Avodah Mailing List

Volume 07 : Number 091

Thursday, August 23 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2001 23:52:45 -0400
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Re: knowledge and proof

My recent post may have given the impression that I do not feel HaShem's
presence and reality in my life. I do, and I'd like to give some examples.

Tefila is a very important part of my life, but I usually see it as
a one-way communication from me to HaShem. With enough kavana, I can
sometimes reach the level of "hitpalel" -- the reflexive form of the verb,
in which I realize that the purpose of tefilah is *not* to speak to the
One Who already knows all my thoughts, but rather to impress upon *myself*
how dependent I am on Him.

A knowledge of HaShem's existence is a prerequisite for this procedure
to work; my point in the previous post was that I don't see how this
procedure can enhance that knowledge. To "experience HaShem's presence",
there must be something which flows from Him to us. I wrote that this
can happen only from nevuah, but that might have been too severe. It can
happen in other ways too, which can be generalized as seeing the fruits
of our observance.

For example, I noticed many years ago that, on average, I seemed to spend
less time waiting for the bus if I had a sefer along that I was learning
from, and the annoyingly long waits tended to be on those occasions when
I did not bother to take a sefer along. Similarly, I see some days when
things appears to go very well because of some mitzvos that I've done,
and other days when I falter and my mazel seems to go with it. This
is HaShem talking to us. And to a lesser degree, my gratitude for the
forced relaxation of Shabbos, reminds me of how wise He and His mitzvos
are. Mah gadlu maasecha HaShem! M'od amku machsh'vosecha! But still,
appreciation and thanks seem to fall short of what some people describe
as "experiencing HaShem", and that is why I singled out Nevuah as the
only means of experiencing Him.

R' Micha Berger has introduced me to a great phrase: "cognitive
consonance". This is a great description of a phenomenon that I've
mentioned in the past. In my post yesterday, I mentioned that <<< in
order to preserve Bechira Chofshis ... those who get close [to HaShem]
through logical analyses may come across holes in that logic. I have not
yet met a logical "proof" that *didn't* have holes in it. >>> Indeed,
over the years, I have come up with many seemingly-unanswerable questions
which might have threatened my emunah. However, I have persisted in
researching these questions, and have found answers to many of them. So
many, in fact, that I am now convinced -- via cognitive consonance,
thank you -- that my remaining questions do have answers of their own.

I now thank HaShem for opening my eyes to so much of His Torah that
even when new questions arise, I no longer fear that the might weaken
me. Of course, Pirkei Avos warns us never to trust oneself, so I do tread
carefully in such waters. But where others gain strength from HaShem in
other ways, I feel His presence when I learn His Torah and come to new
and deeper understanding of His world thereby.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 09:30:48 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
organ donation

Is anyone aware of any halachik literature on the permissibility/
requirement of live organ donation(eg donating a single kidney)?


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Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 13:35:00 EDT
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Minhag was Re: The SR's views on yishuv EYQ

On Fri, Aug 17, 2001 at 02:25:08PM -0400, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
>: The pre-supposition that a Minhag has validity is paritally based upon the 
>: fact that many rabbonim and Talmidei Chachamim...

Nope. IF a minhag Taus creeps in it is up to Gedolim to protest.  See R. 
Yechiel of Paris re: Kitniyos for an example of same.  Silence may me 
construed as approval 

In a message dated 8/21/2001 10:06:04am EDT, micha@aishdas.org writes:
> ...
> I only brought in Schechter's theory as a point of contrast, to show
> the need for there to be a guideline by which to define "mistake",
> obvious or otherwise. Please do not confuse my use of ad absurdum
> to mean that I think that all mistakes are obvious. One example that
> I brought, kapparos, involves a machlokes about whether or not it is
> a mistake.
> To give another example I've used here in the past, the Gra considers
> saying "moshav yeqaro" in Aleinu to be a mistake. (He holds that it is
> only mutar to use anthropomorphications that appear in Tanach.)

RRW: quick version

RYBS learned about Zionism from History
Here is wht I learned from history
A) Shabtai Zvi: Do not trust charismatic figures when they come to change
Judaic practice (theory is IMHO different.) Halacha should be more or
less OBEJCTIVE not SUBJECTIVE This is similar in concept to why a Navi
cannot add nor subtract to mitzvos although he can give all the mussar
and Hahskafah he needs to say

B) Reform: Do not be swayed by Svara to overturn Mesorah - otherwise
you are on the slippery slope. IOW what is NOT subject to change?

