Avodah Mailing List

Volume 06 : Number 154

Monday, March 12 2001

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 10:27:28 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
decline in knowledge of classical shitos

I am noticing more and more, how many people, especially with certain
backgrounds, lack knowledge of certain classical shitos held by gedolei

example # 1- re the doctrine of gilgul (reincarnation) - It seems that
almost all RW (I don't know about DL and MO) schools do not teach their
students (or perhaps in a very minor way) that gedolei olam (e.g. Rav
Saadia Gaon, sefer haIkkarim, I was told Ramba"m, etc.) opposed the
belief in reincarnation. Perhaps they believe in gilgul, but why don't
they let their students know that there is another legitimate opinion on
the matter - just like beis Hillel used to cite the opinions of their
opponents before their own's which was (at least partially) why the
halacha was set according to them.

I myself was not fully aware of this shita until I learned of it on
my own after leaving Yeshiva. When I discussed it with people, many
(most?) were unaware of it and I got the impression that some considered
it 'apikorsus' to question the belief in gilgul.

example # 2 - the recent discussion here re 'chelek Elokah mimaal'.

It seems that the hassidic / kabbalistic way has spread to such an extent in 
recent times that the old classical opinions are almost in danger of being 
forgotten / unknown by the masses.

I think this problem should be addressed and classical viewpoints should be 


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 10:34:44 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
question re doctrine of gilgul (reincarnation)

I would like to raise for discussion a problem I have in understanding the 
gilgul doctrine.

One of the seforim on gilgul says that Iyov was a gilgul of Kayin (and that's 
why he had so many tzoros presumably).

My questions are - if that is true - Why do we need the whole sefer Iyov (40+ 
prakim) to discuss why Iyov had all his tzoros if we can explain it simply in 
a few words by saying he was a giligul of Kayin? 


Go to top.

Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 03:34:14 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@blaze.net.au>
"Yisrael V'Hazmanim".

From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
> "Halachos for the Traveler", by Donneal Epstein, and published by
> Feldheim, has a full ten-page chapter on Date Line issues. He quotes
> the main opinions, and procedures for how to observe one day as Shabbos
> MeIkar HaDin, and the other as Shabbos L'Chumra.

> ..He doesn't give sources for every single detail, but seems to be based
> in general on a sefer titled "Yisrael V'Hazmanim".

I have mentioned this mechaber previously (IIRC re ab article on
his meeting several members of the YU Kollel to discuss Hilchos Mikvaos).
He is Rav Yisroel Dovid Harpenes shlit'a - a Rav in Williamsburg.
He has published many sforim, AFAIK, all on Halocho, including 4 volumes
of Nishmas Hashabbos - excellent short tshuvos on all inyonei Shabbos
for our times.

Yisroel V"hazmanim, comes in 2 or 3 volumes and touches on every 
matter where zmanin are involved. All his sforim are very readable and 
'user friendly' for the average layman.

Shlomo B Abeles

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 04:16:00 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@blaze.net.au>
Kabel Berachamim, Yehi Shem and Ezri...

Do any of our knowledgable chevrah know a source for the psukim
(said by kohol) in Kaddish Tiskabel: Kabel Berachamim, Yehi Shem and Ezri?

I have looked in all my usual places and found nothing.
IIRC the Munkatcher Rav z'l writes somewhere not to say these.
AFAIK these psukim generally only appear in Nusach Ashkenaz siddurim.


Go to top.

Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 13:08:38 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: Huqas Hagoyim (was: fishy story)

R. Seth Mandel wrote on Areivim:
>>Clearly, the issur d'orayso of b'huqqotehem refers to a case where Jews 
>>adopt a religious ceremony of AZ for use in worshipping the One True God, 
>>as it says "v'e`eseh ken gam ani."

Just as clearly, the issur does not refer to non-religious practices of 
goyim: Polish goyim (the upper-class) wore long black coats and fur hats,and 
that did not mean that Polish Jews were osur to wear them. But what about a 
custom which originally existed among Jews and LATER was adopted by goyim 
for AZ purposes? Does that mean that Jews should stop doing what they used 
to do, just because the goyim in their tiflus decided to use it to worship 
their gods? >>

I am sorry if I am missing something obvious, but don't Tosafos in Avodah 
Zarah 11a say that even a custom that is mentioned in Tanach but is adopted 
by goyim for avodah zarah becomes assur?

