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Volume 07 : Number 048

Friday, May 25 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 14:38:33 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
kiyum ha'olam

You stated that the Netziv says that the kiyum ha'olam before matan Torah
was due to 7 mitzvos benei Noach. How does that fit with the idea of
the 26 ki le'olam chasdos saying that HKB"H was zan es ha'olam bechasdo
prior to matan Torah?


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Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 17:49:36 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Birchos ha-Shachar on Shavuos Morning

> Elokai neshamah and ha-Ma'avir sheinah-Here, too, there are differences of
> opinion among the poskim as to whether one who remains awake throughout
> the night should recite these blessings. The Mishnah Berurah(15) rules
> that it is best to hear these blessings from another person who slept.
> If no such person is available, many poskim rule that these blessings
> may be recited even by one who did not sleep(16).

In the Siddur the Baal Hatanya rules not to say.

Kol Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 08:11:09 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: halachic like beis Shammai in future?

On Wed, May 23, 2001 at 10:01:41AM -0400, Richard_Wolpoe@ibi.com wrote:
: So if I give you an azhara to regard BS on par with BH do I also need to
: give you an Azhara to make Abaye on par with Rava?

Actually, there is a reason why bidavka Beish Shammai.

The Zohar casts the machlokes between batei Hillel and Shammai to be
about the sefiros of chessed (Hillel) vs din (Shammai). Since "yitamu
chata'im min ha'aretz", the world will be able to run on din. Therefore,
the halachah would be like beis Shammai.

The Maharal in Derech haChaim talks about the pairs of mishnayos in perek
alef. He gives the perek structure: each dor addresses another inyan in
a progression. The nasi of that dor describes the issue mitzad chessed,
and the av beis din, mitzad din. Down to Hillel and Shammai.

However, their talmidim "lo shimshu es rabbosam". Rather than learning
about their teacher, Hillel, they only saw his role -- the nasi. Therefore
the aspect of his Torah that beis Hillel honed in on was the tzad chessed.
Similarly, beis Shammai only saw the din of the av beis din, not the
full Torah of Shammai.

I wonder if this statement of the Zohar is made about yimos hamashiach or
li'asid lavo, post techiyas hameisim, or if the Zohar even distinguishes
between the two.

I also wonder if the Zohar means "will be" or "li'asid lavo it ought to
be". IOW, is it teaching halachah lima'aseh or sevarah?

In any case, this notion reinforces RRW's idea. Just because we have to
rely on a world built on chessed doesn't mean we can ignore the aspect
of the Torah that is mitzad din.


Micha Berger                 Today is the 47th day, which is
micha@aishdas.org            6 weeks and 5 days in/toward the omer.
http://www.aishdas.org       Hod sheb'Malchus: What is glorious about
(973) 916-0287                        unity-how does it draw out one's soul?

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Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 14:47:28 +0300
From: Eli Linas <linaseli@netvision.net.il>
Re: R' Akiva's talmidim

In a message dated 5/23/01 9:02:25am EDT, linaseli@netvision.net.il writes:
>> Question: If there was a town of 100,00 people, and a plague began,
>> continuing until 50,000 were dead and then stopped, that would obviously
>> be reason for simcha. However, if it continued until all 100,000 died,
>> well, it's true that after the last person died, the plague would have
>> stopped, but it wouldn't be a sign of anything, and no reason for joy...
>>         That being the case, what is the simcha of Lag B'Omer over the
>> fact that that was the day R' Akiva's talmidim stopped dying? ...

>See the Pri Chadash Al Asar.

Could you kindly summarize? Thank you.


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Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 19:31:14 EDT
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Fwd: RAV -18a: "The Lonely Man of Faith" Part 4

another segment in this series

[2 segments, I folded two emails into one posting. -mi]
        Steve Brizel


			     by Rav Ronnie Ziegler

	     LECTURE #18a: "The Lonely Man of Faith" (Continuation)
			 Part 4 - A Perpetual Dialectic

In Chapter 8 of "The Lonely Man of Faith," the two parallel tracks we
have been examining finally intersect.