This is why - WADR - I totally disagree the Gra. The fact is that the
nusach was used by gedolim for a number of generations ipmlies that
they all argued with this Gra. And you cannot expect a Gadol to have
written a Teshuva to the effect of: Do you know our nusach is correct!"
Nobody ratifies agreement by agreeing with the Nusach already in print-
unless perhaps the issue comes up as a sh'eilah.

So of course the ONLY literature that evolves are those that make a
protest. And then you have to factor in time.

So when RYBS protests a Bracha in Hallel when it first happens then
you have a classic case of mach'ah. And had RYBS allowed Hallel with a
bracha and then klal Yisrael or all of Ashkenaz had been saying Hallel
with a Brachah for 500 years it's simply too late to reverse course.
Otherwise you hold that Sevara can ALWAYS undo precedent. (see above)

As far as Moshav Yekaro goes, I heard the problem is that the gmatria of
"Yekaro" is the same as of Yeshu.

Shana Tovah
Rich Wolpoe
Moderator - TorahInsight@yahoogroups.com
"Knowledge without Insight is like a horse in a library" - Vernon Howard    

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Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 17:32:06 -0400
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
shiva d'nechemoso

On Tue, 21 Aug 2001 13:32:49 -0400 Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
<<The source for a difference between klaf and print with regard to
Haftoros can be found in MB 144:10>>

True, the MB there explains that in spite of the issur, the reason for
the minhag to add the first/last pesukim of machar chodesh is that bound
sefarim are different. However, he refers us to O"Ch 425 and MB there,
and in the process (I believe it's 144:12 or 13) is soseim that our
minhag is not to skip from navi to navi at all. The implication is even
for bound sefarim.


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Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 17:43:44 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Origin of "besha'ah tovah umutzlachas"?

Does anyone know the makor for saying "besha'ah tovah umutzlachas"?
Someone just asked the soc.culture.jewish FAQ team, and they relayed
the question to me. I was stumped.


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Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 13:46:58 EDT
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: knowledge and proof

In a message dated 8/22/2001 9:48:32am EDT, kennethgmiller@juno.com writes:
> In my high school years, I was never aware of any "longing or yearning"
> for a connection with a Higher Power. I *was* aware of many contradictions
> between the Judaism as practiced by my family and the Judaism that I
> was taught at the Shabbatons and TLS Seminars run by YU's Youth Bureau.

But didn't you notice that OTHERS did not seem bothered by these
contradictions. Did you really see yourself as the only analytical mind
around, or were you called by a deep-seated longing that communicated
you via reasoning.

90% of all human thought is emotional thought
The other 10% is emotional thought masquerading as rational! <smile>

Illustration: A writer of human-potential articles interviewed the
two sons of an alcoholic. One was another alcoholic and the other was
a very successful businessman. Each son was asked: "What made you the
way you are?"

The Alcoholic son: " My dad was a drunk - what do you expect from me?
<minhag avosom beyadam!>"

The Successful son: "My Dad was a drunk - I HAD to make something out
of my life!" <a rebel - similar in a way Avraham rebelled against Terach>

Psychologists talk about stimulus and response, and as you can see BOTH
respondents above THOUGHT they were doing the reasonable thing.

One son saw his father as a heter for him to lead a life of debauchery.
The other son saw his father as an object lesson of why NOT to lead
anything less than an actualized life.

R. Akiva, YOU chose at some level to be bothered by contradictions and
to act on that impulse. You might think this was reasonable yet we know
it was NOT normal in the meaning of "socially normal" - because very
few people choose that route.

