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Volume 06 : Number 059

Thursday, December 7 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 15:16:30 +0000
From: luntz <luntz@demon.co.uk>

On  Mon, 4 Dec 2000 17:15:16 +0200 "Carl M. Sherer" writes
>On 3 Dec 2000, at 21:11, Isaac A Zlochower wrote:
>>                                    Or why should a husband not sacrafice
>> some of his study time and take care of the kids while his wife studies?
>Because the husband has a chiyuv to learn and the wife doesn't?

Isn't the whole question more complicated than this?  Because while the man 
does indeed have a chiyuv to learn and the wife doesn't, according to many 
opinions, the husband also has a chiyuv to a) be mechanech his children (once 
they reach the age of chinuch) and b) to support and look after them (at a 
minimum up to the age of six) while the wife doesn't.

Thus, technically, is not the default position that the husband has the 
responsibility to take care of the kids, full stop.  It may be that he can 
find a willing shaliach in the form of the wife (possibly in exchange for his 
supporting her, ie providing mezonos etc), or an external shaliach (the 
teachers at school, a babysitter) who also usually require payment.  But 
assuming none of these are available or willing (eg the wife says, I am going 
to a shiur/shopping/girls night out), would not the default position be that 
his primary chiyuv kicks in to make sure there is some sort of cover, and if 
none can be financially acquired, then his primary obligation would be to 
provide such cover himself.

Now vis a vis the wife, presumably by staying she is assisting in permitting 
(ie enabling) two mitzvahs to be done, rather than one, but so is the 
babysitter (ie from a strictly halachic point of view, is it any more 
acceptable for a requested babysitter to turn around and say, "oh we have a 
school play/exams we need to prepare for so I can't come and babysit" than for 
a wife to say, "Oh I have a shiur, I can't stay").  And it is interesting to 
note that, in the whole discussion of moredes, while there is one point of 
view that regards a moredes as one who refuses to do the required housework 
for her husband (in circumstances, presumably, where she is supported by him, 
and has not brought in sufficient maidservants to take that load), that 
ennumerated list does *not* include looking after the children (with the 
possible exception of breastfeeding them).

So isn't the correct analysis that rather than him "sacrificing" a bit of his 
learning to allow her to go to a shiur (say once a week), she is enabling his 
learning five or six (or however many) of the other nights a week she does not 
go to a shiur by agreeing to stay home and be his shaliach in fulfulling his 
mitzvah of looking after his children thereby freeing him to perform another 
mitzvah of learning.


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Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 09:40:42 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Yaakov and Taryag Mitzvos

In a message dated 12/5/00 1:06:39pm EST, richard_wolpoe@ibi.com writes:
> According to Rashi in Vayishlach, Yaakov observes all Taryag Mistzvos
> while with Lavan. Question: according to this Shita (as opposed
> to the Ramban) how can we explain Yaakov's marrying of 2 sisters?
> Mema mafashach, if if is mutarr, fine but then how is he mekayyem
> Trayag Mitzvos?

The L. Rebbe in a Sicha says that is why Rashi uses the term "Shomarti" 
(guarded) vs. "Kiyamti" (kept) since he had Heter (or obligation) to marry 2 
sisters he wasn't Oiver (Shmira is a negative), Al Derech Pikuach Nefesh 
which is Docheh.

Kol Tuv, 
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 11:36:44 -0500
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: Yaakov and Taryag Mitzvos

Rich Wolpoe wrote:
> According to Rashi in Vayishlach, Yaakov observes all Taryag Mistzvos while 
> with Lavan. Question: according to this Shita (as opposed to the Ramban) how 
> can we explain Yaakov's marrying of 2 sisters? Mema mafashach, if if is 
> mutarr, fine but then how is he mekayyem Trayag Mitzvos?

The Maharal, in his Gur Aryeh to Bereishis 46:10, offers three possibilities.  
His first is that anyone prior to Matan Torah who decided to keep the mitzvos 
was like a convert in that respect and therefore, regarding mitzvos, is "like a 
newborn baby" and has no relatives.  This is similar to how converts are viewed 
post-Matan Torah.  Therefore, Rachel and Leah were not considered sisters in 
reference to mitzvot and specifically the prohibition against marrying sisters.

Alternatively, he suggests that while Ya'akov generally kept mitzvos,
he had Ruach HaKodesh which told him to marry them. Therefore, he
violated his habit of following the Torah and married the two sisters.

He also suggests that, before Matan Torah, those who kept mitzvot were
in the halachic category of someone who is not obligated, similar to
women who keep timebound mitzvos. By doing the mitzvah, they are coming
closer to G-d and are rewarded for it. However, this only applies
to positive commandments. Refraining from negative commandment on
which one was not commanded is meaningless and not rewarded at all.
Therefore, Ya'akov could marry two sisters because he did not refrain
from violating negative commandments. The Maharal notes that this is
slightly problematic because the midrash says that Ya'akov kept Taryag
(613) Mitzvos which includes the 248 negative commandments.