     "...Adam the first, majestic man of dominion and success, and Adam
     the second, the lonely man of faith, obedience and defeat, are not
     two different people locked in an external confrontation ... but
     one person who is involved in self-confrontation. ...In every one
     of us abide two personae - the creative majestic Adam the first,
     and the submissive, humble Adam the second." (pp.84-85)

Thus, according to Rav Soloveitchik, each of us is fated to live in
a perpetual dialectic, constantly oscillating between two modes of
existence and between two types of community. This fact has several
important ramifications which we shall now examine.


     "God created two Adams and sanctioned both. Rejection of either
     aspect of humanity would be tantamount to an act of disapproval of
     the divine scheme of creation which was approved by God as being
     very good." (p.85)

This is a radical message for a religious thinker. Clearly, any person
animated by faith will proclaim to others that God calls upon them to
live out the values of Adam II, covenantal man. But here Rav Soloveitchik
reciprocally calls upon people of faith not to forsake the goals of Adam
I, majestic man! The Rav grants powerful affirmation to this-worldly
existence, reminding us that just as God wants us to strive for personal
and communal sanctity, He also bids us to build and to create within
the world.

In other words, contrary to the popular understanding, there is religious
value not only to the actions of Adam II but to those of Adam I as
well. He fulfills the divine mandate of "Fill the earth and subdue it"
and displays his tzelem Elokim (divine image) through his creative
involvement in the world of human affairs. Thus, he occupies a central
position within the divinely- willed scheme of events.

Rav Soloveitchik's approach silences the Enlightenment critique of
religion (still voiced in our day), which portrays religion as the enemy
of human progress and cultural development. According to these critics,
religion produces at best a quietistic and passive personality who has
no interest in engaging the world around him. The Rav, in an about-face
from this position, states that not only are science, technology and
culture not inherently antithetical and challenging to religion, but
they are in fact desired by God and therefore integrated into the broader
religious worldview!

Furthermore, the Rav asserts what amounts to the independent value of
man's creative cultural endeavor. Of course, he believes that these
efforts must ultimately be within the bounds of Halakha. But once this
is assured, their value is not dependent on the service they render to
that which is religious in the narrow sense. The attainment of dignity
is a value in its own right. For example, we do not have to say that it
is good that man lofts satellites into orbit because now we can broadcast
shiurim by one or another rabbi around the globe. Rather, we value the
human conquest of space because it is a breathtaking expression of man's
majesty, his technical prowess and his creative spirit.

     "Let us not forget that the majestic community is willed by God as
     much as the covenantal faith community. He wants man to engage in
     the pursuit of majesty-dignity as well as redemptiveness." (p.81)


The perpetual dialectic between two modes of existence has another,
more tragic, consequence:

     "The dialectical awareness, the steady oscillating between the
     majestic natural community and the covenantal faith community
     renders the act of complete redemption unrealizable." (p.80)

Had majestic man and covenantal man been two separate people, each
abiding in his own community, all would have been well. Each one would
have confronted a certain set of problems and would have been provided
with the means to solve them. However, the fact that God bids man to
adopt both modes of existence gives rise to insoluble difficulties,
foremost among them being the problem of loneliness.

Adam I is unaware of his loneliness, while Adam II confronts this
burdensome experience and is capable of redeeming himself from it (via
his covenantal relationship with both God and man). However, the fact
that man must oscillate between two ways of living and perceiving the
world places him in a quandary. While living as Adam II, he becomes aware
of his loneliness, but he is not afforded the opportunity to overcome it
totally. The only way to defeat loneliness is to immerse oneself fully
in covenantal existence, and God denies man this option by demanding
that man participate in the majestic community as well.

     "When man gives himself to the covenantal community the Halakha
     reminds him that he is also wanted and needed in another community,
     the cosmic-majestic, and when it comes across man when he is
     involved in the creative enterprise of the majestic community,
     it does not let him forget that he is a covenantal being who will
     never find self-fulfillment outside of the covenant and that God
     awaits his return to the covenantal community." (pp.82-83)

This results in what we referred to earlier (lecture #15) as the man
of faith's ontological loneliness (thus designated because this type of
loneliness is woven into the very fabric of the religious experience).

