calling to, or connection with, the Transcendent G-d is a
mystical subject. The Rambam {Maimonides}, who himself was quite the
rationalist, nevertheless delves into the nature of G-d, paradise the
world to come etc,. all mystical topics. Yet it is a stretch to say that
Rambam mastered Kabbala, it is likely that he never did, and if he did,
he did not do so before he published several of his major tomes.

Kabbala can be equated to the Sod {secrets}> of the Torah. But equating
it to mysticism per se is not quite accurate. While regarding Kabbala it
is recommended that one attain the maturity of a forty-year-old and fill
one's "belly" with Talmud, etc. prior to entering the realm of Kabbala;
this does not deprive one of the general Jewish Myst ical experience,
only of the hidden one. * Truly anyone who absorbs themselves in Torah
and in communing with Hashem {G-d} and develops a 6th sense, a feeling,
a poetic muse, an intuitive feel for Torah has begun to master mysticism.
However, they are not yet a Kabbalist.

Kabbala therefore is rightfully a limited subset of a more comprehensive
Jewish Mysticism; a mysticism that embraces a revealed aspect that
is broader and more available to all. Kabbala remains the province of
the hidden.

 Note: definitions for mysticism and esoteric were taken from:
     http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary  *
     (c) 2000 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

Shalom and Regards,
Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 05:39:48 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Yerushalmi Query

We will be starting TY Sede Nezikin IY"H after Sukkos (we are almost two 
months behind!).

R' Saul Lieberman calls TY Nezikin "Talmuda shel Keisarin", claiming it was 
redacted in Caesarea.

The folks up at Katzrin claim that Katzrin, in the Golan, is more often 
than not the Keisarin in both Talmudim - not Caesarea.

Does anyone here know any scholarly (or even popular) writings and essays 
on the matter?



ygb@aishdas.org      http://www.aishdas.org/rygb

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Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000 23:28:39 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
RE: tinok shenishba

At 07:53 PM 10/11/00 -0400, Shinnar, Meir wrote:

>It is not only that I did not find the linguistic term rasha.  Rather, the
>concept of rasha (in any term that you choose - mumar, mehallel shabbat
>befarhesya, kofer, etc) does not apply to the TsN, and there are tshuvot (I

This is not correct.

Except according to the Binyan Tziyon, for example, the halacha of stam 
yeinam is accepted by all Poskim as applying to Mechalelei Shabbos b'zman 
ha'zeh.This includes ROY (YE 1:YD-11). Even the Binyan Tziyon (YD 23) who 
cites the TsN sevoro still calls them - many times in a short teshuva: 
"Posh'ei Yisroel."

And (I told you to look further!), In IgM YD 4:91:6 RMF pretty much 
explicitly makes the point that I have made already several times, using 
the TsN sevoro yet, again, calling them many times in a short teshuva: Kofrim."

Let me stress that: RMF makes clear that TsN is only an indicator that 
"v'ein aleihem ha'dinim" that I have noted before - no more, no less.

Zri bleiben - nebbich - Kofrim.

The TE is merely discussing their status vis a vis one of those dinim - 
hatzolo. You might want to see the feascintaing teshuva in TE 17:36 where 
he notes that there is no din to hate resha'im ba'zman ha'zeh - aderaba, we 
must love them and be mekareiv them - but he does make an interesting 
chilluk concerning "ha'miskomemim al ha'Torah v'rotzim la'asos eizzeh 
takkanos b'inyanei ha'ir v'al yedei zeh ya'aviru es ha'am mei'ratzon 
Hashem" - which fits pretty neatly the description, unfortuately, of many 
of your "Manhigei Yisroel" that are trying to institute a "secular revolution."

All this with minimal research (no CD!). I am sure much more can be found.

Sorry, I am quite sure you remain in the wrong on this issue.

I have not looked yet again at the several teshuvos RMF has on giving 
kibbudim to mumarim. I can, if you'd like.


ygb@aishdas.org      http://www.aishdas.org/rygb

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