Gil Student

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Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 14:27:58 -0500
From: "Wolpoe, Richard" <richard_wolpoe@ibi.com>
What Makes Rashi so Beloved

Many years ago, an acquaintance of mine - an observant psychologist -
explained to me how Rashi captivated the hearts of Jews for centuries
to come. An example is found in last week's Sedra:

In Toldos, 28:5 Rashi comments re: Eim Yaakov v'Esav (the mother of
Jacob and Esau)

"Eini Yodea ma melamdeinu".
I do not know what this teaches us.

Two points come to mind:
1) Rashi's humility that he actually publishes and publicizes his own
admitted ignorance.
2) The implication, that this same, humble soul would do anything to
TRY and explain this verse, {or for that matter any difficult verse}
if he could do so. Which is a subtle affirmation of how honest his
other explanations are.

Shalom and Regards,
Rich Wolpoe


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Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 10:48:53 -0500
From: "David Glasner" <DGLASNER@ftc.gov>
Re: From the Dor Revi'i website on parashat va-yeitzei

Here are two divrei torah on this weeks parashah that should 
be up soon on the Dor Revi'i website

Concerning the second one on v'yikah mei-avnei ha-makom, I have a
question. The Dor Revi'i argues that Hazal deduced that the stones were
miraculously combined in one, not from any stirat ha-p'sukim, because as
Tosafot observe on Hulin 91b, the simple p'shat is that Ya'akov took one
of the stones of the place, but because Ya'akov would not have made a
matzeivah, which is prohibited by the Torah, had he not seen that the
stones of the place had been miraculously combined into one. Thus,
the matzeivah that he placed there in reality consisted of many stones
not one, and was not a true matzeivah.

My question is that in parashat va-yishlah there are two other places
where it says that Ya'akov places a matzeivah, and there was no miracle.
However, one of them seems to be at the same place, and presumably the
same matzeivah as on the way to Haran, and the second was at the tomb
of Rahel. Perhaps one could say that the matzeivah at the tomb of Rahel
was more of a marker of the gravesite than a form of religious worshp
and therefore did not run afoul of the prohibition against a matzeivah.
Are there any other places in the Torah where a matzeivah was placed.
In looking through the recent parashiot quickly this morning I couldn't
find any other places.

Herewith the Dor Revi'i (from Dor Revi'i on Hulin 91b)