Shana Tovah
Rich Wolpoe
Moderator - TorahInsight@yahoogroups.com
"Knowledge without Insight is like a horse in a library" - Vernon Howard    

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Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 12:26:13 -0400
From: "David Glasner" <DGLASNER@ftc.gov>
Re: Dor Revi'i on democracy vs. monarchy

To be posted soon on the Dor Revi'i website www.dorrevii.org

Shoftim v'shotrim titein l'kha b'khol sh'arekha... v'shaftu et ha-am
mishpat tzedek:

Rashi comments:
    appoint judges who are expert and righteous to render righteous

Rashi meant by this that here Moshe was not commanding the judges to
render righteous judgment but rather was commanding those who would
select the judges to choose righteous and upright judges who could be
expected to judge righteously. And his comment was appropriate, because
immediately afterwards Moshe says to the judges, "you shall not pervert
justice, you shall not show partiality, and you shall not take a bribe"
(lo tateh mishpat, lo takiru panim, v'lo tiqah shohad). However, the
question arises: Why did Moshe not mention the judges here at all? Who
should they be and what qualifications should they have? He should have
said: "appoint for yourselves righteous and upright judges." And then
it would have been appropriate to add "and they will render righteous
judgment." Why did he leave this implicit rather than state it explicitly?

But it appeared to our master to explain that precisely by saying that
they should appoint judges and officers, Moshe was assuring them that
the judges would render righteous judgment, because in saying "judges"
he meant to say "but not a king." The topic of a king is mentioned only
afterwards when Moshe says (Deuteronomy 17:14): "And you will say ĦI
set a king over me like all the nations round about me,'" which shows
that the Eternal did not want this. And Shmuel the Ramati also reacted
bitterly when they said to him "Give us a king," because a king would not
care about the will of the people and his heart would not be concerned
about them, but instead would do as he pleased. And who will say to him
"what are you doing?" Nor must a king follow the laws and statutes that
govern the state, rather he decrees right and left just as his heart
desires. Not so are the judges and officers who are appointed by the
citizens of the state! For they do not rule forever, and their reign is
not everlasting, but only for as long as the people wish them to. Nor
do their children inherit their positions as does the son of the king
who succeeds his father and is coronated with or without the consent of
the people. These judges are therefore obliged to render righteous and
upright judgments according to the laws of the state. And that is why a
judge and an officer are preferred by the Eternal to a king, a monarch,
and a sovereign. And this is why Moshe said "You shall appoint judges
and officers," but not a king. In doing so, you can be certain that they
will judge the nation righteously and, unlike a king, they will not do
what their hearts desire without protest.

Ki tavo... v'amarta asima alai melekh... som tasim alekha melekh asher
yivhar ha-Sheim Eloqekha bo mi-qerev ahekha tasum eilekha melekh lo
tukhal latet alekha ish nokhri:

See the Ramban who was at pains to explain why he admonishes "you may
not put a foreigner over you" after it says that the Eternal will choose
for himself the king. If so, the decision about who shall be king is in
the hand of G-d, and He will not choose a foreigner.

And it appeared to our master to explain that there was no definite
commandment from the Eternal to choose a king. It was only if the people
would demand a king and would say "I would put a king over me" that they
were permitted to institute a monarchy. And the reason that the Eternal
did not choose a king, but only judges and officers, is that, as we wrote
above, a judge stands under the rule of the people who chose him and by
virtue of whose authority he became the head. It is therefore incumbent
upon him to uphold righteousness and justice. However, a king chosen by
the Eternal is elevated above the entire people whom he commands. And
if so, he inevitably stands above the laws that are written in the
Torah and he need not decide in accordance with those laws, but may do
so according to his own discretion. For the king may break down fences
and no one may resist him.

So should the people become unruly and depart from a moral path and should
the judges lack the power to restrain them if they govern according
to the precepts of the Torah and justice and righteousness, because
the people will not be disciplined by these precepts, then it becomes
very urgent for them to install a king who will impose law and order to
discipline them sevenfold for their transgressions and will break every
upraised arm. He will be the one chosen by G-d to stand in the breach,
and his fear and his awe will be upon them, for he will show no pity
in meting out punishment and will do with them as he sees fit. But his
authority over the people will be upheld only if they believe that, having
been chosen by G-d to reign over them, he need not conduct himself with
them according to the Torah, whose ways are the ways of pleasantness.
For his selection by G-d has raised him above them so that he may do
with them as he pleases. They will consequently be too frightened of
him to disobey him, since he has the authority to discipline them with
cruelty and fury. This is the meaning of "you may indeed set over you
him whom the L-rd your G-d will choose" (som tasim alekha melekh asher
yivhar ha-Sheim Eloqekha bo) from which the Sages deduced:

    let fear of him be upon you. And how should it be upon you?
    Through your belief that the L-rd your G-d has chosen him.

