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Volume 07 : Number 050

Thursday, May 31 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 08:57:25 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Hirhur/Machshava

At 03:16 PM 5/25/01 -0400, Yzkd@aol.com wrote:
>By Limud Hatorah we find the Term Hirhur.

He ha'nosenes! V'duk.

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

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Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 10:15:10 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Fwd: RAV -18a: "The Lonely Man of Faith" Part 4

From R' Ronnie Ziegler's email shiur on RYBS's hashkafah:
: ... 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...

Here RRZ makes a huge assertion with little support. There is a leap
being made from saying that something is a desiratum that halachah
satisfies and making it the end-all of the system.

RYBS is quite clear that his explorations into ta'amei hamitzvos are
merely "halachic hermeneutics" -- derashos that give you lessons about the
mitzvos, but not attempts to explain THE purpose. In RYBS's worldview,
every mitzvah has an element of choq to it, and they are inherently
unexplainable. So even the suggestion that some idea is the "telos of
the halachic system" in RYBS's opinion is suspect, regardless of which
idea the claim is being made about.

In either case, as RRZ himself points out, this oscillation is the means
of navigating only one kind of dialectic, that in Uvikashtem Misham we
find a dialectic which halachah does set out to resolve.

:      "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)

IOW, even within RRZ's model the ultimate telos is actually sheleimus
ha'adam (note that sheleimus as in shalom may be more applicable here),
which requires different tactics for different issues.


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, 30 May 2001 11:35:40 -0400
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: Showering on Yom Tov

From: Carl and Adina Sherer [mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il]
>> I'm planning to give a shiur on Shavuos night on the topic of showering on
>> YT. 
>> Does anyone know of any poskim who permit it? 

> IIRC R. Moshe Tendler permits it on the second day only.

Do you know whether his reasoning was based on (1) a belief that showering
every day is not shaveh l'chol nefesh but showering every other day is
shaveh l'chol nefesh or (2) the d'rabbanan status of yom tov sheni (compare
cigarette smoking, where some poskim allow smoking just on yom tov sheni)?

Kol tuv,

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Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 12:44:52 -0400
From: gil.student@citicorp.com
RE: Showering on Yom Tov

Moshe Feldman wrote:
> I'm planning to give a shiur on Shavuos night on the topic of showering on 
> YT. 
> Does anyone know of any poskim who permit it? 
Moshe, you probably saw this already, but R. Yechezkel Avramsky argues 
extensively to prohibit showering on Yom Tov in his Chazon Yechezkel on Beitzah 
2:7.  The Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasah argues in a footnote (I think it is ch. 
14 n. 21) that it should be permissible but leaves it tzarich iyun.

Gil Student

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Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 23:11:59 +0300
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@bezeqint.net>
Re: Rabbi Bechhofer's principle

I'll try one more time. I really  don't understand the justification for
your principle. Your comments on this subject stand in stark contrast to
your typically postings.

To have you respond to my request for clarification by making statements
which I find as difficult to understand as the ones that prompted my
posting -suggestions at least two possibilities.

1) The issue is just beyond my comprehension or perhaps needs to be brought
down a couple notches so it is more readily understood. If so please
patiently try again.


2) Your response is actually an illustration of your principle. Something
which is to be taken simply because of another's superior authority is
better not justified or is justified in such a way that it can't be

If alternative 2 is what is operative than we have an interesting irony. I
am presenting the position of Rav Moshe Feinstein - that the essence of psak
is sevora. That the authority comes from convincing others rationally that
you have the answer. To that end I cited the Introduction to the Igros. The
tshuva that it permitted to dispute the psak of the Chazon for someone
living in Bnei Brak. There is even a tshuva (OH I #109 page 173 ) in which
Rav Moshe rejects the apology of Rav Menashe Klein that perhaps he has no
right to argue with the gadol hador. Rav Moshe responds,  "It is reasonable
that there is no one today who has the status of gadol and muflah concerning
this din so that he can not be disputed...therefore even if you consider me
to be a gadol it is appropriate to dispute my decisions and to express your
position and therefore there is no need to apologize. Nevertheless - in
terms of the issue under discussion the truth is as I have said - that it is
prohibited to use a plastic rain cover."