va-yeitzei Ya¢akov mi-B¢eir Sheva va-yeilekh Haranah va-yiphga ba-makom
va-yalen sham ki va ha-shemesh . . . v¢hayah ha-Shem li lei-lokim: The
Gemara explains the words *and Ya¢akov went out from B¢eir Sheva, and
went towards Haran. And he lighted upon the place* (va-yiphga ba-makom)
as follows: *when he arrived at Haran, Ya¢akov said, *is it possible that
I passed by the place at which my fathers prayed (i.e., Mount Moriah)
without praying there as well?* When he set his mind to return (kad
yahiv da¢ateih li-m¢hedar) the land leapt for him (i.e. his journey
was miraculously shortened), and immediately he lighted upon the place.
After he prayed, he wanted to return. The Holy One Blessed Be He said,
¡this righteous one has come to my inn and is it right that he should
leave without sleeping?¢ The sun set immediately.*
	My father, my teacher, my master, the gaon of blessed
memory (R. Avraham Glasner, 1826-78) explained that Ya¢akov, who
 had been ensconced for fourteen years in the academy of Sheim
and Eiver, had longed to study the Torah so passionately that he
despised all worldly activities and had only grudgingly complied with
the commandment of his parents that he travel to Lavan¢s house to
 marry and become involved in mundane activities. So the Gemara
tells us that as soon as Ya¢akov arrived in Haran after passing by the
Divine mountain, the place dedicated to prayer by Avraham and Yitzhak,
he said, *is it possible that when I was immersed in Torah in the academy
of Sheim and Eiver that I could have passed by such a holy place without
feeling its holiness?* And because he had just passed by Mount Moriah
without feeling its holiness, Ya¢akov decided that his intention of going
to Lavan¢s house to become involved in mundane matters was not right,
for that intention had already shown its effect: to profane him and to
separate him from his attachment to what is holy. He therefore set his
mind to return to the academy of Sheim and Eiver, because only there
could he be *a plain man, abiding in tents* (ish tam, yosheiv ohalim).
For what would he accomplish by engaging in worldly pursuits that would
only detract from his holiness?
 Ya¢akov was immediately transported back to Mount Moriah and he
prayed. When he finished, he wanted to return, i.e., return to the cademy
of Sheim and Eiver. He immediately fell asleep there, because the sun had
set (va-yalen sham ki va ha-shemesh), and then the Holy One Blessed Be He
showed Ya¢akov that his intention to return to the academy was not right.
For to separate oneself entirely from the valuables of the world and to
be involved only in reflection is not the function of man in this world.
To be involved in reflection only is the calling of an angel
 that has no evil inclination. But a human being perfects himself by
 living in
a community and rejoicing, as the Torah permits, in the temporal life.
In this way one fills the commandment *to know Him in all your ways*
(b¢khol d¢rakheka da¢eihu), thereby uniting body and soul. This was the
message of the dream *and behold a ladder set up on earth* (v¢hineih
sulam mutzav artzah). The ladder symbolizes man in this world, the
world of action, because, at each moment, he is either ascending or
descending, going
 either to a higher level or a lower level. Although the primary
 place and
condition of man is on the ground (*mutzav artzah*), but his head may
reach the heavens (*v¢rosho magia ha-shamayimah*), for one is required
to use this world as a preparation for the next one, as we are told
*prepare yourself in the vestibule so that you may enter the banquet hall*
(Avot 4:21). The phrase *and behold angels of G-d going up and down on
it* means that angels at first stand on a higher level than man, but they
may be surpassed by a complete person who fulfills his obligation to know
G-d in all his ways. As the Gemara here (Hulin 91b) explains, Israel is
more precious than angels to the Holy One Blessed Be He. And should you
say that this test is too difficult, for who can survive a battle with the
evil inclination if he does not enclose himself within the four cubits of
the law, that is why Ya¢akov was shown that *the Eternal stood above him*
(ha-Sheim nitzav alav) that is, to watch over him. And when Ya¢akov
awoke he said, *how fearful is this place* (mah nora ha-makom ha-zeh)
by which he meant that this path that he was directed to follow * to join
the two opposites in order to unify and perfect himself * is awesome and
perilous. Ya¢akov continued, *this is none other than the house of G-d*
(ein zeh ki im beit Elokim), which means that his ultimate goal must be
to unify his heart to his Heavenly Father, *and this is
 the gate to Heaven* (v¢zeh sha¢ar ha-shamayim), which means that the way
to achieve this goal is to follow the path on which I have started to
Haran * to mary a wife and to tend the sheep of Lavan. The path is
awesome and perilous, for who knows if I will merit to achieve my goal.
Ya¢akov therefore vowed his vow: *If G-d will be with me, and will keep
me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and a garment to
put on, So that I return to my father¢s house in peace and the Eternal
shall be my G-d, then this stone which I have put for a pillar shall
be G-d¢s house: and all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the
tenth unto Thee.*

va-yikah mei-avnei ha-makom . . . va-yikah et ha-even: The Tosafot wrote
(Hulin 91b) that the simple explanation is not that Ya¢akov took many
stones which were miraculously combined into a single stone, but that he
took one stone from the stones of the place. However, if that were the
proper interpretation, it would be difficult to understand why Hazal
deduced from the verse that all the stones gathered into one place,
and each one said *let this righteous one lay his head upon me.* The
most reasonable interpretation would have been that he took that one
stone that he had taken earlier, not that there had been a miraculous
combining of many stones. But it appears to my poor judgment, that
Hazal did not deduce that a miracle had occurred because they saw any
contradiction between the verses. Rather, they were troubled that since
there had been many stones available, since it is written *he took
from the stones of the place* (va-yikah mei-avnei ha-makom), why did
Ya¢akov specifically take that stone upon which he had laid his head,
a stone that had been put to a mundane use. It would have been more
appropriate to have taken a stone that had never been used by anyone,
which would be greater homage to Heaven. They therefore deduced that the
stones of the place gathered together and were miraculously transformed
into a single stone, so that no others were left. And the proof that
this is so is that if the basis for the deduction were, as is usually
supposed, a contradiction between the two verses, why was it said that
all the stones of the place gathered together? Was it not Ya¢akov who
took some stones and arranged them as a kind of border around his head,
as Rashi comments on the verse in
 the Torah. And if so, it was only those stones that had been selected
by Ya¢akov that were arguing. So it must be as we have explained it
that all the stones of the place were arguing and were transformed into a
single stone. And according to the Kabbalists who say that these stones
were from the altar upon which Yitzhak had been bound by Avraham, all the
stones desired that Ya¢akov should lay his head upon them. And one could
say that Ya¢akov was inspired to use that stone as a pillar owing to his
modesty, because he did not believe himself to be sufficiently holy for
the stones to have been arguing for his sake and that a miracle was then
performed to transform then into a single stone. He instead attributed
the argument and the miracle to the desire of the stones that to be
part of the pillar that they anticipated that he was going to set up.
And in this Aggadah I would explain in a pleasant way Ya¢akov¢s words
*and this stone which I set up as a pillar shall be G-d¢s house.* See
the commentaries of Rashi and the Ramban. According to what has been said
previously, one could say that a pillar was prohibited when the Torah was
given, as it is written, *thou shalt not set up for thyself a pillar*
(lo takum lekha matzeivah). But the Sages said that although a pillar
was beloved in the time of the Patriarchs it was despised later, because
the idolaters prescribed it as the procedure for offering sacrifices.
But this is very difficult, because the idolaters built so many altars,
as it is written *and ye shall uproot their altars* (v¢nitzatem et
mizb¢hotam), (Deuteronomy 12:3) and we see that Bilam built many altars,
and the entire procedure of offering a sacrifice was followed in idolatry,
as it is written *so that they should not sacrifice further to the satyrs*
(l¢ma¢an lo yizb¢hu od la-s¢irim), and it is also written *and they will
eat the sacrifices of the dead and drink the wine of their libations.*
So there was no difference between our method of sacrifice and theirs
except that they were sacrificing to demons and not to the Deity,
while we were sacrificing to Heaven to the blessed Ein Sof, and with
the intent that was prescribed by the Torah. And if so, what was the
difference between a pillar and any other altar? But the difference,
as Rashi explains, between a pillar and an altar is that a pillar is a
single stone and an altar is made up of many stones, so that, according
to what has been said here that all the stones were combined into one,
the pillar that Ya¢akov set up really had the status of an altar, not
a pillar, because it was made up of many stones.
 Ya¢akov therefore said, *this stone that I have set up as a pillar will
 be fitting to be
the House of G-d even after the Torah is given.* And in truth, a pillar
was always despised by G-d, because of some hidden reason, but Ya¢akov¢s
pillar was different because it was like an altar. v¢dok ki hu kaftor
va-pherah b¢siyata di-shemaya.

