Avodah: Volume 7, Number 93

Monday, August 27 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
  1. Re: minhag and majority
  2. yotzer ohr uvorei choshech oseh sholom uvorei es hakol
  3. science and tradition
  4. Re: Kant
  5. Re: science and tradition
  6. Re: Minhag was Re: The SR's views on yishuv EYQ
  7. Re: Minhag was Re: The SR's views on yishuv EYQ
  8. Re: Minhag was Re: The SR's views on yishuv EYQ
  9. Re: shiva d'nechemoso

Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 15:49:31 EDT
From: RabbiRichWol...@aol.com
Subject:
Re: minhag and majority


In a message dated 8/24/2001 10:10:16am EDT, tur...@icase.edu writes:
> For example, can anyone explain why Ashkenazi psak is like the Rama and
> not the Levush. After all the Levush is later and so we should pasken
> ke-basrai. ...
> The answer is that for whatever reasons one can give, the facts are
> that certain poskim were accepted by klal yisrael and others fell
> into disuse. How people on this list have ever looked up a Levush?

From what I know from history classes, the Levush did temporarily supercede 
the Rema until the nos'ei keilim on the SA restored the primacy of the Rema 
and eventually helpt to invest the SA with virtually a cannonized status.

AISI - this pattern of give and take is typcial as the matters are still in 
flux.  

Notes:
1) AIUI the Levush was pretty close to the Rema.
2) One of the big objections I have heard re: the Levush is that he
innovated a lot.
3) The Rema typcially follows Maharil, R. Yaakov Weil v'sayossom almost
all the time. IOW, - like Rashi on Chumash - the Rema is mostly digesting
earlier sources.
4) Because the Rema relies heavily upon sources, he doesn't have to be as
"big" a gadol as the BY to argue with him. This may leave the Levush in
a precarious position - iow if you begin innovating how can you challenge
the Mechaber?
5) Now this leaves me with the difficulty of how did Ben Ish Chai {BIC}
supercede the Bet Yoseph? BIC frequently changes Minhag against BY based
upon the Zohar. This troubles me because the BY lich'ora was a master
Kabbalist and probably new Zohar very well himself. Lich'ora Sephardim
are less-MInhag centric than are Ashkenazim
6) Which is probably why the challenges to Standard Ashkanzic Mesroah
were probably also induced by influence from the Zohar. IOW, both the
Gra and the Ba'al haTanya introduced Sephardic-leaning innovations -
based upon the Zohar - into Ashkenaz. BIC probably did similarly in Bagdad

PS: <<Similalry most people pasken like Mishnah berura against Arukh
haShulchan.>>

The MB has become a standard text. Acctually the AH followed the MB and
was considered the more authoritative Poseik in his time and for a time
beyond. As is often the case, the more popular learning text becomes the
more normative psak text over time. Eventually, one text takes over as
primary, in this case it seems the MB won the verdict of history over
the AH.

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


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Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 19:16:04 EDT
From: Phyllos...@aol.com
Subject:
yotzer ohr uvorei choshech oseh sholom uvorei es hakol


<<Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 11:23:00 -0400
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Subject: uVorei es hakol

In the past, I suggested that the parallel in the pasuk:
    yotzeir or, uvorei choshech
    oseh shalom, uvorei es hara
... indicates that "ra" is the absence of shalom, just as or is the absence
of or. Since there are a number of places, such as makas choshech, in which
choshech is treated as a beryah, not an absence, I chouldn't make that strong
of a case for it.

This morning I caught myself saying "yatzar es ha'adam bichachmah uvara
vo nekavim..." And I realized it was an example where "bara" is used for
the creation of a hole, an absence. Which might be a point in favor of
my peshat in Yeshaiah.

(I also wonder if the navi was specifically addressing Zoroastran dualism
when he denies that there is one god of light/good and one of dark/evil.)

- -mi>>

I just read Rav Schwab on this part of davening (Rav Schwab on Prayer - 
Artscroll - starting on p.259).

You were basically mechavein to him re Zoroastrianism.

He also addresses creation of choshech, as well as other matters, very 
interestingly....

Ayin shom ba'arichus.