This is in contrast to the judges about whom it says "you shall appoint
for yourself" (titein l'kha) because they were selected by the people
whereas the king was chosen by G-d by way of a prophet or the Urim and
Thummim. Therefore "som tasim" means that fear of him should be upon
you owing to your knowledge that the Eternal has chosen him, so that
his power and his sovereignty come from G-d and not from you.

Moshe then goes on to warn them not to say that we will not ask G-d
and His prophets to choose a king, but instead we will choose a king
from another nation of whom we will be very fearful, because he is a
foreigner (ish nokhri) who will administer punishment without pity. So
why do we need a king whom the Eternal will choose? Concerning such a
plan, Moshe says: "you may not do so, for one from among your brethren
you shall set as king."

Afterwards, Moshe gives a warning to the king and says (Deuteronomy
17:18): "and when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom" when his throne
is stabilized and his reign is very secure after having eliminated all the
evil-doers from the land, then he too should conduct himself uprightly
to do justice and righteousness and "he shall write for himself in a
book a copy of this law." And from there he should see what is written
in the Torah and act accordingly "and he may not turn aside from the
commandment either to the right hand or the left." For after he has
smitten the wicked with the rod of his mouth and restored peace to his
realm, he will no longer be obliged to act beyond the limits of the law
(hora'at sha'ah). v'havein.

David Glasner

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Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 18:46:13 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Origin of "besha'ah tovah umutzlachas"?

In a message dated 8/22/01 5:49:17pm EDT, micha@aishdas.org writes:
> Does anyone know the makor for saying "besha'ah tovah umutzlachas"?
no, but fwiw in searching the sh"ut literature it only appears in 20th
century responsa. IIRC correctly it or something like it appears in
tashlich - perhaps someone knows when that was composed


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Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 09:01:49 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@blaze.net.au>
: Re: Mitzvat yishuv Eretz Yisrael and sinners

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
> But we do say "mitzvah haba'ah ba'aveirah". And ought one make a berachah
> if one succombs to a ta'avah for lobster?

> Couldn't one argue that aliyah by on avaryan is similar?

That is how I understand the view of the VM.


[Baruch shekivanti. -mi]

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Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 10:08:10 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@blaze.net.au>
The Satmar Rebbe & Yochid Verabim Halocho Kerabim

From: Eli Turkel <turkel@icase.edu>
>>      I assume he meant that within the realm of "eilu ve'eilu", halachah
>> is determined by consensus of the kelal. A minhag ta'us doesn't become
>> non-ta'us just because it became popular.

> Let us please remember we were discussing the viewpoint of SR versus
> that of Agudas Yisrael and certainly RAK or even more R. Zvi Yehudah
> Kook. We were not discussing minhag taus or reform Jewry.

The SR claimed to have thoroughly been mevarer these halochos in the VM.
Whilst I acknowledge that there were many gedolim who disagreed
with some of his conclusions, AFAIK these have never been refuted.

> I again insist, independent of the present discussion, that bottom
> line most halacha is based on practice and what is accepted.

Was the heter mechira accepted by the majority? And if so,
what happened?

I also remember the times when the Mizrachi had 10 or 12 members in the
knesset compared to the Aguda's 5-6. Even after adding another couple
or so mandates from the EH etc - you have - leshitos'cho turned the
Mizrachi, their rabonim, and the Israeli chief rabbinate into the poskim
of Klall Yisroel!

Somehow this never happened.

BTW in VM the SR discusses the topic of 'Ach'rei Rabim Lehatos"
several times.

He even brings a vertel explaining "Yochid Verabim Halocho Kerabim".

He asks, why does it say  >Yochid<  Verabim?
After all even if it is against another Rabim - but one which is not as
numerous as them, the Halocho is like them ?
The wording should therefore be "Mu'et Verabim - Halocho Kerabim"!?

And, bichlall, why not simply say "Halocho Kerabim" - without the prior
"Yochid Verabim"?

He answers that maybe Chazal are telling us that only when the 'Yochid' -
Yechido shel Olom  - is with the Rabim - then the Halocho is with the
(See VM pgs. 55-6)


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Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001 14:24:34 -0400
From: NISHMA <nishma@interlog.com>
Insight 5760-40: Conforming to Community

[I was going to share this with the chevrah even before seeing the
previous post. In light of RSBA's queries, it seems even more appropriate.

Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 12:13 codifies the basic
law of lo titgodadu [1] which forbids one from inflicting a wound upon
oneself in response to a death or in service of idolatry. [2] He then
continues, in halacha 12:14, to add that included in this command is
the prohibition for two batei dinim, Jewish courts, in one city to
act according to differing customs. [3] We should not form different
groupings but rather should present ourselves as one entity with
conformity in action.

The source for this law, T.B. Yevamot 13b, 14a, actually presents
a difference of opinion between Abaye and Rava in regard to this
command. Abaye states the law as Rambam codified it; it is forbidden for
two courts within one city to rule according to differing opinions. Rava,
however, states that the law only applies within one court. Two different
courts, even within one city, may present opposing rulings. Within one
court, however, the judges must maintain a consistency and rule pursuant
to one opinion. Kesef Mishna and Lechem Mishna are both bothered by the
fact that Rambam rules in accordance with the view of Abaye as the general
principle is to follow the opinion of Rava. While these two commentators
both present technical answers to this question, the real difficulty is
the presentation of Rava. Abaye's opinion not only seems to be easy to
comprehend but is consistent with what seems to be the concern of the
gemara. Rava's opinion, however, seems most difficult to understand.

The gemara [4] raises a problem with the law that instructs distinct
groups within the Jewish community to read Megillat Esther on different
days. As Rashi, d.h. lo ta'asu explains, this gives the impression
that there are 'two Torahs'. A uniformity in Torah practice should be
maintained in order to present consistency and unity. The final conclusion
of Abaye is that this is only necessary within one geographic entity;
differences between cities do not present a problem as conflict and
variance is never actually seen. [5] The answer of Rava does not seem
to alleviate this problem. A theoretical, perceived presentation of
'two Torahs' is still possible if two courts within one city present
alternative rulings.

Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzva 467 quotes Rambam's opinion but also states
that his teacher [6] followed the opinion of Rava. Interestingly, in
explaining this command, the Chinuch stresses that the concern is the
promotion of machloket, arguments. Maintaining a disagreement maintains
an atmosphere of strife; thus it is important that a uniform position
be reached. Fundamentally, it may be that the disagreement between Rava
and Abaye centres upon one's understanding of the underlying purpose
of the command. To Abaye, the concern is a perception of 'two Torahs';
To Rava, the concern is preventing an atmosphere of strife. [7]

Rava's position still demands study. Would not two courts within one city,
each following their own customs, also contribute to an atmosphere of
machloket? At issue may be our understanding of community. While great
allowance for personal halachic autonomy is given to scholars, [8] we
must recognize that Jews do not practice Torah simply as individuals
but also follow Torah as part of a community. The beit din, thus, is
not simply an institution for dispute resolution but also sets the basic
tone for the structure of a society. The existence of two Jewish courts
within a city reflects a reality of two separate communal structures
and atmospheres. Rava seems to be maintaining that, while there may be
a machloket between two communal structures, a disagreement on this
level does not pose a problem. The overall community of Israel can
include differing community entities and, in fact, halachic tolerance of
differences is demanded. Klal Yisrael, as a community of communities,
may, in fact, achieve a greater richness and meaning in the diversity
of its elemental communities. Yet, within one beit din, one societal
structure, machloket with its promotion of strife cannot be tolerated
Within the one community, there must be conformity.

When individuals within one community disagree to the point of maintaining
machloket, the very nature of community is lost. All that exists are
individuals or groups of individuals. [9] The community represents
an entity beyond the individual. In the community imposition on the
individual, we encounter an entity that has its own being and a life-force
that is able to foster the highest ideals of the human condition. [10]
Strife on this level, if it is maintained at the expense of the essential
communal nature, is destructive. Machloket, if it tears at the essential
bond of the elemental community, is, simply, forbidden.

Rabbi Benjamin Hecht


1) Devarim 14:1.

2) See also Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvot, Lo Taseh 45.

3) How two seemingly unconnected laws are derived from the same source
is an obvious matter for discussion. One issue is whether this latter
derivation is indeed part of the honest Biblical analysis of the text
or whether it is a simple drasha, signaling that this law is essentially
Rabbinic in nature. See, further, Torah Temima, Devarim 14:1, note 4

4) See, also, Mishna Megilla 1:1. In modern days, this is most indicated
by the distinction between Purim on the 14th of Adar, and Shushan Purim
on the 15th. While most places celebrate the former, Jerusalem, being
a walled city from the time of Joshua, celebrates the latter.