David Glasner

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Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 16:01:57 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Re: Yaakov and Taryag Mitzvos

> His first is that anyone prior to Matan Torah who decided to keep the
> mitzvos was like a convert in that respect and therefore, regarding
> mitzvos, is "like a newborn baby" and has no relatives.

I guess this would assume Rachel and Leah had different mothers (as per
Rambam Issurei Biya 14:16); also yesh lachkor whether 'get shenisgayer
k'katan shenolad' applied kodem mattan Torah (I think the Shev Shmaytza
raises this in his hakdamah).

> Alternatively, he suggests that while Ya'akov generally kept mitzvos,
> he had Ruach HaKodesh which told him to marry them.

The Da'as Zekeinim (Ber. 37) answers this way as well, with the important
addition that Ya'akov's shmiras hamitzvos was b'geder aino metzuveh
v'oseh, otherwise how could divrei nevuah override a direct tzivuy?
A twist on this is the Nefesh haChaim's pshat that the Avos were sensitive
to the tikkunim effected by shmiras hamitzvos and when they perceived
a greater good could be accomlished by being doche the mitzva/issur,
they acted accordingly - however, once the Torah was given, we could no
longer use the end to justify suspending the rules. (Aside: see YGB's
he'oro on this Nefesh HaChaim in Bigdei Sheish).

The Parashas Derachim devotes much of the first two essays to these


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Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 16:18:35 -0500
From: "Wolpoe, Richard" <richard_wolpoe@ibi.com>
RE: Yaakov and Taryag Mitzvos

> A twist on this is the Nefesh haChaim's pshat that the Avos were sensitive
> to the tikkunim effected by shmiras hamitzvos and when they perceived
> a greater good could be accomlished by being doche the mitzva/issur,
> they acted accordingly - however, once the Torah was given, we could no
> longer use the end to justify suspending the rules. (Aside: see YGB's
> he'oro on this Nefesh HaChaim in Bigdei Sheish).

Doesn't this Nefesh haChayim reflect the Maharal's reason #2 as posted by Gil?

Shalom and Regards,
Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 18:03:49 -0500
From: "Markowitz, Chaim" <CMarkowitz@scor.com>
Bracha of "Vayitein L'chah"

One mehalech in understandinghow Yitzchak was fooled by Eisav is that Eisav
had the potential to be the one who served HKB"H thru Olam Hazeh while
Yaakov was the one who was destined to serve HKB"H through total ruchniyus
(i.e. sitting and learning). It was only because Eisav blew it that Yaakov
received the bracha of "Vayitein L'chah" besides teh Birchas Avraham he got
at the end of the Parsha. 

I had 2 ha'aros on this mehalech.

