Avodah Mailing List

Volume 06 : Number 112

Friday, January 26 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 09:26:26 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: hefsed mrubah

Joelirich@aol.com wrote:
> True, but sometimes he says that bmkom hefsed mrubah we can rely on a
> minority opinion.  Would you still say that the "chumra" is not meikkar hadin?

Now reread the Rama's introduction. He says he follows the principle of
"halacha k'bathrai", not the majority. Perhaps it would be easier if
you cited a specific example (issur v'heter is best, because then we
can look in Torath Chatath as well, which is slightly more prolix).
I hasten to add that I have never learned through the Rama's responsa
(someday, DV), so I may not be the best person on the list to analyze
the Rama's opinions.

David Riceman

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Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 14:16:16 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Re: Non-Jews prohibited by rabbinic law?

I am not familiar with the seforim mentioned by R' Eidensohn and R'
Student, so I hope someone might be able to offer a short summary of WHY
a non-Jew might be obligated in a halacha d'rabanan. Even we are
obligated to obey them only because HaShem said to, so I am curious how
non-Jews came to be under their jurisdiction.

Is it for nought that we call them "rabanAN" - *our* rabbis?

Akiva Miller

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Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 00:29:22 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@bezeqint.net>
Re: Non-Jews prohibited by rabbinic law?

Akiva Miller wrote:
> I am not familiar with the seforim mentioned by R' Eidensohn and R'
> Student, so I hope someone might be able to offer a short summary of WHY
> a non-Jew might be obligated in a halacha d'rabanan. Even we are
> obligated to obey them only because HaShem said to, so I am curious how
> non-Jews came to be under their jurisdiction.

As I mentioned in a previous posting - there are two basic sources that
obligate us. 1) a  command from the Torah i.e., from G-d. 2) Commonsense.
Correspondingly there are two basic approaches to understanding why we have
to keep Rabbinic laws. The first is lo sasur i.e., there is a specific
command. If you look at the gemora Berachos 19b [Soncino translation]
"Great is human dignity since it overrides a negative precept of the Torah.
Why should it? Let us apply the rule, There is no wisdom nor understanding
nor counsel against the L-rd? Rab b. Shaba explained the dictum in the
presence of R. Kahana to refer to the negative precept of lo sasur. They
laughed at him. The negative precept of lo sasur is also from the Torah!
Said R. Kahana: If a great man makes a statement, you should not laugh at
him. All the ordinances of the Rabbis were based by them on the prohibition
of lo sasur but where the question of human dignity is concerned the Rabbis
allowed the act."

This gemora can be read in two ways. The first is that the source of all
rabbinic authority is a specific Torah command of lo sasur. The rules that
are created with this Torah authority are called rabbinic laws and
apparently have a lower status only because the rabbis using their Torah
authority decided that they should. The second understanding is that lo
sasur is merely an asmachta [this also feeds back into the question of what
is an asmachta]. The first position is held by the Rambam and the second is
apparently held by the Ramban. Rav Elchonon Wasserman (Divrei Sofrim) asks
where does authority come from if the verse is only an asmachta. He answers
that it comes from the realization that the chachomim best know what G-d
wants. It is thus a rational or commonsense act to listen to them because of
their superior knowledge and thus there is no need for a specific command.

Obviously this latter approach is a more likely candidate as the reason that
someone could be exempt from all Torah obligations and yet be obligated to
listen to rabbinic laws. (Rav Wasserman also uses the commonsense approach
to explain why nonJews are obligated in the 7 mitzvos even if they don't
have a mesora i.e., the 7 mitzvos are totally rational)

However, Rav Gustman apparently did not see this as a  solution since he did
not propose it as the solution to the problem and left it with tzorech iyun.
It is difficult to imagine that all non-Jews recognize the greatness of
chazal and thus readily follow rabbinic prohibitions such as not studying
Torah. Similarly to base the obligation of a child for keeping mitzvos on
his recognition of the greatness of chazal is also difficult to understand.

In sum, even though a person is obligated to keep certain mitzvos because of
commonsense - it is not clear why keeping rabbinic mitzvos should be viewed
as an obvious or rational act by non-Jews who have no way way of learning
the rabbinic prohibitions in the first place. Even Jews have historically
had difficulty accepting the need to keep rabbinic laws to such a degree
that the Chasam Sofer said that rabbinic laws should be officially described
as Torah laws. Thus while there is a potential source of obligation ie.,
commonsense - it is not clear why it should be relevant in this case.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 08:15:47 +0200
From: "S. Goldstein" <goldstin@netvision.net.il>
RE: RHS vs RSZA & societal changes

>> Did this mean what is proper behavior lchatchila or was he referring to the
>> psul-edus of acting in a way that shows he has no self-respect? ...