5) In regard to the Megilla, Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Megilla
v'Chanuka 1:6 maintains that the readings on different days will all
occur in alternate areas. See, also, Tosfot, Yevamot 14a, d.h. ki amrinun.

6) Either Rashba or Ramban - see, further, Rabbi Charles Wengrov,
Translator's Preface, (English-Hebrew) Sefer HaChinnuch, vol.2. The
matter is, ultimately, dependent upon a determination of the identity
of the author of the Chinuch.

7) Subsequent to developing this idea, I saw in the Notes to the Mossad
HaRav Kuk edition of Chiddushei HaRitva, Yevamot 14a that Avnei Nezer
428:3 presents a similar idea.There is a limitation, however, in this
theory, at least as it applies to Rambam, in that Rambam presents,
as the reason underlying the commandment, the concern for machloket.

8) Ritva, Yevamot 14a writes, in fact, that the law of lo titgodadu does
not apply to scholars following their own determined positions but only
to those who are choosing between the opinions of scholars.

9) Of course, if these individuals form a new, distinct community,
the problem of strife within the community is also alleviated. It is
not always necessarily correct to try and maintain one community when
honest divergence amongst individuals call for the creation of different

10) This is not to say that all communities are good and that there are
no occasions where the individual must separate from a negative community

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Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 17:29:10 -0400
From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@juno.com>
re: minhag

Re your comment that "the Gra considers saying 'moshav yeqaro'
in Aleinu to be a mistake. (He holds that it is only mutar to use
anthropomorphications that appear in Tanach.)," as has already been
pointed out, the reason usually given is the gematria of "y'karo."
As for anthropomorphism, why is "moshav y'karo" any different from
"yoshev al kise rom v'nisa"? For that matter, how does it differ from
the Gra's nusach, "v'chisei chvodo"? After all, "Hashomayim kis'i" does
not refer to a seat in Heaven, but to the heaven itself being the seat
(which is the reason given for substituting our nusach for that of the
Tur and the Gra in the first place).


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Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 17:39:45 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: minhag

On Wed, Aug 22, 2001 at 05:29:10PM -0400, Elazar M Teitz wrote:
: Re your comment that "the Gra considers saying 'moshav yeqaro' in Aleinu
: to be a mistake. (He holds that it is only mutar to use
: anthropomorphications that appear in Tanach.)," as has already been
: pointed out, the reason usually given is the gematria of "y'karo."  As
: for anthropomorphism, why is "moshav y'karo" any different from "yoshev
: al kise rom v'nisa"? ...

Because "ki yad H' al keis kah", as well the ma'aseh hamerkavah, as other
references, matir's speaking of His "Kisei". There is no nevu'ah about H's

I do not follow your point about "hashamayim kis'i". Every
anthropomorphication has a nimshal; why is it significant that there
it's a simile instead of a metaphor?

As has already been pointed out in that same discussion, the explanation
of the Gra's minhag that I gave I heard directly from the Rav. I might
be mistaken, and this was the Rav's own 2nd reason for the minhag, but I
do not remember it that way.


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 22:55:00 +0000
From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@juno.com>
Re: minhag

On Wed, 22 Aug 2001 17:39:45 -0400 Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
> Because "ki yad H' al keis kah", as well the ma'aseh hamerkavah, as other
> references, matir's speaking of His "Kisei". There is no nevu'ah about H's
> "Moshav".
It seems to me that the anthropomorphism is the attribution of the act
of sitting to HKBH; the name given to the seat, be it kisei or moshav,
is not. Furthermore, "moshav" is not necessarily an object. It can be
understood as "the site of his sitting," and we do, of course, find
references in Tanach to Hashem's sitting.

As for "moshav" not appearing in a n'vuah, what about "ivah l'moshav lo"?
Granted, there it is not in the sense of a seat, but, as above, neither
need "mosha y'karo" be so understood.

> I do not follow your point about "hashamayim kis'i". Every
> anthropomorphication has a nimshal; why is it significant that 
> there it's a simile instead of a metaphor?

The argument isn't mine; it's the Bach's, in justification for preferring
moshav y'karo to kise ch'vodo.


