Avodah Mailing List

Volume 08 : Number 028

Thursday, October 25 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 09:38:18 -0700
From: "Eli Turkel" <Eli.Turkel@colorado.edu>
Re: neirot shbbat

> I mean that this was a way of taking pressure of new mother's by
> requiring them to add a candle whether or not they missed.
> Can't a leader of a community pasken how much money to spend on a
> Chasunah and other such social legislation? ...

> If you want to qquibble and call it a Takkanah instead of a Psak fine. =
> Then we can deal with all the nits as to why it is a Psak and not a =
> Takkanah. <smile>

Exactly, what I mean. I have no trouble with a takanah. However, if each
individual has a hidur mitzvah then I don't think a lo plug can extend
it beyond the original psak.

As I said in the original message if lo plug would work than everyone
would be required to do the same for nerot chanukah. Since it is a
takanah then chazal can do as they feel fit.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 11:40:45 -0400
From: "Lawrence Teitelman" <lteitelman@yahoo.com>
Arba Minim at Kotel

From: "Seth Mandel" <sethm37@hotmail.com>
> According to 1) or 2) or 3) there is no point whatsoever in going to
> the Kotel.

As some have previously suggested on the list, the main purpose generally
in visiting the Kotel is to be mit'abbel on the Hurban and pray for
the rebuilding of the Mikdash and Yerushalayim; thus we might conclude
that those congregated around the Kotel are mourners of sorts. Al derekh
ha-tzahut, perhaps going to the Kotel with arba minim during Sukkot is
a kiyyum of "kakh haya minhagan shel Anshei Yerushalayim: adam yotze
mibbeto velulavo beyado ... holekh ... lenahem avelim lulavo beyado ...."

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Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 11:40:02 -0500
From: yidubitsky@JTSA.EDU
limits of kedushah?

"Torah hi veli-lemod ani tsarikh" (R. Akiva at Ber. 62a)

One knows that one must go "mi-.huts la-ma.haneh " [Dev. 23:13-14;
but cf. Ibn Ezra] for certain physical purposes. From SA O.H. 85 we
know that when one is engaged in such activity all (?; cf. MA there [my
thanks to my brother for pointing me to this]) things kadosh are not to
be entertained. However, given the *Sefer ha-.Hinukh's* (cf. *.Hayei Adam*
1:4 and second *Bi'ur halakhah*) idea of 6 zekhirot re. HKBH that one must
have in mind constantly --– which, by definition, includes time spent in
"mi-.huts la-ma.haneh" activity -- onew wonders what, if any, the(se)
limits of kedushah are. If, after all, thoughts regarding ha-Kadosh
[some prefer: ha- Kodesh] Barukh Hu -- the very essence of holiness --
are allowed, why should anything else not be allowed? Also, Ravina and
R. Yohanan's seeming leniences at Ber 23a indicate (perhaps) not as
strict a taboo against "kedushah" as one would have thought.
To help me (and others?) figure out what are the parameters of kedushah
vis a vis the smallest room in the house, I ask for some halakhic
pointers to consider. I realize some of the following is probably
obvious and even counter-intuitive, but I am trying to determine what
the yiddishe intuition is regarding the issues. Specifically, can one
read the following in the smallest room in the house and why:

1) A Jewishly-printed English Tanakh. Since, as has been opined on this
forum, the English word "God" has no inherent kedushah (one assumes "Lord"
has less; and the other words even less) might merely reading it not be
as counter-sacred as one might have thought initially? Or is kedushah
related to the sentence, paragraph, etc., as opposed to individual words?

2) A Christian-printed Bible. Here, the Tanakh part has apparently no
kedushah as it was not printed with such in mind; some may argue that
(at times) such Bibles are even printed with the intention of leading
neshamot tehorot astray. But what about the Christian part? Since many
verses there are exact quotations or are based on pesukim from Tanakh,
does the possibility of *thinking* of those pesukim mean one should
not bring such a book into such a place? [Many years ago when I asked
a similar question of a gadol, the immediate response was "I'm not sure
why you should even *want* to ever read such a book." But let's assume
there are issues of da mah le-hashiv involved.] If not at such a time
and place, then when [i.e. otherwise bittul zeman issues...or does da
mah le-hashiv transform such reading into a devar mitsvah that one may
partake of at the expense of non-da mah le-hashiv Torah?]? Would the
question be any stronger if we are talking about a Hebrew translation of
the book?
Returning to the Tanakh part, there even though the words were *printed*
with less than kadosh intentions, the *meaning* and *significance* for
Yisrael kedoshim should mean the kedushah engendered [or is kedushah
only inherent and not engendered?] by reading this is the same as if it
was a Mosad ha-Rav Kuk or Artscroll publication.