Mordechai


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Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2001 18:01:46 -0400
From: Isaac A Zlochower <zloch...@bellatlantic.net>
Subject:
science and tradition


While the areas of conflict between modern science and traditional
teachings may not be as great as some would imagine, neither can they be
minimized as some recent postings would suggest.   The recent news about
a supposed change in the value of a fundamental constant (the
fine-structure constant, alpha) over what it was 12 billion years ago
should be taken with a "grain of salt".  Some scientists are prone to
jump to radical conclusions that are not warranted by a careful
evaluation of their data, and which ultimately turn out to be
baseless.   It is, therefore, premature - to say the least to sieze on
this news item as a basis for positing that the earth and the universe
are much younger than what scientists have claimed based on rates of
radioactive decay and inferred astronomical distances.

Another tack has been to posit that physicists no longer adhere to a
"belief" in causality.   Such a change in philosophy would, supposedly,
make the idea of miracles more scientifically "acceptable".   However,
causality still reigns in the continuing quest for truths about
"nature".   Cause and mechanism are still very much part of that quest -
even if limitations on our knowledge are freely acknowledged.   Micha
seems to be confusing microscopic reversibility wherein the fundamental
steps in a process may have forward and backward rates in time, but the
process as a whole is irreversible (e.g. the breaking of a glass).  It
matters little whether time in such processes enters in a unidirectional
fashion through entropy production or through the boundary conditions in
a differential equation that expresses the key elements in the process
(all equations in physics, I believe, can be expressed as differential
equations or equivalent to such equations with solutions that are
delimited by the appropriate boundary conditions).

In the literature attempting to reconcile the traditional creation story
with scientific findings one finds some unjustifiable arguments by
religious Jewish scientists.   One such writer, who is a practicing
physicist, had at one time, used an argument from Einstein's "special
relativity" theory to suggest that the "divine" reference frame was
sufficiently close to light speed relative to our "earthly" frame that
several billion years in our frame was equivalent to each of the 6 days
in the "divine" frame.   This totally ad-hoc and arbitrary argument was
then abandoned and his next book featured an argument from "general
relativity" theory.   The upshot of the "new" theory was that creation
day "one" took 8 billion years,  "day" 2 took 4 billion years, with each
successive "day" taking half the time of the previous one.   This "new"
theory, however, is on even weaker legs than the "old".  The old one was
arbitrary, but the new one is simply wrong - according to people
knowledgeable in general relativity theory.

In this continuing saga of conflicts between science and tradition, a
"tzarich iyun" is a proper approach rather than offering would-be
solutions that can not withstand critical scrutiny.

Yitzchok Zlochower


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Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2001 20:34:37 -0400
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Kant


On Thu, Aug 23, 2001 at 09:34:23AM -0400, Shalom Carmy wrote:
: > The Chaveir opens with a key point that philosophy is a necessary second
: > best for people (like the Greeks) who lack a mesorah....

: What is meant by doing without philosophy? If one means that people
: ordinarily don't feel the need to justify propositions that are obvious to
: them, and that philosophy is the attempt to provide such justification,
: then the Kuzari is not requiring everyone to philosophize...

Remember that to the Kuzari, "philosophy" meant the Greeks, Metukalemun
and scholastics. He could not address much of the positions you've been
citing in this discussion. As the word was used in his day, philosophy
was entirely about finding foundations amongst the first principles.

No?

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger                 The mind is a wonderful organ
mi...@aishdas.org            for justifying decisions
http://www.aishdas.org       the heart already reached.
Fax: (413) 403-9905          



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Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2001 23:38:38 EDT
From: RabbiRichWol...@aol.com
Subject:
Re: science and tradition


In a message dated 8/26/2001 8:49:50pm EDT, Yitzchok Zlochower
<zloch...@bellatlantic.net> writes:
> In this continuing saga of conflicts between science and tradition, a
> "tzarich iyun" is a proper approach rather than offering would-be
> solutions that can not withstand critical scrutiny.

Not necessarily.
Sometimes successive hypotheses yield better and better approximations
Lo alecha hamlacha ligmor.
The task of ameilim is to dig into the truth; True: not every hava
amina withstands scrutiny but attacking the process is really trhowing
out the baby with the bathwater. It took Edison 10,000 experiements to
yield one working model for an incadescnet light bulb. Simiarly, if it
takes thousands of hypothesis to yield a breakrhrouhg. we have to have
confidence that the process itself is valid.