     "Because of this onward movement from center to center, man does not
     feel at home in any community. He is commanded to move on before he
     strikes roots in either of these communities and so the ontological
     loneliness of the man of faith persists." (p.87)


Throughout most of the book, Rav Soloveitchik portrays man's oscillation
between majesty and redemption in dialectical terms. He depicts an
unending tension between two conflicting modes of existence:

     "[God] summoned man to retreat from peripheral, hard- won positions
     of vantage and power to the center of the faith experience. He also
     commanded man to advance from the covenantal center to the cosmic
     periphery and recapture the positions he gave up a while ago." (p.81)

(Note that the Rav uses different metaphors to describe the relationship
between majesty and covenant: in the above quote from p.81, he refers
to them as periphery and center, respectively, while in the preceding
quote from p.87, he terms them two alternating centers.)

However, in a brief but highly significant passage (pp.82-84) which I
would like to examine closely, the Rav paints a different picture.

     "[M]any a time I have the distinct impression that the Halakha
     considered the steady oscillating of the man of faith between majesty
     and covenant not as a dialectical but rather as a complementary
     movement... [T]he task of covenantal man is to be engaged not in
     dialectical surging forward and retreating, but in uniting the two
     communities into one community where man is both the creative free
     agent and the obedient servant of God." (pp.83-84)

Before addressing the contradiction between the previous two passages,
let us first examine the meaning of the latter one.


The ability to view man's oscillation between majesty and covenant as
a complementary movement is based upon Rav Soloveitchik's assertion that

     "[T]he Halakha has a monistic approach to reality and has
     unreservedly rejected any kind of dualism. The Halakha believes that
     there is only one world - not divisible into secular and hallowed
     sectors - which can either plunge into ugliness and hatefulness,
     or be roused to meaningful, redeeming activity, gathering up all
     latent powers into a state of holiness." (p.84)

This statement should be understandable in light of our disin lecture #8
of the sanctification of physical life. Much of medieval philosophic and
religious thought was permeated by dualism, which viewed the physical
and the spiritual to be warring opposites, only one of which could
prevail. The task of religion or of philosophy, according to this
approach, was to ensure the victory of the spiritual over the natural
by freeing man from the shackles of physicality as much as possible
(via asceticism, contemplation and solitude). Dualists despaired of
this-worldly existence. Believing that one should strive to become purely
spirit, since physicality is the source of evil and hence irredeemable,
they felt that one could come close to God only by abjuring the material

Rav Soloveitchik rejects this approach completely. According to him,
Halakha denies the dualist contention that the physical and the
spiritual are mutually exclusive, and therefore Halakha opposes the
dualist conclusion that one must flee the physical if he wishes to
attain spirituality.

     "The Halakha has never despaired of man, either as a natural
     being integrated into his physical environment, or as a spiritual
     personality confronting God." ("Catharsis," p.38)

Rather, Halakha believes that "God saw everything that He had created,
and, behold, it was very good" (Bereishit 1:31). Man must not attempt
to escape to ethereal realms, contemptuously abandoning the world, but
rather must infuse his this-worldly existence with sanctity. The task
of the Halakha is precisely to ensure that man lives this kind of life:

     "Notwithstanding the huge disparity between [the majestic and
     covenantal] communities which expresses itself in the typological
     oppositions and conflicts described previously, the Halakha sees in
     the ethico- moral norm [i.e. the mitzvot] a uniting force. The norm
     which originates in the covenantal community addresses itself almost
     exclusively to the majestic community where its realization takes
     place. To use a metaphor, I would say that the norm in the opinion
     of the Halakha is the tentacle by which the covenant, like the ivy,
     attaches itself and spreads over the world of majesty." (p.84)

In other words, mitzvot emanate from the covenantal realm, where
man communes with God, but they can be fulfilled only by man who
participates in the majestic realm: "When you build a new home... When
you cut down your harvest..." etc. By addressing every aspect of man's
mundane existence, Halakha expresses its desire that man should 1) take
part in the earthly endeavor, and 2) sanctify that endeavor. What Rav
Soloveitchik is describing here is exactly the process of catharsis,
which we have examined at length in previous lectures (e.g. #6-9
and #14; see Reference #3 below for a reminder about the meaning of
catharsis). Catharsis results in the sanctification of natural man;
seen differently, the cathartic dialectic assures that covenantal man
does not become otherworldly and that majestic man does not become
demonically unrestrained and egocentric. This leads us to the question
of the central goal of Halakha.