Also, the proof from Polish dress only proves that the minhag is like the 
Maharik (quoted by the Rama in YD 178:1) and not like Tosafos.  The Gra (YD 
178:7) paskened like Tosafos.

Gil Student

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 00:39:36 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
lihashmid laharog uliabeid - Re: Avodah V6 #152

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
> I just heard Rav Eliezer Ginsburg quote a Gra which says that "lehashmid,
> laharog ule'abed means, respectively, (what we call shemad i.e.,)
> conversion, murder, and ibud haguf. He then quoted Rav Michoel Ber
> Weissmandl as having said that the last two (he didn't say anything
> about the first, so I don't know if RMBW did) were not averted, but
> delayed until the Holocaust.

Just to note - The (fairly) new siddur Shaarei Tefilah of Rav Ehud Goldberg 
(Feldheim publishers) brings the following somewhat similar, but not exactly 
the same, interpretation in the name of the Alshich -

A) Lihashmid - means killing of children as posuk says 'voashmid piryo 

B) Laharog - to kill the adults. C) First the children are killed in front of 
the parents - a special type of additional cruelty - misas achzorius.

D) Liabeid - to destroy the bodies so they cannot be buried.

The Etz Yoseif in the siddur Otzar Hatefilos says A, B and D, but does not 
mention point C.


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 00:52:33 EST
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
lizecher nishmas vs. lilui nishmas

When people do things on behalf of niftorim, one often hears the expressions 
'lizecher nishmas' (in memory of the soul) or 'liiliui nishmas' (for the 
elevation of the soul) of pb"p (the deceased). It seems that the latter has 
gained in popularity in recent years - it seems because of the spread of 
kabbalistic / hassidic teachings which it refers to. I have also heard (I 
think I heard a lubavitcher say this on the radio) the combing of both by 
saying 'lizecher uli'ilui nishmas pb"p'.

My question for the learned participants in this forum is - What arguments 
are there for the different usages - and does anyone have any illuminating 
comments on the matter? Personally I am inclined to favor lizecher nishmas - 
because it seems to be the older usage, for one thing. 



Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 15:18:32 +0100
From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@kvab.be>
hilchot aveilut

>> I was told tonight by someone that the Chasam Sofer opposed anyone
>> (except rabbonim) learning hilchos aveilus...

> People say that preparing 'karka' (a burial plot) for oneself is a segula for 
> arichas yomim. So, using that same or similar logic, couldn't we say that 
> learning hilchos aveilus is a segula for not needing to avail 
> oneself of the knowledge?

We had a discussion of this in my daf yomi group when learning elu
melgachim. There are actually some authorities who discourage learning
the gemara there. RYBS among others dismiss the reasons and advocate
learning all gemaras and all halachot. There was a similar discussion
about learning Nidah in YU where R. Zaks objected to single boys learning
it while RYBS didn't see any problem.

Eli Turkel

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 15:20:42 +0100
From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@kvab.be>
rabbibic authority

> R' Richard Wolpoe wrote:
>> The authority for Halachah was vested in the Sanhedrin At the Churban,

> Akiva Miller:
> : Was it that late in history? Who had the authority before that? I thought
> : that the authority began with Moshe Rabenu and the Zekenim...

> The Bes Din Hagadol (BDG)is derived form the shi'vim hazkeinim. The Bes
> Din in the Lishka was vested with the authority of Torah She'bal Peh
> (See Rambam's Yad Hil. Mamrim 1:1)

CI gives the ultimate authority to Chazal of the Mishnaic and Amoraic
eras and 4000 years after creation.
I have personally always found his reasoning more mystical than halachic.

Eli Turkel

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 09:48:22 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: decline in knowledge of classical shitos

In a message dated 3/11/01 8:45:58pm EST, Phyllostac@aol.com writes:
> example # 1- 

You might want to add Hashgacha Protis, there is an obvious answer to the 
question Vein Kan Mkoimoi.