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Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 10:03:47 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Kant, Kuzari & Wittgenstein

On Tue, Aug 21, 2001 at 01:21:57PM -0400, I replied to R' Shalom Carmy:
:: One may accept the principle of causality (whatever that means) without
:: any direct experience of causality because without it science is
:: impossible.

: Actually, science is willing to throw causality out. All the equations
: work whether time is a positive or negative number. The "arrow of time"
: is usually attributed to entropy. IMHO, since entropy is a statement
: of the law of large numbers, this merely begs the question. I have my
: own theory on the subject, but I'm not sure it's on topic. (I'll take
: requests, though.)

Since I got a few requests, I'll give it a shot. I hope it's not
too far afield. IMHO, belief in causality touches on too many ikkarei
emunah to be ignored: hashgachah peratis, the role of hishtadlus,
bechirah (which implies that causality in physics can have gaps), etc..

Normally, the equations of physics are time symmetric. F=ma, E=1/2mv^2,
etc.. all work with positive or negative t. So how does time have a
direction? How is it so obvious that past is different than future?

The theory you hear batted around, e.g. by Roger Penrose or William
Davies, is that time's arrow is caused by entropy.

Entropy is the measure of disorder in a system. For example, an even
mixture of cold and hot molecules of gas has higher entropy than all
the hotter ones being on one side of the room, and all the colder ones
on the other. The reason why systems tend toward greater entropy is
because there are more possible microscopic states for a single higher
entropy macroscopic state than there are for a lower ones. Just as there
are more combination of coin tosses that have nearly equal numbers of
heads and of tails than the one possibility of all tails. So too there
are more combinations that have the hot molecules in both halves of
the room than all in the same half. In both cases, it's a lot of 50:50
randomizations. One therefore expects that given enough coin tosses,
about half of them will come up heads. And, given significant time and
plenty of molecules, the hot and cold gas will be equally represented
in both halves of the room.

Therefore if we had recordings of the room in both states: cold on
one side, hot on the other; vs. even temperature, we would know which
was earlier. It is theoretically possible that the order was really the
other way. All the equations describing the paths of the molecules would
be satisfied. It's just stupefyingly unlikely. Like throwing nearly all
heads in a billion coin tosses.

But saying that the direction of time is because of entropy begs the
question. It ends up boiling down to why the "coin toss" influences the
subsequent state of the coin and not the previous state.

Here's my proposal. Consider the following thought-experiment: Consider
two systems, a rock, and a river. In one case, I keep the two systems
separate. In another, I skip the rock across the water, so that for
a brief period of time (which I can make arbitrarily small) the two
interact as one larger system. The rock touching the surface of the
water leaves waves. Obviously, the waves are only /after/ the systems
interact. Our question is "why?"

The equations that describe waves are differential equations. They
describe how systems change, not how they are at any point in time.
To solve a differential equation you need to also give boundry
conditions. What I'm suggesting is that the moment of interaction
between two systems is a boundry condition for describing the future,
not the past, state of each system.

What makes this more powerful is that /every/ physical equation
involves derivatives. The classic F=ma is about acceleration, the rate
of change of velocity, which itself is the rate of change of a location.
So, while F=ma /looks/ like it's time symmetric, when you translate it
from an equation about acceleration to one about location, you need to
introduce a boundry condition and therefore time assymetry.

I think the question is therefore based on a false premise.

Now back to RCS's point and something more clearly on-topic.

:: Why does Rihal then assume that Christians and Moslems accept testimony of
:: mattan Torah? Why bring the number of people who stood at Sinai into the
:: picture? Why does he state explicitly that the relative privacy
:: characterizing Christian and Moslem claims to revelation weaken those
:: claims insofar as they conflict with Torah?

I was looking over the Kuzari cheilek aleph, and could not find a
place where he invokes the number of people in dor hamidbar as proof of
yetzi'as Mitzrayim or ma'amad har Sinai. It does appear as part of his
argument (par 44-52) that we have a better record of pre-Sinai events
than others. The Rihal has the king admit that the 500 years between the
Dor Hapelagah and Moshe wasn't enough time to invent legends about that
generation, and the writing of the Torah was berabbim, so the current
book must be the same as the original.


Micha Berger                 "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
micha@aishdas.org            excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org       'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (413) 403-9905          trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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