(Continued in lecture #18b.)


	     LECTURE #18b: "The Lonely Man of Faith" (Continuation)
			 Part 4 - A Perpetual Dialectic

(Continuation of lecture 18a.)


At the end of his book The Halakhic Mind, Rav Soloveitchik has the
harshest words for Rambam's attempt at formulating a teleology of
Halakha. ("Teleology" is an explanation of a phenomenon in terms of its
ultimate purpose, derived from the Greek word telos, meaning goal.) The
Rav takes the halakhic system as a given which does not need to be
justified in other terms. Accusing the Rambam (in The Guide of the
Perplexed, not in the Mishneh Torah) of trying to make Halakha adhere
to values derived from an external philosophical system, thus turning
it into merely a means to attain some philosophically-determined end,
the Rav counters that Halakha is autonomous and must be understood in its
own terms. Its values must be derived from a study of its norms, thereby
learning our philosophy FROM Halakha. As we have seen in previous shiurim,
the Rav discovered a basic pattern underlying various halakhic norms:
the idea of catharsis, consisting of a dialectic of advance and retreat,
the latter purifying the former. (See Reference #4 for an example.)

In "The Lonely Man of Faith," the Rav offers his own teleology of Halakha,
finding it to lie precisely in the attainment of catharsis:

     "If one would inquire of me about the teleology of the Halakha,
     I would tell him that it manifests itself exactly in the
     paradoxical yet magnificent dialectic which underlies the halakhic
     gesture." (p.82)

(See also Reference #5.) God summons man to live both a majestic and
a covenantal life, and by adhering to Halakha man can answer both of
these calls. This can be understood in two ways, both of which receive
expression in "The Lonely Man of Faith."

A) Although the realms of majesty and covenant remain conceptually
distinct and even incompatible, Halakhic living provides a practical
means of meeting God's dual demands. Analogously, the Rav writes in
"Majesty and Humility" (p. 26):

     "[Halakha] did not discover the synthesis [between majesty and
     humility], since the latter does not exist. It did, however, find
     a way to enable man to respond to both calls."

This is an example of a broader phenomenon which also can be said
to constitute the telos of the halakhic system according to the Rav.
In his understanding, Halakha's goal is to help man take constructive
action in the face of dichotomous demands and insoluble problems,
without necessarily overcoming the conceptual dichotomies or solving the
dilemmas. (For an example, see Reference #6.) According to this reading
of "The Lonely Man of Faith," Halakha provides a practical means of
negotiating the unavoidable tension between the positions of Adam I and
Adam II, without reaching a synthesis between these two approaches.

B) Alternatively, we can regard Halakha as a unifying and even harmonizing
force. Its telos is ultimately to unite the natural and the spiritual in
man, not merely to provide a roadmap for an endless oscillation between
contradictory modes of being. It enables man to live an integrated
existence: a this-worldly life suffused with sanctity. This chord is
more dominant in "U-vikkashtem Mi-sham," as exemplified in the following

     "[B]y sanctifying the physical, [Halakha] creates a unified
     psycho-somatic ["psyche" = spirit, "soma" = body] individual who
     serves his Creator with both his spirit and his body and elevates
     the animal [in him] to the heights of eternity." (p.215)

Similarly, the goal of "Halakhic Man" is to bring kedusha down into
this world. As we shall see when we study that book, Halakhic Man sees
no inherent problems in fulfilling this task, nor does he live a life
of dialectical tension.


To summarize: Halakha can be seen either as a means to negotiate
an irreconcilable dialectic (as in "Majesty and Humility") or as an
ultimately unifying force (as in "U-vikkashtem Mi-sham"). Both of these
notions receive expression in "The Lonely Man of Faith." How can this
be? I think we can gain insight from a very significant footnote (at
the end of Chapter 8):

     "Maimonides distinguishes between two kinds of dialectic: (1)
     the constant oscillating between the majestic and the covenantal
     community; (2) the simultaneous involvement in both communities,
     which is the highest form of dialectical existence and which,
     according to Maimonides, only Moses and the Patriarchs achieved.
     See Yesodei Ha-Torah 7:6..." (pp.87-88)

This distinction can answer two questions we have raised.