1) According to this you have to say that Yaakov buying the Bechor from
Eisav had nothing to do with which bracha he got-they are 2 independent

2) I thought this idea fits in very nicely with a Rav Tzaddok that I saw.
Rav Tzaddok explains the reason we say "Vayitein L'chah" on Motzei Shabbos
is because we are trying to carry the kedusha of shabbos into the rest of
the week and be mekadeish the gashmiyus. R Tzaddok explains that this bracha
represents that idea. L'fi HaNal this fits in very well. Eisav should have
been the one to serve HKB"H with the gashmiyus by utilizing this world for
the sake of HKB"H. That's why he should have gotten the bracha of "Vayitein

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Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 19:13:43 EST
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Re: Mussar and Chassidus

In a message dated 12/6/00 2:26:45pm CST, MSB writes:
> I wouldn't have described Chassidus as Mussar's intellectual cousin,
> unless you mean that they are cousins on an intellectual plain. Both
> share the notion of creating hanhagos beyond the shuras hadin. Both
> also define their goal in experiential, not textual, terms. But the
> goal itself is very different. Mussar aims for temimus both in how one
> is motivated and in personal interation; while C is more about finding
> ways both in and beyond halachah to be nidvak to the Ribbono shel Olam. >>

LAFD, I have found that M can be quite depresssing because it has a bitul 
hayesh or self nullification aspect to it. OTOH, C talks a lot about the 
man's potential and the specific potential for kedusha.
                     Steve Brizel

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Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 21:08:31 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Mussar and Chassidus

On Wed, Dec 06, 2000 at 07:13:43PM -0500, Zeliglaw@aol.com wrote:
: LAFD, I have found that M can be quite depresssing because it has a bitul 
: hayesh or self nullification aspect to it. OTOH, C talks a lot about the 
: man's potential and the specific potential for kedusha.

Navardok, with its focus on eliminating egotism ("venafshi ke'afar lakol
yihyeh"), might lead to such an experience.

Slabodka, however, focuses on human dignity, on man as tzelem E-lokim,
on insuring that people have enough self confidence to step in and do

I'm sure this over-simplification will drive RYGB to posting a correction.


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 Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 23:59:22 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Mussar and Chassidus

At 07:13 PM 12/6/00 -0500, Steve Brizel <Zeliglaw@aol.com> wrote:
>LAFD, I have found that M can be quite depresssing because it has a bitul
>hayesh or self nullification aspect to it. OTOH, C talks a lot about the
>man's potential and the specific potential for kedusha.

Ask any Chabadnik you happen to see.

Bittul ha'yesh is a far greater value for them than for any Ba'al Mussar.

At 09:08 PM 12/6/00 -0500, Micha Berger wrote:
>Navardok, with its focus on eliminating egotism...
>Slabodka, however, focuses on human dignity...

It's not incorrect, but somewhat exaggerated.

Navardokers believed to no extent near to Chassidus in Bittul ha'Yesh. They 
are Misnagdim too!

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

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Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 22:06:00
From: "michael horowitz" <michaelh1@hotmail.com>
Woman and learning

>	If you are asking whether he should close the Gemara when she
>needs help with the kids, I think most of us here understand that
>that is required. But he should close the Gemara so she can open
>hers? Yishtaka hadavar.


I would think this would not be a simple answer.   We can expand the 
question, Would we recommend a man cut his work hours and devote more of his 
time to learning, because he would need less money if he stopped sending his 
daughters to Beis Yaakov and instead sent then to Public school.

Obviously the answer is no.  I know of no rabbinical authority that has made 
this suggestion.  We realize that in our day and age girls do need a level 
of formal Jewish education that previous generations did not in order to 
remain frum.

This need for Jewish knowledge does not end at 18.  Certainly all 
authorities require (not allow) women to study practical halacha.  Women 
have the same need to follow Torah as men do.  No one who does not make 
talmud Torah (not necessarily Talmud) a regular part of their life, male or 
female, will be able to observe halacha properly.  (Think how many times we 
need to run to a sefer on Shabbat or review the laws before a Yom Tov)

According to the Chofeitz Chaim's Sefer HaMitzvot, it is a mitzva to believe 
and have faith in G-d. This is not a simple mitzva to observe (I know I do 
not do it well) therefore women need to do learning (whether Chumash, 
Hashkafa, Nach, etc to properly fulfill this mitzva.

How to divide family responsibilities and learning for both husband's and 
wives is an important halachic question.  Like most consult your LOR.

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Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 22:00:42 -0500
From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@bellatlantic.net>

A few of the chaverim disagree with my suggestion that a husband take
off some time from his torah studies and take care of the children in
order to allow his wife the opportunity to engage in such studies.  They
point out that he has the obligation of torah study - not his wife.
True, but there are many matters that can legitimately take precedence
over some fraction of his study time.  Furthering shalom bayit, i.e.,
furthering his wife's happiness and sense of fulfillment is one, and
achieving a solid bond with his children by spending more quality time
with them is another.  If such matters were not of high importance then
a ben torah should eat supper and retire to his locked study for the
rest of the evening.  No family discussions or helping out or visiting
should be allowed to interfere with his single-minded pursuit of torah
knowledge.   This may be considered the ideal situation in some circles,
but I suspect that few of our chaverim do so in practice.