>Why? What is the difference? If one is supposed to act in a way that shows he
>has self-respect, acting that way is just one example of proper behavior
>l'chatchila, no?

The question only exists when society changes.  Today does eating in the
street confirm that one has no self-respect and therefore should not be
believed as a witness?  Perhaps not.  It merely reflects a lack of
sensitivity to proper derech-eretz.

Shlomo Goldstein

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Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 09:13:37 +0200
From: "S. Goldstein" <goldstin@netvision.net.il>
Standing with feet apart

R. Micha
> There is a Brisker chumrah to stand with feet
> together for all of chazaras hashatz.

Rav Mandel wrote:
> But to refer to this as a "Brisker humra"
> I think is incorrect. First of all, the ReMo' himself in OH 124:4 says
> "and some say that the entire congregation should stand" during hazoras
> hashatz. The MB in s'k 20 quotes the Pri M'godim quotes the reason
> "k'ilu mitpall'lim b'atzman damya v'khen haya minhag haqadmonim." It is
> clear that that would mean that everyone should stand just as if he were
> davening himself, i.e. with feet together and facing east.

Not so clear to me.  Why didn't PMG or MB or AH or Remo or Darkei Moshe say
so?  Why didn't the Rambam say so?

> Just like those
> who don't know how to daven stand with their feet together, so do those
> who have davened.

Where does the Rambam say either half?

> I do have a diyyuq in the Rambam, and I
> cannot remember if I heard it from RYBS or I developed it myself based on
> the y'sodos I learned from him: t'fillas hatzibbur works precisely because
> one mouth is saying the prayers for a minyan, and a minyan (tokh -- tokh,
> 'edah -- 'edah) represents klal Yisroel. So klal Yisroel is saying its
> t'fillo, with one mouth saying it for all. I think that the Rambam holds
> that that is precisely why someone who is not baqi can only be yotzei this
> way, and not by listening to someone else daven his own t'filla. After
> all, the mitzva of t'filla is that every individual should pour out
> his heart to HQB'H, and everyone's heart is different. So how can one
> person say t'filla for another one? The answer is he can't, but everyone
> is part of the t'filla of klal Yisroel."

Great idea.  Accordingly, neither the baqi nor the aino baki should have to
keep their feet together because now not individuals, but klal yisroel is
davenning!  But this is all hypothesis.

> But why would a person just stand, with feet not together and not
> facing mizrah?
>  I think it is common
> precisely because most people in Ashkenaz in recent generations used to
> sit, and now it is considered a "yeshiveshe humro" to stand. So those
> who stand feel they are being mahmir on themselves, and not doing it
> me'iqqar hadin."

Why make one rosh yeshiva's chumro a question against everyone else?  From
your quote it seems RYBS did NOT find it an integral part of chazaras
hashatz!  Please look at siman 95 where SA speaks about feet together.  Note
sif 4.  For KEDUSHA one should put feet together.  Please note that PMG or
MB or AH or Remo or Darkei Moshe do not say that anyway feet are together
for all of chazaras hashatz!  See Beis Yosef that it is the chidush of the
Trumas HaDeshen to have feet together for kedusha.  The Tur does not mention
this.  It seems the Tur, BY, Trumas HaDeshen and acharonim who all learned
the Rambam did not learn like you.

If many Jews stand with feet apart, they are probably correct.  Why must
they be wrong if they learn in yeshivos?  My svoro is that standing helps
focus and connection to the chazaras hashatz.

Shlomo Goldstein

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Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 07:39:42 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Re: Standing with feet apart

> Why didn't PMG or MB or AH or Remo or Darkei Moshe say so? Why didn't
> the Rambam say so?

R' Ovadya Yosef, I think, makes a similar point in his shu"t that the
Rama is based on minhag and has nothing to do with a lomdus in the
shitas harambam.

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Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 15:00:15 +0200
From: "D. and E-H. Bannett" <dbnet@barak-online.net>
Shabbat elevator

>> I do not use any elevator not approved or that would not be 
>> approved by the Institute for Science and Halakha in Jerusalem.