1) The Telos of Halakha:

According to the first kind of dialectic described by the Rambam
("constant oscillating"), Halakha is a practical response to an unending,
insoluble tension. According to the second ("simultaneous involvement"),
Halakha is a unifying or harmonizing force.

2) The Nature of the Adam I / Adam II Dialectic:

I pointed out above that the Rav generally portrays the dialectic
between majesty and covenant in terms of conflicting movements, while
on page 83 he describes it as a complementary gesture. Now we can see
that these two portrayals reflect the two types of dialectic cited by
the Rambam. The first requires constant oscillation, since the two modes
of living are seen to be contrasting and therefore they cannot easily
abide together. The second, higher dialectic allows "simultaneous
involvement in both communities" because the two are now perceived
as being complementary. "U-vikkashtem Mi-sham" describes a similar
progression of perception: the "natural" and the "revelatory" are first
seen as contradictory, then as complementary, and finally they are united.

The continuation of this footnote makes an important point about the
higher mode of dialectic:

     "Maimonides is more explicit in the Moreh III:51 ... 'When we
     therefore find [the Patriarchs] also engaged in ruling others,
     in increasing their property and endeavoring to obtain possession
     of wealth and honor, we see in this fact a proof that when they
     were occupied in these things their bodily limbs were at work while
     their heart and mind never moved away from the name of God...' In
     other words, the Patriarchs were builders of society, sociable and
     gregarious. They made friends with whom they participated in the
     majestic endeavor. However, axiologically [= in terms of values],
     they valued only one involvement: their covenantal friendship
     with God. The perfect dialectic expresses itself in a plurality
     of creative gestures and, at the same time, in axiological
     monoideism." (p.88)

      This significantly modifies our perception of the
relation between Adam I and Adam II. No longer are they on equal
footing; no longer do they constitute equal and opposite poles of
a dialectic. Rather, "The perfect dialectic expresses itself in a
plurality of creative gestures and, at the same time, in axiological
monoideism." This means that although a person should engage in different
spheres of activity, he should adopt only one set of values - and these
are the values of Adam II. Only they are of ultimate significance:
"[A]xiologically, they valued only one involvement: their covenantal
friendship with God."

      When Adam I is uninformed by the values of Adam II,
he does not factor God into all of his considerations. (Recall that God
is not a member of the Adam I natural work community.) Nevertheless,
his existence has religious significance because it expresses his tzelem
Elokim and manifests dignity, even if he is not directly motivated by a
divine command. But while the ACTIONS of Adam I have religious worth,
Adam I is not a religious PERSONALITY because he is not interested in
cultivating a personal relationship with God.

      When a person participates in the majestic realm in
consonance with the higher mode of dialectic, it is with the
self-conscious intention of fulfilling God's will. Whether engaged in
politics or in prayer, one must possess a constant awareness of being
involvedin avodat Hashem - which is a value of Adam II. This is not
to say that we totally reject the values of Adam I. Man's involvement
in the cultural domain is not optional - it is mandated by God, and is
crucial to Jewish spirituality, which, as we have explained, is rooted
in this-worldly existence. Furthermore, as we shall see especially in
Halakhic Man and "U-vikkashtem Mi-sham," Judaism assigns great importance
to human creativity and autonomy (which are Adam I categories) - but
these should ideally be incorporated into one's avodat Hashem. In short:
one must always keep in mind that nothing is more important than his
relationship with God, and must gear all of his actions accordingly.

      We must remember, however, that according to the
Rambam, this ideal of perpetual engagement with God was attained by
only four individuals in the course of Jewish history. Similarly, Rav
Soloveitchik assigns the ultimate overcoming of the dialectic, resolving
all contradictions and filling the world with harmony, to the realm of
an eschatological vision (p.87). However, he claims elsewhere, we can
begin to fulfill the eschatological vision while still in this world:

     "Devekut [the pinnacle of religious achievement attained by
     unifying man's creativity and autonomy with his absolute religious
     commitment], which essentially is an eschatological vision... begins
     to be realized even within this divided and fragmented world and
     in the actual life of flawed and solitary man. Judaism always
     recognized the continuity of temporal and eternal existence,
     of a world struggling for its existence and a redeemed world,
     of a polluted world and a world which is completely pure and
     good." ("U-vikkashtem Mi-sham," p.189)

The vision of unity cannot be fully realized before the messianic era,
but it can at least point out a direction to us. Perhaps the Rav is saying
that although most of us are fated to live in a world of dichotomies and
dialectical oscillation, we must strive to the extent of our ability to
approach the ideal of unifying the different aspects of our existence.