Kol Tuv, 
Yitzchok Zirkind

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 08:59:48 +0200
From: Menachem Burack <Mburack@emiltd.com>
RE: Purim seudah on Friday

From: Carl and Adina Sherer [mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il]
> If that's the case, all of the Mukafim should be able to make 
> themselves into pruzim bnei yoman and attain the higher level of 
> chiyuv. According to the Mishna Brura, even though I already heard 
> Megilla tonight, I can still make myself into a paruz ben yomo by 
> leaving Yerushalayim before alos....

Rav Frank in an earlier siman (29), quotes the Turei Even  that according to
Rabbah the later chochomim were mesaken not to lein Shabbos because of
"shema yavirena" therefore: (translation) "it is a takanas chochomim and not
ikkar ruach hakodesh"!! 

So maybe you would have to lein over, or hear kriah from a "ben prazim".

He brings another nafka mina: Ladies are only chayav midrabanan  - when
Purim is on Shabbos and bnei mukafin lein midrabonon on Thursday - a lady
can be motzi them. (As opposed to bnei prazim who have a stronger chiyuv to
lein on Thursday, midivrei kabbla, and cannot be yotzei by a lady whose
chiyuv is dirabanan)

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 09:56:38 -0500
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: Latest Time for Mincha

Noach Rothstein wrote:
> That is actually a question in general about whether starting shmoneh 
> esrai before the deadline in question is sufficient. 
> I recall hearing that the shito that says that merely starting is 
> sufficient bases it on a posuk in Bereishis regarding Yitzchok Avinu but I 
> don't recall which one.

The Aruch HaShulchan is lenient based on Bilam. The gemara says that he
was able to say a kelalah during the brief daily moment that Hashem is
angry. The AH asks how Bilam could fit an entire kelalah in the brief
moment. He answers that as long as he began at that brief moment,
the entire kelalah is considered as having been said at that moment.
Similarly, as long as we start davening before shekiah, the entire
shemoneh esreih is considered as having been said before shekiah.

See also my post <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n102.shtml#06>.
I seem to recall RS Mandel replying to me in agreement, but I cannot
currently find the reply.

Gil Student

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 10:03:06 -0500
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: Tartei D'Asrei

Aryeh Stein wrote:
> In Halichos Shlomo ("HS"), it is brought that RSZA was "against" early 
> minyanim on Friday nights and that b'nei torah should daven b'zman. (I 
> forget the exact lashon; if anyone wishes, I can check the HS.)
Noach Rothstein wrote:
> I would be interested in knowing the reason. My understanding is that 
> it says in halacha that it is best for one to daaven maariv after 
> tseis but that most poskim hold just the opposite the erev Shabbos- 
> that b/c of the greatness of tosfos Shabbos it is praiseworthy to 
> daven maariv and make kiddush early on Friday night.

I can't speak for RSZA, but there are a number of issues here. First,
it is possible to accept Shabbos without davening. So, tosefes Shabbos
is not an issue with davening early. Davening shemoneh esreih after
shekiah is certainly mutar. The only question is Shema and its berachos.
The rishonim disagree whether one can Shema and/or its berachos before
tseis hakochavim. According to those who forbid it, there is then
the question of whether one can daven shemoneh esreih without Shema,
i.e. not be somech geulah litefillah.

The easiest way to avoid all of the above issues is simply to daven
ma'ariv after tseis. I know that both YU's and Chaim Berlin's battei
medrash do that.

Gil Student

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 10:20:09 -0500
From: "Wolpoe, Richard" <Richard_Wolpoe@ibi.com>
RE: Tartei D'Asrei

Noah S. Rothstein:
> I would be interested in knowing the reason. My understanding is that
> it says in halacha that it is best for one to daaven maariv after tseis
> but that most poskim hold just the opposite the erev Shabbos- that b/c
> of the greatness of tosfos Shabbos it is praiseworthy to daven maariv
> and make kiddush early on Friday night.

During winter months at Ner Yisroel, we were mekabel Shabbos early and
then leraned before Barchu so as to daven maariv bizmano. During the
summer, we were not makpid to daven bizman.

Rich Wolpoe

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 10:08:35 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: How Far Are We Obligated to Use Technology for Precision in Halacha?

Akiva Atwood wrote:
>>> In either case, we have an obligation to ensure *to the best of our ability*
>>> the kashrut involved.

>> This is clearly false. ...