R'ETurkel asked:
> 1.  Is this R. Halperin's institute?
> 2. Does Zomet also have shabbat elevators?

The answers:
1. Yes. The Institute's halakhic head is R. Levi Yitzhak Halperin.
2. Yes. They do give approvals

RYGB has been pushing me on list and off list to try to give you a
technical analysis of Shabbat elevators and I've tried to avoid it, at
least for a while, because of a heavy elevator work load. Now, starting
with my own Amihai, others have joined RYGB by sending in postings that
are pulling me into the subject. The trouble is that answering questions
without giving all the background of the physical metzius first can
cause more confusion.

So I'll continue below by starting in the middle of the subject and hope
it doesn't arouse RYGB to further efforts..

Joelirich@aol.com wrote:
> Are the considerations different for a manually :operated 
> elevator (run by a  non-Jew)?

R' Micha adds:
> "are any of the issues in an elevator only diRabbanan, so as to permit 
> amirah la'akum?" No?

R' Halperin learns from six different gemoros that a person is
responsible for action caused by his weight not only in nezikin but
in all subjects. (In detail in his book "Ma'aseh Ugrama Bahalakha"
and summarized in his "Ma'aliot B'Shabbat").

Accepting that decision, one must separate the pushing of buttons to
instruct the elevator and the effect the passenger presence has on the
operation. (what, again tzvei dinim??)

As to the effect of each passenger's weight on the operation, there is
no significance to the presence or absence of a goy in the car.

The modern alternative to a goy pushing the buttons is a preset automatic
program. The preprogrammed elevator travels between stations and waits
at each station for a fixed time without taking into account presence
or absence of passengers. The goy, even without amira, does a similar
thing but with a slight difference. The goy, if he sees you coming might
wait for you to arrive. If he knows the floor you want, he will take you
directly there. He is working for you and his only benefit is his salary.
The automatic device will not wait for you and will stop at every floor
even if there is no passenger for that floor. It is not influenced
by your presence in any way. Despite the difference between the two,
described above, I know of two hareidi hospitals where they prefer a
goy because they want nothing to do with the issur chamur of electronics
(sheidim or mazikin perhaps? Oy hareidi bashing again! Selicha)

Re: d'Rabbanan/d'Oraita, Ignoring the last sentence of the previous
paragraph, there are differences of opinion as to what is molid, tikkun
k'li, or boneh in electrical actions, if any of them. For the moment ,let
us take the opinion of RSZA of what the halakha should have been if not
for "kvar hora zaken": the only issur is in the result such as hadlaka or
bishul etc. Assuming, as RLYH, that a ma'aseh done by person's weight is
k'ma'aseh bayadayim. The entrance into an elevator car that is actually
stepping on to a scale that weighs the passengers, thereby setting the
proper acceleration, might be a d'rabbanan, but the incandescent light
that goes on at the next floor as the car arrives would be d'Oraita. It
is also lo mitkaven and the last is lo ikhpat lei for the passenger in
the car. But let me not get into the Jewish end of things and try to
stay with the technical aspects.

I hope, iy"H, to give in a bit to RYGB in a month or so if all goes well
with my other elevator problems.

All best,

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Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 09:37:10 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
names of chumashim

On this topic, today's daf yomi is instructive.  The Gemara refers to
Chumash Hapekudim,  Rashi explains this as "Sefer Vayedaber".  The Gemara
refers to Chumash Sheni,  and Rashi explains this as Sefer Ve'eleh


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Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 11:00:34 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
International Date Line -- a sevara

While we're discussing on Areivim the lima'aseh of living in Hawaii or New
Zealand, I thought I would share this sevara from R' Eliezer (Dr Leon)
Ehrenpreis as to where the machlokes comes from.

He traces it to the machlokes about Adam's apparant age at the time of
creation. If Adam, saplings and eggs were created in infancy, the presumably
the sun was too -- IOW, at dawn over the har habayis. This means that
the only way each part of the globe would have gotten sunlight for
the first time on day 4 is if the date line with opposite J'lem. (Try
doodling it out for yourself, I can't post a diagram.)

Whereas if Adam, trees and chickens were created fully developed,
the parallel for the sun would be to be created at noon J'lem time. A
similar argument would put the date line would have to be 90deg off.

Within the 2nd shitah, you now have a second machlokes as to whether
we allow the confusion of the dateline crossing a land mass, or if it
hugs the coast that is further from J'lem.


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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