To conclude, what is most novel about Rav Soloveitchik's theory of the
two Adams? I would highlight two points:

1) Adam I's existence is willed by God and therefore his actions have
religious value.

2) Nevertheless, Adam II is independent of Adam I and is ultimately more
significant. Religion is not subservient to culture; it is a primordial
force which has no need to legitimize self in other terms. This will
be the focus of the next two lectures.


1) AFFIRMATION OF THIS-WORLDLY EXISTENCE: See lecture #8. This is also
a major theme in Halakhic Man.

After writing this lecture, I came across an excellent book which
contains an extended analysis of Rav Soloveitchik's views concerning the
relationship between religion (Adam II) and culture (Adam I), and the
this-worldly attitude of Judaism: The Jewish Idea of Culture, by Rav Sol
Roth (Ktav, 1997). Much of the book focuses on "The Lonely Man of Faith."

2) BLESSINGS: It has long been noted that in our recitation of blessings,
we switch in mid-berakha from addressing God in the second person
("Barukh ata") to addressing Him in the third person ("asher kidishanu be-
mitzvotav," instead of "asher kidashtanu be- mitzvotekha"). In a footnote
here (p.80), Rav Soloveitchik attributes this change to "man's dialectical
see-sawing between the cosmic and the covenantal experience of God." Note,
however, that in "U-vikkashtem Mi-sham" (p.178) he attributes this switch
to the dialectic of ahava and yira, love and fear of God.

3) THE DEFINITION OF CATHARSIS (quoted from lecture #6): The dialectic of
advance and recoil, of victory and defeat, is built into the structure
of man's existence and constitutes the essence of halakhic living. On
the one hand, God desires that man move forward and attain mastery over
his surroundings. On the other hand, from time to time man must halt his
headlong rush towards triumph and success, and be willing to retreat,
to be defeated by a higher authority.

    "The movement of recoil redeems the forward-movement, and the
    readiness to accept defeat purges the uncontrollable lust for
    victory." ("Catharsis," p.37)

In other words, left to itself, man's desire for victory can be merely
an expression of his egocentric interests and self-aggrandizement.
His forward-movement can be regarded as a response to divine mandate
only if he is willing to curtail it when God so demands. In this way,
not only is his retreat sanctified, but so is his advance.

4) AN EXAMPLE OF CATHARSIS (quoted from lecture #8): According to
the Rav, God does not desire that man live an otherworldly ascetic
existence, nor does He wish for man to adopt an ethereal and abstract
spirituality. Rather, God wants man to lead a full and enjoyable
natural life. However, he must instill it with meaning and direction,
thus grounding his spirituality in his concrete life. For example,
if unrestrained and unredeemed, the sexual act can be brutish and
dehumanizing. Man succumbs to a frenzy of primitive passions and
treats his sexual partners as things, as mere means to fulfill his
desire. However, within the framework of marriage (and at the permitted
times), sexuality becomes something beautiful and sacred. Hedged in
by prohibitions, it turns into an act conforming to God's will. Between
husband and wife, it expresses love and commitment (which are also desired
by God). Furthermore, it actually becomes a vehicle for fulfilling
mitzvot, such as procreation ("peru u-revu") and the obligation of
conjugal relations (onah). Thus, one's physical life becomes the
fountainhead of kedusha.

5) CATHARSIS IS THE TELOS OF HALAKHA: Several statements in articles
we have already read also point in this direction. For example, in
"Catharsis" (p.42), the Rav writes:

     "[Biblical heroism] is perhaps the central motif in our existential
     experience... The individual, instead of undertaking heroic action
     sporadically, lives constantly as a hero."