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


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Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 12:11:37 -0400
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Minhag was Re: The SR's views on yishuv EYQ


On Fri, Aug 24, 2001 at 01:33:30PM -0400, RabbiRichWol...@aol.com wrote:
: RRW: Your are pre-supposing another psak was a valid alternative.
: My point is that it was rejected - kinda like Tefillin derabbeinu Tam.

: RMB: And that could have been a publisher's preference.

: RRW: This pre-suppposes that every Rav and Gadol were oblivious to what
: they were saying and too kno note of errors that crept in. Quite an
: implicit indictment of long-term massive negligence.

Not really. Hil Mamrim gives a Sanhedrin the power to overrule that of
centuries ago. Does this mean that everyone in between was guilty of
massive negligence? Or of merely not getting to every possible question,
and therefore what was done was simply continued until someone noticed
the difficulty? Your argument would mean that there ought be no chiddushim
left for our generation, since everything that could be found should have
been found by now.

: RMB You can't cite RYBS on the berachah for Hallel on Yom ha'Atzma'ut
: without noting that he also did away with the "amein" after that berachah
: whenever Hallel is said.

: RRW: Sure I can because your point is really irrelevant to my point
: about Mach'ah...

No, because no one is arguing that consensus and precedent carry no weight.
Again, saying that there are halachos that allow the changing of pesak
under certain circumstances isn't the C position that any pesak can be
changed. (And that it can be changed to accomodate; rather than corrected
for error.)

All you did was show that in one instance, RYBS felt that the criteria
to overturn minhag weren't met. But that's not what you cited it for;
you cited it to show that minhag -- nusach hatefillah, in this case --
can't be overturned.

Which is why when I said:
: RMB: RYBS clearly had some notion of the value of permanence of nusach,
: but it wasn't his only value in making these decisions. His nusach is
: /far/ from standard Litvish.

I did not mean what you claim:
: RRW: You mean "Clearly RYBS was eclectic and so far no one has pinned
: down RYBS so far." And I would add that is probably why RYBS avoided
: publishing.

No -- he believed in clearly defined halachos of when to go with
conventional nusach and when not. Since, as you note, as times he paskened
with preserving nusach, at times not; one would either have to argue
ch"v that he was inconsitant; or that RYBS had rules to distinguish when
yes, and when no. My ignorance of what the details of that position was
doesn't change the broader picture.

: RMB: In any case, it would be hard to argue that the earlier B"D's ruling
: is /less/ mutable than an earlier posek's pesak.

: Indeed this is a basic C thesis. That every turn and precedent in history
: Can be revisionastically revisited.

Yes, that is C position. What that has to do with what I wrote is beyond
me. What I said was that if the Rambam allows B"D's piskei halachah to
be overturned in cetain cases, then al achas kamah vikamah he'd have
cases where a poseik's can.

: The point is we do not have a Sanhedrin nowadays. The Halachic system
: is dependent upon building upon precedent...

And I would say that the system is dependent upon using the system to
build new halachos. Precedent is often part of that system; but then
again it isn't always.

You're not just pitting yourself against the Gra. You're also questioning
every Soloveitchik, the Besh"t (since Chassidim have minhagim and pesakim
that were cahnges from their previous positions), the ba'alei mussar (on
similar grounds), RSRH (who got flack from many on these grounds), etc...
Not to mention the example I already brought from Shulchan Aruch -- but
then mekubbalei Tzefas bichlal were ready to use sevara to rewrite pesak.

One is hard pressed to find that many of the last 3 centuries who /didn't/
overturn minhag yisrael with some regularity.

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger                     Time flies...
mi...@aishdas.org                        ... but you're the pilot.
http://www.aishdas.org                           - R' Zelig Pliskin
Fax: (413) 403-9905          



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Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 13:12:58 EDT
From: RabbiRichWol...@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Minhag was Re: The SR's views on yishuv EYQ


In a message dated 8/27/01 12:13:20pm EDT, mi...@aishdas.org writes:

RMB: << Not really. Hil Mamrim gives a Sanhedrin the power to overrule
that of centuries ago. Does this mean that everyone in between was
guilty of massive negligence? Or of merely not getting to every possible
question, and therefore what was done was simply continued until someone
noticed the difficulty?>>

<<Your argument would mean that there ought be no chiddushim left for
our generation, since everything that could be found should have been
found by now >>

RRW: That is an extrapolation of YOURS. I am NOT saying nothing was
overlooked, I am saying mistakes could not have NOT been noticed IN THE
LONG RUN.