The Divrei Chaim on the other hand asserts that gedolim have ruach hakodesh.
Therefore we have the  fact that you are disputing the position of a
dol   - without offering any direct evidence of comparable importance that
there is fact an alternative position. Without direct support from the words
of another gadol - your assertions remain just your assertions - and can not
be considered in the geder of ailu v'ailu.

Finally to cite the Chazon Ish himself. Collected Letters II #19. "I am
prepared to accept from everyone and I am quick to acknowledge and say that
I have erred and I rejoice in this in the light of truth"

                            Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 15:32:22 EDT
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
being yotzei with Yikum Purkans through shliach tzibbur

I was wondering.....

Would there be any problem with people being 'yotzei' saying both Yikum 
Purkans (Ashkenazim - I think there are some - perhaps Teimanim? - that don't 
say yikum purkan) after krias haTorah on Shabbos morning via listening to the 
Shliach tzibbur saying them and answering omein with intent to be yotzei? In 
fact, I suspect that 'originally' that may have been the way that was done - 
hence the words ' vinomar omein' at their conclusions. 

A problem might be that usually they (yikum purkans) are not said out loud by 
the shluchei tzibbur - possibly to 'save time'....which raises the related 
question - must one hear the whole piece said by the shat"z in order to be 
yotzei via saying omein - or perhaps it could be (at least bidiavad) 
sufficient to be michavein / think of the brocho / follow in siddur and just 
answer omein when the shat"z says ' vinomar omein' (we know that one can 
answer omein after a brocho even if one didn't hear it, if they know what 
brocho was said and when it ends, as seen from the story of the great beis 
haknesses of Alexandria where the Shammas signaled to the tzibbur to answer 
omein by raising a flag at appropriate times [btw - was the tzibbur there 
being yotzei shmoneh esreh via the Shat"z [licheora it was?] as was done in 
'the old days', rather than just answering omein during chazoras hashat"z as 
we do today?])?

Going a bit further, why is it not done that way (at least in places I have 

At times I have encountered shluchei Tzibbur saying the 'mi shebeirach' after 
the two Yikum Purkans wholly outloud - in that case licheora it should be no 
problem with a congregant listening and answering omein instead of saying 
that whole piece themself.

Also - being that there are other similar Tefillos / Mi shebeirachs said at 
that part of davening by some congregations (e.g. 'Hanosein Tshua' [tfila 
lishlom hamedina], Tefillah for Israel, tefila for Tzaha"l, tefila for 
ne'edorei Tzaha"l, mi shebeirach of Tosfos yom Tov for those who don't talk 
improperly n Shul....), which are done by having the Rav or Gabbai say them 
with tzibbur listening and saying omein - why are the Yikum Purkans not done 
the same way?

Anyway - to sum up - why is that not done with Yikum Purkon, could it be done 
that way, and why is it not done more with 'Mi Shebeirach'?


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Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 15:32:41 EDT
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
karkafta (skull) dilo monach tefillin / poshei Yisroel bigufon

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Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 01:02:29 EDT
Subject: karkafta (skull) dilo monach tefillin / poshei Yisroel bigufon 
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I looked up the gemoro (Rosh Hashana 17a) that mentions the special severe 
situation becoming a 'karkafta (skull) dilo monach tefillin' who is labeled 
'poshei Yisroel bigufon'.

I happened to be thinking to myself about the matter recently - even before 
looking it up....specifically about the correctness of applying this term to 
Jews who lack a proper Jewish background.....who are widely considered to be 
in the category of 'tinokos shenishbu' based upon the teaching of the Chazon 
Ish z"l. If such people are tinokos shenishbu, how can they be called 
poshe'im, when poshim means people who know that something is a sin, but 
nevertheless do it anyway, 'bidavka', as an act of rebellion ?

Also, I noted that Tosfos there states bisheim Rabbeinu Tam that 'karkafta 
dilo monach tefillin' is when someone doesn't put on tefillin 'kishehamitzvoh 
bizuya olov, shemigunos olov ritzuos shel tefillin shebirosho'. It seems that 
there is therefore ground to say that it would not apply to the typical 
'tinokos shenishbu' types that Lubavitch usually deals with in their tefillin 



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Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 16:26:06 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Rabbi Bechhofer's principle

At 11:11 PM 5/30/01 +0300, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
>I'll try one more time. I really  don't understand the justification for
>your principle. Your comments on this subject stand in stark contrast to
>your typically postings.