Harav Y. Weinberg, in the Torah U'mesorah Q&A session, mentioned that
women may be more highly motivated to study Torah seriously than men.
Instead of trying to squelch such enthusiasm for Torah, why not
encourage it?  The time spent in promoting such study may solidify the
family's attitude towards torah study instead of serving to disrupt the
family life and educational goals - as some seem to fear.

Yitzchok Zlochower

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Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 17:44:46 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: Gaza in Israel?

>> Tos. Gitin 2a s.v. Ashkelon quotes RI (R. Isaac Dampierre) as saying that
>> even parts of Eretz Yisrael require saying befanai nichtav if they are not
>> part of "ikar yishuv Eretz Yisrael."  (As I noted previously, this makes
>> sense because the point of saying befanai nichtav has to do with the
>> knowledge of the populace, not the shem Eretz Yisrael.)

From: S. Goldstein [mailto:goldstin@netvision.net.il]
> The kashya and Rabbeinu Tam hold that Ashkelon is the border for kdushas
> Eretz Israel (olei bavel).  

First, the makshan may have been Rabbeinu Tam (so it's not necessarily the
case that there were two Baalei HaTosfos).  Moreover, the RI is (almost) the
last word for the Baalei HaTosfos (his talmidim were the ones who put the
Tosfos together; Dr. Chaim Soloveitchik noted that RT was the one who
started the Tosafist methodology but RI systematized it).

> Even the R"I will have to pick a point as the border of E. Israel. I
> agree that it is not Ashkelon for him, but is Gaza Strip Israel?  Not clear.

It's probably substantially south of the Gaza strip.  The Torah speaks of
"nachal mitzraim."  Encyclopedia Talmudit (my CD ROM says: v.2 p. 199a, s.v.
Eretz Yisrael) notes a machlokes as to whether this means Wadi El Arish (Rav
Saadia Gaon, Kaftor Vaferach, Radvaz, etc.) or the Nile River (Targum
Yonasan, Yerushalmi, Rashi, etc.).  

The E Talmudit also notes that the Rambam believed that Ashkelon was not
part of what was conquered by Olei Mitzrayim, but the Kesef Mishna adds that
Ashkelon wasn't, but points south of it were. (ibid, n. 338).

> I assume you agree concerning shvi'is as well.  I also wrote that the Ritva,
> not in his question but in his answer, extends E. Israel for chibuv of the
> mitzva of yishuv.  I suggested that regular, kdushas Eretz Yisroel should be
> preferred even according to this opinion.

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
> In either case, I was suggesting that it wasn't black-and-white. Perhaps
> even within the gevul, some areas should get preference over others.
> Remember the gemara's comment about Moshe Rabbeinu's desire to enter 
> E"Y -- part of the mitzvah of yishuv E"Y is the ability to do mitzvos
> hateluyos ba'aretz. Which would imply a greater kiyum of yishuv when in
> lands for which more hilchos E"Y apply.

> Therefore, while there are lands that do have dinim of shevi'is, shouldn't
> those lands come first?

I don't see why that should be.  By dint of fate, the olei bavel settled in
certain areas but not other areas of the Biblically-promised E"Y.  Why
should our resettlement of E"Y--to fulfill the mitzvah of yishuv haaretz,
which according to the Ramban is m'deoraissa--be tied to what olei bavel

Kol tuv,

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 23:41:37 -0500
From: "moshe feldman" <moshefeldman@hotmail.com>
Gaza and Eretz Yisrael

Regarding nachal mitzrayim: see Atlas Daat Mikra pp. 51-52 and map p. 101.

Kol tuv,

Go to top.

Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2000 14:52:10 +0200
From: "S. Goldstein" <goldstin@netvision.net.il>
Fw: Gaza in Israel?

From: Feldman, Mark <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
>                                 By dint of fate, the olei bavel settled in
>certain areas but not other areas of the Biblically-promised E"Y.  Why
>should our resettlement of E"Y--to fulfill the mitzvah of yishuv haaretz,
>which according to the Ramban is m'deoraissa--be tied to what olei bavel

Dear Reb Moshe,

The Ramban's mitzva to settle E. Israel probably relates primarily to the
kiyum mitzvos of E. Israel.  The Gemara Sotah 14a says that Moshe Rabbeinu
wanted to enter E. Israel for its special mitzvos.  Tos in Ksubos 110b
connects Yishuv E. Israel to the mitzvos of kdushas ha'aretz.  Since olei
bavel determine kdushas haaretz bzman hazeh, it's not mere repeating
history to want to live there.