> How does that make my statement false? A chazaka of kashrut is one of the
> things we take into consideration when determining the kashrut of a food.

"Chezkath kashruth" is not the same as "kashruth". Sometimes (as in the
other 17 treifoth) when we rely on chezkath kashruth we are not "ensuring
to the best of our ability the kashruth involved". It is likely that most
of us on Avoda have, at one time or another, eaten meat from a treifah
which has not been detected (yet I've never heard even of a chumrah to
check animals for all possible treifoth). Perhaps it is to this that
Keynes alluded in his remark about "the long run".

David Riceman

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 11:00:20 EST
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Re: Rabbinic authority

> The authority for Halachah was vested in the Sanhedrin At the Churban,
> R. Yochanan Ben Zakkai created the titles Rabbi and Rabban to create a
> brand new authority. Dr. Agus called this tutorial authority.

See Collected Writings of R'Hirsch vol 5 for his criticism of Graetz,
who asserted essentially the same idea - that pre-churban Sanhedrin
was a centralized authority sitting in lishkas hagazis (makom mikdash)
and post churban RYB"Z had to decentralize that authority. R' Hirsch
rejects the notion of RYB"Z being mechadesh a new locus of power.

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 10:55:05 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Yisurim in a Child

On Thu, Mar 08, 2001 at 01:47:12AM +0200, Mrs. Gila Atwood wrote:
:                                            The two lowest levels, the
: nefesh and the ruach relate the the physical and emotional aspects of
: the person respectively.

Actually, based on the Gra (Peiruch al Kama Agados, Koeningsburg edition
10a,b -- the appendix in The Juggler and the King) as well as the Maharal
on Avos 1:2, I would have concluded that the ru'ach also holds the capacity
for reason. The Gra describes the ru'ach as the seat of bechirah chafshi.
The Maharal associates it with the amud of Torah. 

The neshamah is actually the aspect that is both penimis (as opposed to
chayah and yechidah) and connected to shamayim.

I therefore had a different take than that in Gila's second paragraph:
:                                                             You might
: argue, ah, but what about corruption on an intellectual level which would
: relate to the neshama? Ah, but where is the corruption really coming
: from- a need for a sophisticated rationalization of lower cravings
: and often subconscious emotional drives. They don't actually damage
: the intellectual level permanently...

The explanation for why the neshamah, as I understood it, doesn't get
sullied by cheit is therefore far simpler.


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

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 12:06:36 -0500
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: question re doctrine of gilgul (reincarnation)

Mordechai wrote:

> My questions are - if that is true - Why do we need the whole sefer Iyov 
> (40+ prakim) to discuss why Iyov had all his tzoros if we can explain it 
> simply in a few words by saying he was a giligul of Kayin? 
The Ramban in his peirush on Iyov hints to this explanation as well.  See his 
introduction with Chavel's footnotes.  R. Ovadiah Yosef famously quoted the 
Mahari Beirav as giving this explanation as well.

Iyov is a back-and-forth of many different theories about sechar ve'onesh, some 
of which are true and some not.  There are many reasons why someone can receive 
an onesh.  While all of the reasons offered, until the end, were not correct in 
Iyov's case, they could be correct in most other cases.

Gil Student

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 12:07:12 -0500
From: "Wolpoe, Richard" <Richard_Wolpoe@ibi.com>
RE: rabbibic authority

Eli Turkel
> CI gives the ultimate authority to Chazal of the Mishnaic and Amoraic
> eras and 4000 years after creation.
> I have personally always found his reasoning more mystical than halachic.

It's quite such a bit stira....

The History descibes HOW Halachic authority got trasmitted to us...
The Mystical describes WHY and that this process was somehow Bashert
all along - regardles of the specific mechanics.

The ultimate question is, why can't we darshen and emend Halacha the
way they could in the "good Old days" {kimei Olam uchsahnim kadmoniyos?
Mechanical Answer:  We lack a bona fide BDG/Sanhedrin
Mystical Answer:  That era is over and done with


What's the function of the Mishna/Gmara?
A repository of the TSBP left over following the Churban. In it is
embedded the Torah of BDG but it took hundreds of years to transcribe it.