I guess I will take that as a compliment :-) .

>To have you respond to my request for clarification by making statements
>which I find as difficult to understand as the ones that prompted my
>posting -suggestions at least two possibilities.
>1) The issue is just beyond my comprehension or perhaps needs to be brought
>down a couple notches so it is more readily understood. If so please
>patiently try again.

Let me try to clear up a misunderstanding, for which I take responsibility. 
There was a poster(s) on Areivim who suggested that he comprehended the 
CI's reasons for his ruling - which I, really, do not - and that, therefore 
s/he, said poster(s), could ascertain that socio-econo-historical 
circumstances having changed - and, said poster(s) having attributed the 
CI's ruling to these reasons - s/he therefore proposed the conclusion that 
the CI's ruling is no longer applicable.

Using the principles - not the precise rulings - propounded by the Rambam 
in Hil. Mamrim I proposed that precisely because the CI's logic is vague, 
one must leery of opposing the CI or declaring his psak inoperative. I drew 
a parallel betwen this case and the case of a takkanah, where gadol 
b'chochmo u'b'minyan is required - precisely, as we know, because the 
reasons for takkanos and gezeiros are unclear, and subject to 
misunderstanding, as opposed to droshos of a Sanhedrin, where the rules of 
logic are known and the logic clear, where gadol b'chochmo u'b'minyon is 
not essential.

This is not to imply that the CI's psak is *binding* because it is fuzzy, 
rather that its very fuzziness - emanating, as it does, from an authority 
of the CI's stature, makes it harder to challenge. A la the difference 
between a takkanah and a drosho.

(To me, BTW, said poster(s)' positions are reminiscent of the Historical 
School, a la Zechariah Frankel.)

I continued that a similar area of fuzziness may be found in the CI's 
application of Boneh to electricity. I noted that one may certainly argue 
on the CI - RSZA, for one, does - but that is because, at least from our 
perspective, we see the CI and RSZA as occupying the same stratosphere of 
chochmo and minyon. This does not necessarily apply to others.

I never said or intimated that the CI's halachic pronouncements, ex 
cathedra, are binding as such.


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

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Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 21:01:53 EDT
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Fwd: RAV -19: "The Lonely Man of Faith" Part 5

another segment in this series.
    Steve Brizel

			     by Rav Ronnie Ziegler
	     LECTURE #19: "The Lonely Man of Faith" (Continuation)
		      Part 5 - The Subversion of Religion

Chapter 9 of "The Lonely Man of Faith" is the climax towards which the
entire book has been building. In this chapter, Rav Soloveitchik returns
to address the questions he posed at the beginning of the essay, revealing
to us the full force of the crisis facing the man of faith today.

Recall that in chapter 1, the Rav stated that the goal of this work is
to examine the loneliness of the man of faith, which is experienced on
two planes - the ontological and the historical. These differ both in
their cause and in their effect:

     "While the ontological loneliness of the man of faith is due to
     a God-made and willed situation and is, as part of his destiny, a
     wholesome and integrating experience, the special kind of loneliness
     of contemporary man of faith referred to at the beginning of this
     essay is of a social nature due to a man-made historical situation
     and is, hence, an unwholesome and frustrating experience." (p.91)

Ontological loneliness, as we explained in lecture #18, is the lot of
all people of faith. While difficult and demanding, it is nevertheless
a source of religious growth and creativity, since these can come about
only as the result of struggle. However, "contemporary man of faith lives
through a particularly difficult and agonizing crisis" (p.6) due to his
historical loneliness, and therefore the Rav's "prime concern" in the
essay is to examine the cause and nature of this latter experience. In
order to accomplish this, the Rav first had to establish the framework
of his discussion, the Adam I/Adam II dichotomy (chapters 1-7); then he
examined the ideal relationship obtaining between these two components
of the human personality (chapter 8); and now he can finally discuss
the contemporary crisis situation where these two components are no
longer in balance. Chapter 9 diagnoses the distortion of faith in the
modern world, offering a devastating critique of contemporary forms of
organized religion and exposing the lonely and precarious position of
the man of faith in all its tragic dimensions.