Shlomo Goldstein

[I also wrote something about kidshah lisha'atah vikidshah li'asid lavo
being about bayis Sheini. Aside from my introducing that expression, RSG
made my post redundant (and so I editted out my own post). -mi]

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 21:56:59 +0200
From: "S. Goldstein" <goldstin@netvision.net.il>
get from a rasha

A proof was brought that a mumar can deliver a get from an oblique reference
in S"A.  I would like to deal with the issue more directly.

The heart of the question is can a mumar instill the required lishmah in a
get.  We find that a mumar is not trusted to write a get because he won't
make it lishmah.  S"A EhE 154:8.

There is a principle in Shas that if one cannot do himself, one may not
appoint a shaliach.  Nazir 12a

Therefore, how can a mumar write or appoint an agent to write the get

First, Tos. on Gittin 22b rules that agency is not needed for a sofer to
write a get lishmah.  More importantly, it seems to me, that a mumar
technically can write lishmah.  We just don't trust that he does so.  So
therefore even if agency is necessary, a mumar could make the sofer his
agent to write the get lishmah.

The mumar certainly understands the proceedings that he is divorcing his
wife.  He tells us that is what he is doing.  He makes the formal acts of
preparing and delivering the get.  Therefore he would not be believed to say
he had no intention to divorce his wife through a get, because his actions
speak for themselves.  the fact that often on other occasions he does not
express interest in the proceedings of a get does not cast aspersions on his
conduct when he does give a get.

Shlomo Goldstein

Go to top.

Date: 7 Dec 2000 03:49:51 GMT
From: Yisroel Markov <ysm@my-deja.com>
Re: Avot 1.14 (was Re: Morality Without G-d)

[Forwarded from scjm. Remedial remarks (such a the author's translation)
were ellided. -mi]

As promised, here's a summary of the commentaries I've found in the
standard Tal Man Gemara (Rashi, Rambam, Rabeinu Yonah) and Tiferet
Yisrael (TI, R. Ovadiah miBartenura, Biurei HaGra).


For reference, I broke the commented Mishna into 3 statements:

1) Im ein ani li mi li?
2) Uk'sheani l'atzmi ma ani?
3) Ve-im lo akhshav eimatai?



1) Meaning: if I do not accept mitzvot, who accepts them for me? (The
word I translate "accept" is "akayem", which in this context can
mean "perform".)

2) Since even if I will go and do [mitzvot], I can't perform all that
I'm obligated to do and that has been tasked (hamotelet) for me.

3) While I am alive. When? Since whoever toils on Shabbat eve, will
have what to eat on Shabbat; but whoever doesn't toil, what will he eat?


1) It says that if I will not be in me, to elevate (ha-meorer) my soul
higher, who will elevate it, for I don't have an external elevator (for
lack of a better word), like I explained in chapter 2.

2) And it is in my power to act to either side I want. [So even if] my
actions are those of good deeds, as if to diminish myself I say: "what
am I?", meaning: "what proceeds from me (what are the results), there's
no completeness, even though I performed [these]; this is the idea.

3) And after [saying] that [Hillel?] returns and says: "if I do not
acquire mitzvot now in the days of my vigor, when will I acquire them?
In my old age? No, because it is difficult to change one's traits at
that moment, for by then one's qualities and traits have strengthened
(canalized, really) and will not give easily; which is why the sage
(Shlomo) said (Mishlei 22:6): "teach the youth his way, then when he is
old, he will not depart from it."


1) If I will not exert myself (atzmi) to infuse enthusiasm into
[performance of] mitzvot, "who is for me" to enthuse me? For the
enthusiasm of others is good for a while, but when a man elevates
(orer) himself (atzmo) every day, he adds thinking of thoughts
(meditate?) to work the labors of God -- and "there is no forgetting
before Him" -- like his heart wants. And this is the right way for man
(derekh yashar lifnei ish).

2) Still I can not complete even one of the thousand of things I am
obligated to do. And here's a parable: this is like a king who gave his
servants a field and ordered them to grow 30 kur of grain in a year.
They labored a lot, and brought him 5 kur. The king said to them: "And
did I not order you to grow 30 kur?" They answered: "Our master, the
field you gave us is stony soil; we worked a lot, but were not able to
produce more than 5 kur." And so we say before the Holy One, blessed be
He: the evil inclination that You gave us is [with us] from our youth,
like it says (Breishit 8:21): "The inclination of man's heart is evil
from his youth". So even if a man labors mightily to do what's right in
the eyes of God, he can't succeed except in a few small things of those
he is obligated to do. And this is what is meant by (Tehillim
103:15): "For He knows our inclination, remembers that we are dust."
(there's a lot more, but all in the same vein, and it's late.)


1) If I do not earn merit (zokhe) for myself (atzmi), who will earn
merit for me?