Is ALL of TSBP embedded in Mishna/TB
It's a machlokes. <smile>
AIUI Ri Migash is satisfied that: "If it ain't' in TB it don't count" <smile>
However, Ashkenazim (and others) put some weight into minhag/mesorah/mimetics/Yershualmi/Tosefta etc.

So Model ONE is that the TB encompasses all of the binding TSBP
Model Two is that The TB is the biggest segment of a larger TSBP pie
that includes other sources, some written and some oral. That the TB is
binding but not exhaustive. That parallel mesoros - perhaps from bayis
sheini - existed side-by-side with the TB?

Model One is more simple to learn and to pasken, and even most Ashkenazic
Acharonim are satisfied with this model

Model Two is a very complex labyrinth

The monkey wrench to Model One is the Zohar. The Gra dismissed this
issue by endeavoring to show how the Zohar did not {because it could not}
argue on the Bavli.

For Model Two, the Zohar is no big deal. Model Two assumes that parallel
mesoros existed all along. There was one that became Minhag Ashkenaz
and another paralle minhag evolved amongst mekubbalim.

Model One pre-supposes a canonization process of TB that is quite similar
to that of Tanach Model Two pre-supposes that the TB did not eliminate
the concept of Oral Mesorah. It just defined one universal TEXT, but
did not preclude the on-going process of Oral Transmission.

Model One Pre-supposes that you can shlug up something by a statement
"vu shteit geshribeen?" Model Two allows for Minhag to co-exist or
occasionally over-ride a text and not need to be "geshribben"

Model One implies if the Rambam holds like a Yerushalmi or a Tosefta
w/o support from a Bavli, you have to come up with lamdus to answer
how the Rambam got there Model Two implies that besides the Bavli,
the Rambam could use other text. What was his criteria for going to the
other texts? I'm not sure; with Ashkenazim we have traced at least back
to Kalir a bit of how that works.

{Note: you still have to deal with the fact that the Rambam - as a Talmid
of the Ri Migash - tehorectically would not or should not hold of Model
Two. The best answer I can think of is that he had other rebbes besides
the Ri Migash, so he did not hold of the straight Model One.}

Model One implies that Tosfos is pilpulistic when he kvetches a Gmara
Model Two implies that Tosfos was reconcilling a Mesorah that didn't fit
into the text and kvetches only to resolve a text with a another tradition
or with a Yerushalmi and that pilpul was NOT the agends of Tosfos.

Aiui, minhag does not override TB stam. You have to have a minhag
that can demonstrate it has an ancient pedigree. For Ashkenazim if you
can show it goes back to Yershulmi, Kalir, etc. that is probably good
enough. Sometimes, if you can get an Ashkenaz Rishon, you might assume
that that Rishon had a Mesorah - after all why else would he conflict
with the TB?

Minhag can reflect a genuine psak, but lacks a text. This works a lot like
Chezkas habatim which reflects a genuine sale without a deed. As to which
Minhaggim emanated from a real psak and which emanated from minhag taus,
that's a toughie. IMHO, you have to be aware of both possiblities and be
careful. But I would agree that a Minhag that conflicts with an open TB
should have a real mesorah. It's qustionable to deviate from open and shut
gmara w/o a very solid mesorah. It is even questionable at times WITH a
mesorah. But those who do have such a mesorah are imho "grandfathered" in.

We also at times have mesoros of which SA's to ignore. It seems that many
halachos re: zecher lechurban have been defacto nullified. But this is
not something you do on your own. If it is nullified in practice it's
because ther are whole communities that don't practice it, it therefore
has a certain mesorah to it. Zman tzeis is imho a community thing, too.
You either hold Gra/BhT, RT or chumras of both.

The question remains: how can Halacha be emended? Can lamdus in sources
undo a practice? E.G. if our mesorah is to have 3 matzos at the Seder,
can we sit down and learn like the Gra and switch to two? What about
discoveries of manuscripts? What about archaeologoy?

Now I would say, if you are going to go and be mekabbel to be noheig 100%
like the Gra, it is like changing communites. If you move from Frankfort
to Pressburg, you might switch some minhaggim. That's ok. The question
is: can we willy nilly ad hoc switch based upon our own gut feel or
"gefeel"?<smile> To this case I use the "kitniyos criteria." When is it
ok to switch one's minhag legabei Kitniyos on Pesach?