RMB: << No, because no one is arguing that consensus and precedent carry
no weight. Again, saying that there are halachos that allow the changing
of pesak under certain circumstances isn't the C position that any pesak
can be changed. (And that it can be changed to accomodate; rather than
corrected for error.) >>

RRW: No. The Conservatives say the weight of precedent is in no
way binding which is your basic position, too. The CI I believe
posits the idea that a psak b' Taus is STILL binding once it has been
accepted. This is my point. We can theorectically note mistakes but not
revisionaistically correct - especially retroactively. An exception can
be made when the matter is still in flux.

RMB:<<: No -- RYBSe believed in clearly defined halachos of when to go
with conventional nusach and when not. Since, as you note, as times
he paskened with preserving nusach, at times not; one would either
have to argue ch"v that he was inconsitant; or that RYBS had rules to
distinguish when yes, and when no. My ignorance of what the details of
that position was doesn't change the broader picture. >>

RRW: You mean YOU somehow need to believe that RYBS was consistent
somehow even w/o a shred of evidence that this is the case. OTOH it
seems obvious to me that the one thing that RYBS was consistent was in
his right to avoid being pinned down! This is NOT an attack on RYBS,
I don't think he subscribed to consistency. Furthermore, RYBS was a
master of Lamdus, I do not know of RYBS as a master of psak halachah in
the global sense. Same can be said of Brisker Psak in general.


RMB: << You're not just pitting yourself against the Gra. You're
also questioning every Soloveitchik, the Besh"t (since Chassidim have
minhagim and pesakim that were cahnges from their previous positions),
the ba'alei mussar (on similar grounds), RSRH (who got flack from many
on these grounds), etc... Not to mention the example I already brought
from Shulchan Aruch - but then mekubbalei Tzefas bichlal were ready to
use sevara to rewrite pesak.>.

<< One is hard pressed to find that many of the last 3 centuries who
/didn't/ overturn minhag yisrael with some regularity.>>

RRW: That is essentially correct. Anytime someone uses Sevara to
overturn a Minhag or a Mesorah it is at least questionable. IMHO, they
have not exhausted the possible justifications for the current praxis
and therefore have a revisionistic agneda. I would say the AH generally
would concur with this approach.

Think of the Gra wrt to Tosafos and Mayim acharonim as an example. The
change of Nusach by Hassidim was IMHO a mistake. FWIW there are some
Viener and Oberlander Hassidim that refused to surrender Nusach Asheknaz.

The Gra and Hassidism had an agenda - both rejected elements of Ashkenzic
Mesorah in favor of Sephardic Meosrah. IMHOthis undermined the concept
of Minhag Avosieinu Beyadeinu. I cannot imagine ANY Sephardic Poseik of
that stature emending Sephardic Minhag to go in an Ashkenazic direction.
Therefore, I claim that the agenda of revising nusach and praxis iun
order to conform with Sephardic Kabllastic practice is "wrong." It might
behoove Ashkenazim to follow the esoteric practices of Hassidei Ashkenaz
instead - e.g. R. Yehudah Hachadis, etc.

I'm not sure how Hirsch or ba'alei Mussare overtunred psak or nusach.

Caveat 1: The converse side of my opinion is that davka in Hashkafah
and interpretation everyone has a right to see things as an individual
w/o regards to binding precedent. Yes there are some limits to this,
but not a lot. Ibn Ezra is an example of this. I don't think we are
BOUND by parshanus.

Caveat 2 : I don't have a big problem with an individual Ashkenazi who
wants to convert to become a Sephardi. My objection is the creeping
Sephardi'ism, i.e. revisionistically re-working Ashkenaz to assimilate
Sephardic Minhggaim and Nusach.

I am not the first to protest this. I suspect R. Schwab felt very strongly
about preserving Minhag Ashkenaz, too, just that he was just too big a
zaddik and Anav to take on the Gra or the Besht etc. at least by name

Shana Tova,
Rich Wolpoe
RabbiRichWol...@aol.com


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Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 14:00:55 -0400
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Subject:
Re: Minhag was Re: The SR's views on yishuv EYQ


On Mon, Aug 27, 2001 at 01:12:58PM -0400, RabbiRichWol...@aol.com wrote:
: RRW: That is an extrapolation of YOURS. I am NOT saying nothing was
: overlooked, I am saying mistakes could not have NOT been noticed IN THE
: LONG RUN.