The historical loneliness of the contemporary man of faith stems
from the fact that his faith commitment, as spelled out in the
covenantal-redemptive terms of Adam II, is incomprehensible to modern
man. Modern man, due to his great success in the realm of majesty-dignity,
has been enticed into believing that the Adam I side of existence is all
there is to life. He refuses to acknowledge the inherent duality of man.

   "By rejecting Adam the second, contemporary man, eo ipso, dismisses
   the covenantal faith community as something superfluous and
   obsolete." (pp.91-92)

Since he embodies only Adam I, modern man thinks in limited,
relativistic, human terms and is guided solely by criteria of utility and
verifiability (i.e. what is useful and comprehensible to him). Adam II,
by contrast, thinks in absolute terms which transcend human finitude,
and is guided by a commitment which is "meta-logical and non-hedonic"
(i.e. exceeding the human intellect and not necessarily designed to bring
about pleasure). Therefore, when the few remaining genuine men of faith
(who espouse the Adam II worldview) speak of the basic human need for
redemption and issue a call for self- sacrifice and for total commitment
to God, they are met by blank incomprehension, if not derision, on the
part of modern man. Hence, the loneliness of the contemporary man of
faith turns into social isolation, and is therefore a frustrating and
unhealthy experience.


Rav Soloveitchik is diagnosing not merely the isolation of the religious
community within an increasingly secular world. He is addressing a far
more tragic and dangerous situation - the secularization of religion
itself. The great chiddush of the Rav's essay, its most striking
and original point, is that even modern "religious" man rejects Adam
II! Contemporary forms of organized religion espouse not the faith
commitment of covenantal man but rather the "religious culture" of
majestic man; they practice the religion of Adam I. (I would add, as
we shall see in the next lecture, that the Rav means to include in his
critique not only movements which he regards as heterodox, but also,
and perhaps primarily, his own "Modern Orthodox" community.)

   "[When I speak of modern man's rejection of Adam II], I am referring
   [not to atheists but] rather to Western man who is affiliated with
   organized religion and is a generous supporter of its institutions. He
   stands today in danger of losing his dialectical awareness... Somehow,
   man of majesty considers the dialectical awareness too great a burden,
   interfering with his pursuit of happiness and success, and is,
   therefore, ready to cast it off." (p.92)

Successful Adam I has extended his drive for conquest even to the sphere
of religion. He has infiltrated the religious realm and taken it over -
and in the process, he has undermined and distorted its very meaning. His
is a religion of convenience, not commitment; it is geared to suit his
own needs, not to serve God's will. He does not comprehend the meaning
of total devotion and does not sense the need for redemption, which are
the essence of faith. Therefore, the words of the man of faith fall on
deaf ears even among "religious" individuals, and the man of faith finds
himself isolated even within the "religious" community. This is his true
tragedy, and this presents the gravest peril to the future of faith.

In order to assess this situation accurately, we must first examine two
issues. The remainder of this lecture will explore Adam I's attitude to
religion, and the following lecture (which will conclude our discussion
of "The Lonely Man of Faith") will be devoted mainly to the issue of
the autonomy of faith. Having addressed these two topics, we will then
be able to examine the options open to the man of faith when confronted
by majestic man's usurpation of religion.


Adam I adheres to some form of religion only to the extent that it
is useful to him in his pursuit of dignity; he is not committed to
religion in an ultimate sense, nor is he willing to sacrifice any of
his majestic goals for its sake. In fact, religion for him is merely
another manifestation of his search for majesty. Like everything else
he does, it is an anthropocentric enterprise, designed to enhance his
self-image and to increase his comfort. Sometimes this may express
itself in a commendable sense of philanthropy and social activism
(think of the UJA, JNF, Israel Bonds, etc.). Adam I, after all, is not
simply a crass and materialistic being; recall Adam I's conception that
"humanity = dignity = RESPONSIBILITY = majesty" (p.20). But when Adam
I adopts some of the outer trappings of religion - ceremony, ritual,
etc. - he empties them of their transcendental content, since he is not
in search of the redemptive encounter with God. We see, therefore,
that belonging to a religious establishment does not make one into a
man of faith. The Rav puts it this way:

   "[Western man who is affiliated with a religious establishment]
   belongs not to a covenantal faith community but to a religious
   community. The two communities are as far apart as the two Adams. While
   the covenantal faith community is governed, as I emphasized, by a
   desire for a redeemed existence, the religious community is dedicated
   to the attainment of dignity and success and is - along with the
   whole gamut of communities such as the political, the scientific,
   the a- a creation of Adam the first, all conforming to the same
   sociological structural patterns. The religious community is,
   therefore, also a work community consisting of two grammatical
   personae [i.e. I and Thou, two humans], not including the Third
   Person [i.e. God]. The prime purpose is the successful furtherance of
   the interests, not the deepening and enhancing of the commitments,
   of man who values religion in terms of its usefulness to him and
   considers the religious act a medium through which he may increase
   his happiness. This assumption on the part of majestic man about the
   role of religion is not completely wrong, if only, as I shall explain,
   he would recognize also the non-pragmatic aspects of religion." (p.93)

This quote deserves careful analysis. I would like to highlight several


As mentioned above, Adam I is trapped within the natural order,
interpreting his existence in cognitive and functional categories.
Adam II, on the other hand, deals also with that which transcends him
and his natural existence. Thus, they possess fundamentally different
perspectives. The Rav terms Adam I's domain the realm of "culture,"
culture being a purely human creation. But as such, its horizons are
restricted to that which is humanly perceptible - and this, of necessity,
lends the entire cultural enterprise only a limited and relative value
(since man is a finite being). Adam I alone cannot find values which
transcend himself; only Adam II, who has an intimate relation with God,
can speak in terms of absolutes.

Adam I therefore faces a problem. He is not satisfied with material
success, but also "evaluates his creative accomplishments, making an
effort to place them in some philosophical and axiological perspective"
(p.95). More importantly, he seeks to lend "fixity, permanence, and worth"
(p.96) to his endeavors. But these can be attained only with reference
to the conceptual world of Adam II. Thus, in order to "strengthen his
cultural edifice" (p.97), Adam I must turn to Adam II for support. By
borrowing conceptual categories from Adam II, majestic man can raise his
aesthetic experience to the level of the sublime; he can find higher
sanction for his ethical norm; he can have access to the therapeutic
powers of belief in times of distress; etc. (see pp.94-98). In short: he
can introduce into his frame of reference an element of the transcendent,
which is not bound by time, place, or human finitude.

The metaphor of translation is very pertinent here. Let us regard the
cultural-majestic and religious- covenantal realms as speaking two
different languages. Rav Soloveitchik makes two important points: 1)
the language of the covenantal realm is partially translatable into the
language of the cultural realm, but 2) it is not wholly translatable. This
act of translation, or of Adam I borrowing from the language of Adam
II, is both necessary and legitimate. It is necessary, as we just saw,
in order to lend higher value to Adam I's endeavors. It is legitimate
because God Himself has willed Adam I's existence. It is possible because

   "God would not have implanted the necessity in majestic man for such
   spiritual perceptions and ideas if He had not at the same time endowed
   the man of faith with the skill of converting some of his apocalyptic
   experiences - which are meta-logical and non-hedonic - into a system
   of values and verities comprehensible to majestic man..." (p.98)

(However, it is important to note that, once translated, these concepts
bear little similarity to their original form - see e.g. the footnote
on p.97.)

The problem is that contemporary Adam I thinks that the language of Adam
II is totally translatable into his terms. If this were so, then there
would be nothing unique and autonomous about the covenantal realm. Adam
I thereby makes religion completely subsidiary to culture - he evaluates
religion purely in cultural-majestic terms and does not recognize anything
beyond that.


It is legitimate for Adam I not just to borrow concepts such as the
sublime and the eternal from Adam II, but it is even legitimate to regard
the religious act itself pragmatically.

   "The idea that certain aspects of faith are translatable into pragmatic
   terms is not new. The Bible has already pointed out that the observance
   of the Divine Law and obedience to God leads man to worldly happiness,
   to a respectable, pleasant and meaningful life. Religious pragmatism
   has a place within the perspective of the man of faith." (pp.98- 99)

In a somewhat different but related sense, the Rav emphasizes elsewhere
the legitimacy of religiosity which is based on simple fear of punishment
and anticipation of reward (see "U-vikkashtem Mi-sham," pp.159-161,
and Reference #1 below).