As the Rav explains there, infusing all of one's life with heroism means
living in accordance with Halakha, with its perpetual dialectic of bold
advance and humble retreat. Since "the central motif in our existential
experience" is halakhic heroism, i.e. cathartic action, catharsis would
seem to constitute the telos of the halakhic system.

In a related fashion, at the end of "Catharsis" Rav Soloveitchik
designates catharsis as God's central demand of man. Paraphrasing Micha
6:8, he writes (p.54):

     "He showed thee, man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require
     of thee, but to move forward boldly, to triumph over and subdue thy
     environment, and to retreat humbly when victory is within thy grasp."

Likewise, "U-vikkashtem Mi-sham" is full of statements to the effect that
the goal of Halakha is to unite man's "natural consciousness" with his
"revelatory consciousness."

from lecture #5): For example, in "Kol Dodi Dofek," Rav Soloveitchik
states that philosophic solutions to the problem of evil and suffering
are inadequate at both an intellectual level (because of man's finite
intellect) and at an emotional level (because they deny the legitimacy
of man's experience of suffering). The Halakha, on the other hand,
provides a practical response to this insoluble intellectual and
experiential question, through the mandate of repentance in response to
suffering. Repentance enables man to take cathartic, therapeutic action
in response to adversity, thereby turning a potentially destructive
experience into a redemptive one. By responding in a constructive manner,
one maintains his dignity in the face of absurdity; instead of being
buffeted by blind forces, he "takes control" of the situation by creating
(i.e. self-creation, which is the essence of repentance).

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Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 09:46:10 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: guf noki and Lubavitch tefillin campaign - clarifications of concerns

In a message dated 5/25/01 9:09:24am EDT, Phyllostac@aol.com writes:
> Perhaps I was not totally understood re my point re guf noki re the Lubavitch 
> tefillin campaign - I was thinking of the possibility of 'qeri' type 
> emissions...

IMHO this Chasash is Rochok Meod.

> Also, I think it should be noted that tefillin have a special status / 
> kedusha. To illustrate, let us recall, that although we start young boys on 
> other mitzvos long / years before they are bat mitzvah, WRT Tefillin we wait 
> until only a short time before bar mitzvah to start this chinuch...

But a Bar Mitzvah is Mchuyov.

> Question - what is the aim of the Lubavitch Tefillin campaign - is it to 
> remove the status of someone who never wore tefillin from people - or as part 
> of kiruv? If you will say both, I ask, which aim is primary and which 
> secondary?

The goal is to have Jews be Mkayeim this Mitzvah (just like Shofar, Lulov, 
Mezuzeh, Tzdaka etc.), removing the Geder of Karkafta is definately a 

> Also, do the ones laying the Tefillin on the walk-ins from the street tell 
> them of the holiness of tefillin and the attendant requirements? Who says it 
> is mutar / allowed / in their power to 'waive' this for the sake of 'kiruv' 
> and removing the status of 'lo manach tefillin'? Why don't they try another 
> mitzvah with the walk-ins, e.g. tzitzis...

The one who started this was the Lubavitcher Rebbe, The Rebbe answers these 

> If the whole idea is to remove the status of 'one who did not lay Tefillin', 
> then wouldn't that be anyway removed later if / when this person became 
> 'frum' ? - and if they don't become frum will that alone give them a cheilek 
> in olam habo that they otherwise wouldn't get (is that so clear?) ? ...

Without responding to what the goal is, there is a special sug of Karkafta 
which makes one a Poshe Yisroel Bgufoi, (Rosh Hashana).

Kol Tuv, 
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 09:53:54 -0400
From: "Howard Schild" <hgschild@hotmail.com>

From: Phyllostac@aol.com Mordechai
> Question - what is the aim of the Lubavitch Tefillin campaign - is it to
> remove the status of someone who never wore tefillin from people - or as part
> of kiruv? If you will say both, I ask, which aim is primary and which
> secondary?

> If the whole idea is to remove the status of 'one who did not lay
> Tefillin'...

At the back of volume 6 of Likutei Sichos the Lubavitcher Rebbe
discusses all of the reasons for the tefillin campaign. The parameters
of the concept" to remove the status of 'one who did not lay Tefillin"
is quoted from a "mainstream" "middle of the road" Rabbi, the Rambam.