Which means that they were unnoticed in the almost-as-long run. And
leshitascha, no one could end that run. It would only be within a generation
of a practice becoming minhag yisrael that anyone could claim the run isn't
all that long. In which case, the window for catching things and successfully
putting an end to them is tiny.

: RRW: No. The Conservatives say the weight of precedent is in no
: way binding which is your basic position, too...

My basic position is that there are a set of dinim about how to make din.
Precedent is one of them, but can be trumped. That's not to say that
precedent is weightless, or that normally it isn't binding. Again,
you're arguing that if I hold there are halachos that override minhag
yisrael, it's akin to holding that one doesn't even need those halachos
to override it.

: posits the idea that a psak b' Taus is STILL binding once it has been
: accepted. This is my point. We can theorectically note mistakes but not
: revisionaistically correct - especially retroactively. An exception can
: be made when the matter is still in flux.

But what's the makor for this assertion? Who allowed a minhag that was
found to be keneged halachah (not just pointless, but possibly assur) to
stand?

: master of Lamdus, I do not know of RYBS as a master of psak halachah in
: the global sense. Same can be said of Brisker Psak in general.

IOW, "I know how halachah works, and any gadol who disagrees wasn't a master
of pesak"? Please!

Note that this excludes Maran Bet Yosef, who also was willing to chuck
minhag yisrael when he thought it was based on derech emori. Did he too
not understand how pesak works?

: RRW: That is essentially correct. Anytime someone uses Sevara to
: overturn a Minhag or a Mesorah it is at least questionable. IMHO, they
: have not exhausted the possible justifications for the current praxis
: and therefore have a revisionistic agneda. I would say the AH generally
: would concur with this approach.

The A"H works to justify minhag yisra'el. He has that level of confidence
we were discussing was so common amongst Ashkenazi rishonim (outside
chassidei Ashkenaz). However, he too occasionally admits defeat --
and then overturns earlier p'sak! The fact that R' Haym Soloveitchik
notes them in his footnote in "Rupture and Reconstruction" as exceptions
doesn't change the fact that when the SA finally did reach this exception
he DID change pesak from what was noheig.

: The Gra and Hassidism had an agenda - both rejected elements of Ashkenzic
: Mesorah in favor of Sephardic Meosrah....

Lima'aseh that's what happened. But that wasn't the agenda. The agenda was
to find a better way to the shalhevesyah by following a variant of halachah
that better fit their hashkafah and seichel. Since one can only work within
the eilu va'eilu, some of their piskei halachah will be aligned with
Ashkenaz, others with Sepharad. However, it would only be the latter that
end up recognized as "changes".

: Therefore, I claim that the agenda of revising nusach and praxis iun
: order to conform with Sephardic Kabllastic practice is "wrong." It might
: behoove Ashkenazim to follow the esoteric practices of Hassidei Ashkenaz
: instead - e.g. R. Yehudah Hachadis, etc.

Does this mean you don't take care about the pattern or number of times you
wash your hands for neigl vassr and hamotzi?

-mi

-- 
Micha Berger                     Time flies...
mi...@aishdas.org                        ... but you're the pilot.
http://www.aishdas.org                           - R' Zelig Pliskin
Fax: (413) 403-9905          



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Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 16:21:51 -0400
From: MPopp...@kayescholer.com
Subject:
Re: shiva d'nechemoso


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

Actually, that was Rabbi EMTeitz responding [privately].

That day, neither you nor I had immediate access to MB, but I did look
Siman 144 up in a SA OC Mr. JBerman keeps in his office here at Kaye
Scholer and reported that MB was likely repeating what TaZ 144:3 mentioned
(a theory subsequently confirmed).

In Avodah V7 #91, GDubin replies: < 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, ...>

Actually, it's RMA noting (as is his wont in his SA commentary :-))
OC 425 and 428.

< 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. >

I don't think so. The source in OC 425 is noted as T'rumas Hadeshen,
the same source (via the BY's commentary on Tur) noted by TaZ 144:3.

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ


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