One other model is asei lecha rav. If you are a talmid of Rav X or
Gadol X, it is understandable to follow his psak. I would expect that
at Maimonides in Boston, they are noheig like RYBS. This is not the case
at YU where the Rav's minhaggin did not take hold by and large.

Please forgive this ramble. 
BEH, I will be moving mostly out of response mode into more article
writing and editing mode for a while.

Rich Wolpoe   

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 12:19:00 -0500
From: "David Glasner" <DGLASNER@ftc.gov>
Re: Dor Revi'i (b'sheim aviv ha-gaon) on ki tisa

To be posted later this week on 
dorrevii.org and

ki tisa:

In the Midrash it is written:
    At the moment that the Holy One Blessed Be He taught Moshe the chapter
    of ki tisa, Moshe was perplexed. The Holy One Blessed Be He therefore
    showed him a fiery coin beneath the throne of glory and said *this
    they shall give* (zeh itnu), a coin like this shall they give.

And our master explained to us the meaning of this Midrash in the
name of his father the gaon (R. Avraham Glasner, 1826-1878). For Moshe
was properly perplexed by this chapter, for how can a person achieve
atonement for his soul through the giving of charity? Do not all those
who transgress the commandments (kol ovrei pikudim) say that they can
atone for their sins by giving charity: for what does the Eternal require
of any person but to do kindness? And here the Scripture supports them
as it is written whoever transgresses the commandments (kol ha-oveir al
ha-pikudim), i.e., whoever transgresses the commandments of the Torah
as the holy Zohar explains, should give half a shekel and his sin will
be removed and his guilt forgiven. This is why Moshe was perplexed.

The answer is that charity does indeed atone for our sins, but only if the
coin that is given is purified sevenfold from any trace of prohibition,
so that his wealth should not be the result of any violation of the Torah
like robbery, interest, oppression, desecration of the Sabbath or the
Festivals, working of the land on the Sabbatical or Jubilee years, plowing
the land with an ox and a donkey together, planting two kinds of seed
(kilayim) and similar prohibitions. If a person*s wealth is untainted by
any of these impurities, then it will go up in favor before Blessed One
to remove his earlier transgressions. But if in acquiring his wealth,
a person has not been careful to avoid all these transgressions, so
that his money is polluted by any type of transgression, even if he does
charity and kindness with it and will receive a reward for his good deeds,
he will still not be protected against the punishment that is coming to
him for his transgressions. And perhaps this is the metaphorical meaning
of the Scripture *Justice, justice, shalt thou pursue* (tzedek tzedek
tirdoph). By way of a coin that you acquired according to the laws of
the Torah shall you seek to perform acts of kindness.

David Glasner dglasner@ftc.gov

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 11:17:37 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Hechsherim

On Thu, Mar 08, 2001 at 10:16:14AM -0500, Akiva Miller wrote:
:                                                 When the court is in
: session, "emes" is floating around somewhere, and cannot rest on a fixed
: point. We are uncertain whether Truth lies here, or whether it lies over
: there. So a vote is taken, and "kol d'parish, merubah parish"...

Three unrelated observations/questions came to mind.

Are you intentionally assuming that kol diparish meirubah parish is
identical to azlinan basar ruba? I asked whether these and bitul birov
constitute three seperate k'lalim in our discussion of the first of our
chiluk questions.

The Truth is often "eilu va'eilu", and Sanhedrin's vote isn't about truth,
but about which truth is to become halachah.

The whole notion of saying that a seifer Torah only requires a
chezkas kashrus can be taken to mean that we're not looking at the
emes that is floating around somewhere, but at the emes as we can
determine. As I suggested in the begining of the "ta'am and taste"
discussion, perhaps halachah doesn't apply to objective reality, but to
observable reality. And, where ee efshar livareir, the only observation
to pasken about is that which established the chazakah.

(If we follow the Maharal's statement about nissim in the 2nd hakdamah
to Gevuros Hashem to its conclusion, we might be left with no "objective
reality" left anyway. The difference between experiencing a neis and
not experiencing one, between vehamayim /lahem/ chomah and kisamo yam,
or between dam and mayim, is that of the perspective of the observer. How
are we then left with a coherent objective reality underlying it all?)