However, it is crucial that man not relate to faith SOLELY in pragmatic
terms. He must be committed to God even if this does not appear to bring
him happiness and fulfillment, and even if the commitment is not always
comprehensible to him.

   "This assumption on the part of majestic man about the role of
   religion is not completely wrong, if only, as I shall explain, he
   would recognize also the non-pragmatic aspects of religion." (p.93)

If he fails to "recognize also the non-pragmatic aspects of religion,"
then he will miss out on all that is unique about religion, and his faith
gesture "will forfeit its redemptive and therapeutic qualities" (p.106).

3. SOCIOLOGICAL PATTERNS Since modern man integrates religion into his
overall quest for majesty, not recognizing that faith makes independent
and absolute demands upon him, he creates a religious community which
is structurally identical to all other communities formed by Adam I. It
is a community of interests, not a community of commitment; its members
are bound together not by a mutual devotion to God and to the attainment
of redemption, but rather by the shared pursuit of dignity and comfort.
(See Reference #2.)

What does this mean in concrete terms? If man views religion merely
as another method for him to attain happiness - not as an autonomous,
transcendent, and elemental force which makes demands upon him - then he
approaches religion with the question, "What's in it for me?" Religion
is forced to justify and sell itself to the public; it becomes part of
our larger consumer society.

Let me bring one example from my childhood. I recall that during
the Sunday morning cartoons, a particular commercial was broadcast
frequently. The commercial showed a clean-cut, fresh-faced, all-American
family dressed in its Sunday best on the way to church. When they
return home, they sit down to a lavish meal, all smiling beatifically
and showering each other with love. This heartwarming scene would fade
out and be replaced with the legend:

What message is this conveying? That religion must be marketed just
like detergent or toothpaste. That you should be religious because it
is good for you. Are you afraid of divorce? Go to church. Do you want
happy, smiling children? Go to church. Try it - you'll be pleased with
the results.

Now, I certainly don't mean to downplay the value of family harmony.
It happens to be a value which Adam II as well can appreciate. What is
problematic is the "What's in it for me?" attitude, whereby religion
must prove its usefulness to the "religious consumer." Man puts up a
demand that religion adapt itself to HIS needs, not vice versa. In a
situation like this, religion loses its authenticity and its power. It
waters itself down in order to attract followers; in fact, it often
changes its message entirely. In the supermarket of ideas, religion
must market itself on the basis of values which people ALREADY HOLD,
even though these ideas are not necessarily derived from religious
sources. It tries to appeal to the public instead of teaching them;
it reinforces their (majestic) values rather than dictating new ones.

People don't usually want to hear about sacrifice, humility and
loneliness. They want religion to be less demanding and to provide instant
gr It should make them feel good about themselves instead of trying
to change them. When people who lack an unwavering faith commitment
don't like the message they are hearing, they will either simply and
complacently ignore it, or they will pick themselves up and move to a
more congenial environment. Under these circumstances, who rises to
leadership positions in the religious community? Often it is not the
most learned, sincere or pious individual, but rather the best salesman.

In the next lecture we will examine the other side of this dilemma -
Adam II's stubborn refusal to identify himself wholly with Adam I's goals
and ideas. After further exploring the clash of conceptions between the
religion of Adam I and the faith of Adam II, we will turn to the question
- what now?


1. ULTERIOR MOTIVES IN RELIGION: Rav Soloveitchik explicitly grapples with
Kant's philosophy throughout his writings (especially, as we shall see,
in Halakhic Man). In "The Lonely Man of Faith," the Rav cites Kantian
ethics as an attempt to lend absolute validity to a human cultural
creation (p.97). In a sense, therefore, we can say that the ethical
realm for Kant is parallel to the religious realm for Rav Soloveitchik,
since both demand an unconditional commitment. But if so, I would
like to point out a striking and ironic contrast between them (without
going into detail regarding Kantian philosophy). Kant is perhaps most
famous for denying the validity of ulterior motives in following the
"categorical imperative," the heart of his ethical system. Yet Rav
Soloveitchik, who bases himself on super-human revelation and not only
on finite human reason, admits that it is legitimate to regard the faith
commitment in pragmatic terms!