[That description of the Rambam is arguable. Particularly on aggadic
issues. -mi]

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Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 08:47:19 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Rabbi Bechhofer's principle [was: Sheruth Leumi]

At 08:35 AM 5/25/01 -0400, Micha Berger wrote:
>I'm rehashing all of this for a reason: We're now blurring the notions
>of accepting a pesak ([Mamrim] 2:1) with minhag (2:2). However, their
>halachic implications are different. I need clarification.

No blurring.

I am equating psak with stated, clear reasons to 2:1 and psak with 
unstated, unclear reasons to 2:2-3 (we can klehr which, but I tend to 2:2).

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

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Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 16:58:21 +0300
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@bezeqint.net>
Re: Rabbi Bechhofer's principle [was: Sheruth Leumi]

I find this discussion rather disquieting on a number of levels. Aside
from a few oracular comments and rebbe stories - there is very little in
hard evidence being cited. I thought this was supposed to be a serious
discussion group?!

To compare the Chazon Ish to Sanhedrin in his ability to make takonos
is rather problematic. If he is not being compared to Sanhedrin the
reference to hilchos mamrim seems irrelevant. No rav or community can
make psak binding on another community. The Rambam states this very
clearly in his Introduction to Mishneh Torah. As far as I recall the
Chazon Ish was poskening based on his understanding of Torah law as a
posek not as a member of a Sanhedrin or as a prophet.

> 2. Rabbi Eidensohn has in these pages (so to speak) cited R. Feinstein
> as having said that his tshuvoth have no value as halachic precedents;
> their only value is the reasoning (and the argument - if you check the
> texts (somewhere in vol. 8 IIRC) - applies not only to Rabbi Feinstein's
> tshuvoth but more generally).

Reb Moshe Introduction where he says the importance of his tshuvos is his
reasoning and that they are halacha to the degree that his reasoning makes
sense. This assertion is thoroughly discussed in YD IV #38 page 251-252.

In general the issue of disagreeing with another's psak is listed on
page 276-277 of Yad Moshe

Rav Moshe referred people who lived in Israel to Israeli poskim "because
they had a better grasp of the local conditions" (O.H. IV 77 page 156)

> My impression is that, in spite of the presence of Rabbi Kahaneman and
> other great sages, Rabbi Karelitz was the ultimate posek in Bnei Brak,
> and that he was among the founders of the community in Bnei Brak. As we
> know, under certain circumstances the rav (=ultimate posek) of a town has
> the authority to establish a town minhag, and, indeed, often a minhag
> is established even though the rav meant it only as a psak rather than
> a novel custom [the difference being that a psak can be disagreed with
> by a successor; it is much harder to overrule a minhag].

> I suggest that Rabbi Bechhofer meant that Rabbi Karelitz's prohibition
> of performing sheruth leumi is now minhag bnei Bnei Brak, and therfore
> is binding.

More directly to this discussion, Rav Moshe specifically says it is
permitted to disagree with the Chazon Ish even for someone who is living
in Bnei Brak. (YD. III #88 page 329)

In summary. 1) are we talking about psak or a takana? 2) Is the authority
based upon the posek being recognized as vastly superior or on sevara 3)
Is the authority because of the posek or because it was accepted by the
majority of poskim 4) Is the authority primarily because the posek is
your rebbe or your rav?

An alternative paradigm is that of aggadic halacha.

Rav Avraham Yitzchok Bloch in response to Rav Shwab's question about
secular studies [cited in Prof Leo Levi's Sha'are Talmud Torah pe 334]

"This that you asked me to clarify the halacha concering secular studies
and the nature of the curriculum of the German schools. However it
is extremely difficult in these matters to provide a clear halachic
response. Because these matters are largely built upon hashkofa and
principles which are derived from aggada. These types of issues even
though they involve many doreissa issues nevertheless they are difficult
to pin down in a way comparable to regular halachic issues because they
are so strongly influenced in the specific nature of the people involved
as well as the particular circumstances they are living in and other
sociological and psychological issues..."

If none of the above are relevant - then the strength of the psak - is
primarily because of the perception that the prohibition is needed rather
than clear cut prinicples that can be pointed to or agreed on. Examples of
this are umbrellas and electricity on Shabbos.

                                                    Daniel Eidensohn

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