This third point brings me back to the z'manim and precision thread. If we
say that reality is defined by what is observable, and therefore chazakah
is only meaningful because of a context of ee efshar livareir, then we
can view the current situation as one of greater ability for birur. Perhaps
then yes, the fact that we have better clocks and computations should yield
an obligation to use that greater precision.


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

Go to top.

Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 14:35:31 -0500
From: Gil.Student@citicorp.com
Re: Yisurim in a Child

[Consider a rachmana litzlan added to just about every sentence.]
[Note that none of this will serve as any comfort to anyone. This is
just an attempt to understand.]

There are two main questions to be asked. One is why the parents
were punished by having a child suffer. If everything is either min
hashamayim, even stubbing one's finger, then the pain or death of one's
child must be an onesh. If so, what can a parent have done to deserve
such a painful punishment? Must we assume that these parents violated
a severe prohibition?

The answer to this is, I believe, similar to the response to the
Holocaust. The point has been raised (I think I saw R. Shalom Carmy
say this in his Orthodox Forum book) that in order to attribute the
Holocaust to Divine punishment, one must either minimize the suffering
during the Holocaust or magnify the severity of a sin. Perhaps I am overly
influenced by mussar, but I think that the latter is true. Every sin is a
rebellion against Hashem. I know that I need not go on, but the Alter of
Slabodka even went so far as to claim that wrong kavanos in performing a
mitzvah are punishable. The mussar literature (based on ma'amarei chazal,
of course) is replete with strong and emotional descriptions of just
how disastrous any aveirah is. Someone who is punished in this world is
spared of that punishment in the world to come. In fact, R. Itzele Blaser
notes that this is unfair because punishment to a neshamah without a
guf is felt more than punishment to a neshamah with a guf. Therefore,
those who are punished in this world are actually spared some pain.
In other words, the pain and suffering that someone whose child suffers
and/or dies is the same (or less) suffering that we will all experience.
There are many more Holocausts going on in the olam haneshamos. It is
only due to some Divine cheshbon (of which we only know a little) that
these people were chosen to be punished in this world.

Second, what can a child have done to deserve this punishment? Chazal
tell us that one under the age of 13 (or 20) is not punished for sins.
If so, how can a child be punished at all? Based on kabbalah, many
will answer that this child is being punished for sins in a previous
gilgul. The question was raised how those who deny the concept of gilgul
(e.g. R. Sa'adia Gaon) answer this question. They could answer in some
way to similar to the Rambam that this is simply mikreh -- happenstance.
This child just happened to get sick. For those who do not believe that
there is such a thing as mikreh, which seems to be the case for chazal,
the answer they would probably give, as painful as it is, is what the
gemara in Shabbos 32a (and parallels) says -- that children die from the
sins of parents. The Sifrei says that on the passuk "Ish ba'avono yumas"
and I think there is a similar midrash on benei Korach. The Rambam
explains that this is because children are like the property of their
parents. Granted, there are other explanations. But for those who deny the
concepts of gilgul and mikreh, I think that this is the only explanation.

Perhaps this explains why but it does not explain whether this is fair.
As above, we know that the punishment for the parent is fair, albeit
extremely painful. If they were not punished this way, they would have
eventually been punished another way (as we all will). However, why is
it fair to the children to suffer or die for sins they did not commit?

I don't know. We are all punished for the sins of others via the concept
of areivus. Since we are all responsible for each other, in one way or
another we are all punished for each other's sins (except for a complete
tzaddik, but this is not the place to discuss that). For some reason,
on which we can all speculate with some degree of accuracy, a child has
more areivus to his parents than others.

If there is no gilgul, then this child certainly goes straight to olam
haneshamos as a tzaddik (being below the age of punishment) and has been
spared the nisayon of temptation and sin which is this world.
Gil Student

Go to top.


[ Distributed to the Avodah mailing list, digested version.                   ]
[ To post: mail to avodah@aishdas.org                                         ]
[ For back issues: mail "get avodah-digest vXX.nYYY" to majordomo@aishdas.org ]
[ or, the archive can be found at http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/              ]
[ For general requests: mail the word "help" to majordomo@aishdas.org         ]

< Previous Next >