Of course, as we saw above, Rav Soloveitchik demands that one's faith
commitment not be based only on pragmatic considerations; but nevertheless
a measure of pragmatism is warranted. Furthermore, although a religious
quest due to pragmatic considerations ("she-lo lishmah") appears as
a seemingly necessary component of man's religious development in
"U-vikkashtem Mi-sham," it is important to note that this is only the
first of three stages delineated there. As one's religious consciousness
deepens, his pragmatic considerations diminish. Yet even those at the peak
of religious development never completely lose sight of the elemental,
physical fear and security which follow upon divine punishment and reward.
These are the "background to religious life, without which no matter of
religiosity can exist" ("U-vikkashtem Mi-sham," p.161). It seems to me
that Rav Soloveitchik's "revelational" doctrine is more in touch with
human reality than Kant's idealistic philosophical doctrine.

2. SOCIOLOGY OF RELIGION: The assertion that Adam I's religious community
structurally parallels other Adam I communities constitutes a foundation
of modern sociology of religion. This discipline examines religion as a
social phenomenon and finds it similar to other social groupings. See,
for example, the pioneering work of Peter L. Berger, The Sacred Canopy
(NY, 1967), especially chapters 6 and 7, as well as Berger's subsequent
works on this subject (such as The Heretical Imperative). Note that the
publication of "The Lonely Man of Faith" preceded that of The Sacred
Canopy by two years!

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Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 21:55:47 EDT
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
Tikun Leil Shavuos

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
> Speaking of which, look at the Aruch haShulchan on Tikun Leil Shavu'os.
> The minhag apparantly wasn't in the Litvisher mainstream a mere 80 years
> ago. Nowadays, it's a given.

It is interesting to see that 'Tikkun leil Shavuos' (btw the name 'tikkun'
[or 'tiqqun' perhaps as R. SM might write it] tips one off that there
is Kabbalah involved) does not seem too popular among 'yeshivish'er' /
'litvish'er' circles nowadays - esp. in the younger generations. AFAIK
(at least most) talmidei Yeshivos (of the 'Litvish'er style) usually
go straight to learning Torah and skip Tikkun or, if they say some of
it, do it just briefly....I think saying Tikkun is more widespread in
hassidic circles....as is saying Tehillim......So maybe the litvish'er /
yeshivish mainstream is reverting / has now reverted to it's old practice
as in the Oruch hashulchan....

In general, I think that where the focus on Judaism is more intellectual
and less mimetic and 'Kabbalistic', things like saying Tikkun and
'saying Tehillim' are naturally not as popular as in other circles.....

The last few words can lead to another subject - which I think is worthy
of discussion as well......namely saying Tehillim in a rote manner
(often swiftly) vs. saying it thoughtful manner (e.g. saying it slowly,
having Kavannah for the pirush hamilos - or at least trying to, etc.) and
saying Tehillim vs. learning Torah and doing mitzvos.

I hope to post on the above tangent in the not too distant future.


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 23:12:58 -0400
From: Moshe Shulman <mshulman@ix.netcom.com>
Re: yiras Hashem/bringing Moshiach

From: Eric Simon <erics@radix.net>
>A few people have said that the main motivation for doing mitzvahs should
>be because HKBH said so, and not because doing Mitzvahs help bring Moshiach.
>I, frankly, don't see the distinction very well.
>Some folks are moved more by yiras HaShem, others by ahavas HaShem.  Might
>there be a bit of an analogy here?

One may be 'moved' by one or the other, but one cannot say I will just have 
one and not the other, as BOTH are required.

>So, if now, doesn't the idea of: "if we do this we will hasten the coming
>of Moshiach" provide a good, and proper, motivation?

It is not, since it is 'doing a mitzvah in order to receive a reward'.

moshe shulman mshulman@NOSPAMix.netcom.com    718-436-7705
CHASSIDUS.NET - Yoshav Rosh       http://www.chassidus.net
Chassidus shiur:                  chassidus-subscribe@chassidus.net
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