2) And even if I earn merit for myself (atzmi), what kind of a merit is
it, and what is it worth, compared to all I am obligated to do?

3) In this world.

(Tosafot Yom Tov is silent.)


This Rav wrote in rather flowery, high language, which is difficult for
me to translate adequately. The gist seems to be as follows:

1) A person can be haughty (ba'al gaivah) -- "I'm so great, so wealthy,
etc.", but I (ani) has to be able to rule myself (li).

2) If "ani" can't control "li", then whom can it control?

3) One might think that humility is only appropriate to a person of
high stature, but otherwise people will walk all over you, so Hillel
says "If [you can] not [control yourself] now [when you're small], when
[will you be able to control yourself]?


1) As it is written in Tehilim 49:8: "Man can not in any wise redeem
his brother, or give God a ransom for him."

2) As it is written in Iyov 25:4: "How, then, can man be justified with
God, and how can one born of a woman find merit?" And in 25:6: "How
much less man, who is a maggot; and the son of man, who is a worm?",
even if he does much?

3) As it is written in Kohelet 9:10: "Whatever your hand finds to do,
do it with [all] your strength, for there is no work, nor reckoning,
nor knowledge, nor wisdom in Sheol, where you are going."

From all of the above, I garner three conclusions:

a) According to Bartenura and Rabeinu Yonah, we shouldn't read anything
into Hillel's use of "li" vs. "atzmi". Both of these commentators
substitute "atzmi" for "li" when explaining the first statement,
suggesting total synonimity in this context.

b) OTOH, they all treat the second statement as a logical continuation
of the first, as is also evidenced by the use of "u'ksheani" rather
than "ve-im ani" ("And since I am" rather than "And if I am"), whereas
translations and explanations that insert "only" into the second
statement in essense put the first and the second statement in a
contradistinction, while the third appears sort of tacked on.

c) None of the commentators even touch the issue of personal
responsibility vs. responsibility to others. They all choose to
interpret the Mishna as an urging to perform mitzvot, not worry about
inability to do everything, and be humble about it (especially R.
Yonah, who is really down on our abilities). This seems to indicate two

I. All the attempts to display this Mishna as an exhortation to
unselfishness and indication of incompleteness of man without service
to others are indeed very late attempts, and thus Lisa's claim that
they are a result of foreign cultural influences does indeed have merit.

II. OTOH, none of the commentaries chooses to interpret it quite the
way Lisa does (see <http://members.tripod.com/~lifsha/judaism/hillel.html>).
Although one can argue that "who am I?" is indeed an exhortation to
perform mitzvot, all the commentators derive this from the first, rather
than the second statement.

Lisa's explanation has the advantage of being smooth, unforced (unlike
some explanations offered above), and clearly p'shat. But it does raise
the question of why no one of the big names had chosen to look at it
this way.



Some relevent portions of Lisa's web page, which she quotes two statements
noting that both are Hillel's. I'm quoting so much of it because the
whole subject of Objectivism and/vs Judaism could be intriguing:

> "Ma d'sani lakh, l'chavrakh al t'avid"...

> The Objectivist (Derekh Eretz) ethics require one to refrain from
> violating the rights of others. Not to help them. As in Judaism,
> benevolence is above and beyond what is required. It is never
> required. The results of the Christian version were inevitable. One
> classic example was the Inquisition, where people were brutally murdered
> out of "Christian love," the idea being that some pain in this world
> was a small price to pay for avoiding Hell in the next.

And then, on our mishnah:
> In almost every translation into English, you will find the second line
> of this changed to "And if I am only for myself, what am I?" [As opposed
> to her translation, "And once I am for myself, what am I?" -mi] As if in
> counterpoint to the first line, rather than in continuation of it.

> "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?" This is the principle of
> individualism, or self-esteem. The realization that all men act for their own
> good, as does every living creature. It is a statement in diametric opposition
> to the altruistic conception that I am owed something by others. ...
> "I am the one person in the world that I have a right to depend on."

> "And once I am for myself, what am I?" ... It is this line which
> turns the first one from selfishness into rational selfishness. ...
> this line speaks of the virtue of reason.

> "And if not now, when?" This is a call to action. ... Hillel wasn't an
> armchair philosopher. ... it is not enough think about these things;
> rather, we must act on them. Unrealized principles are nothing. This
> line refers to the virtue of purpose.

> The virtues of Self-Esteem, Reason and Purpose "happen" to be the three
> cardinal virtues of Objectivism.

> Rand speaks of Purpose, Reason and Self-Esteem. Why does she see this order
> as the proper one? Rand was a philosopher. She began from the very beginning.
> ...

> Hillel was in a different situation. ... The most logical place to begin
> in such a case is by speaking of a practical fact of life. The fact that
> only you can be relied upon by you. ...

Go to top.


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