3) A novel about traditional yidden, where it is certain some pesukim
and/or divre Hazal will be interspersed? Does the potential thought
incurred by such quotations mean one should not bring in/read such
books at such a time? Let's assume one does *not* think a Chaim Potok
or Naomi Ragen novel is assur ab initio, should one be wary of reading
such at such times? What if no such pasuk is there but the actions,
conversations etc of the characters leads one to think of the underlying
ma'amar Hazal/pasuk that inspires the character/author?
Forget about a novel: what about a biography of a gadol? [Le-tsa`ari, I
remember seeing an adam gadol leave the smallest room with the biography
of R.Y.Y. Weinberg in his hand. Say what you will about the book and
its success in capturing the gadlut of Rav Weinberg, I find it hard
to accept that there is not some shred of "true" Torah in the entire
book. (Besides, is it not a bizayon for a gadol?) And if so, why bring
it in? Of course, much depends on how broad you conceive of the concept
of Torah and kedushah...]

4) What about a newspaper (e.g. Jewish Press, Week, Jerusalem Post) which
contains, aside from news, serious divrei Torah? Can one justify reading
a news report at such a time, when some pages later the column is on the
parshat ha-shavua etc? If the answer is simply turn the page when one
reaches divrei Torah, why allow it to be brought in in the first place?

5) A novel completely unrelated to anything Jewish (or even religious)
but that, quite surprisingly, has a pasuk in the middle? When one comes
to such a passage, should one a) skip over it; b) read it, since --
after all -- it has no "inherent" kedushah, the thoughts bouncing
around your head notwithstanding or c) Does one not bring in anything
that simply requires *passive* absorption (i.e. *reading* material)
-- since it is possible you might passively absorb a davar kedushah --
and instead engage in only secular *activity* there, such as *writing*
a book on mathematics or geography, so that one does not allow time for
"holy" thought? (How many Vilna Gaons do you think there are?]

Bottom line: What is the nature of kedushah that one should be mar.hik
from when engaged in a less than holy endeavor? Is kedushah related to
an individual's thought (in which case, the same item might be OK for
some but not for others) or is it item-specific [in Brisk-ese, does it
relate to the gavra or heftsa]?

Bi-tefilah la-Asher yatsar Torah ve-hokhmah, kodesh va-.hol, tum'ah
she-nizkeh le-lu Yishmael yi.hyeh lefanekha be-shalom uve-shalvah,

Yisrael Dubitsky

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Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 00:54:39 +0800
From: stugold@juno.com
Re: Birchat Habanim - not Bakashat HaBanim

 From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
>>> If I may quickly get back to an earlier point, Gil Student wrote:
>>> Off the top of my head, here's a defense. Shabbos is not a time for
>>> bakashos.
>> In Avodah V8 #23, Joel Rich wrote:
>>> I believe the bakashos reason is brought down in the Yerushalmi.

>> I've privately asked, and am still waiting, for confirmation. One of
>> the members of this list couldn't find any such ma'amar in the TY...

IMHO, I repeat that Berachot are not Bakashot. There is a fundamental
difference between asking HKBH to do something, for yourself or for
another, versus standing up and using your "power" as a Hedyot to
bless someone else. Admittedly, nothing works without HKBH's help and
permission, but the format of beracha does not violate the Shabbat rule
against bakashot.

Stuart Goldstein 

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Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 20:11:07 EDT
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Lech Lecha - Questions and Anwwers

According to the very first Rashi, the "agenda": of the Book of Breishit
is to validate the claim of the descendants of Israel to the land of

The two covenants {Brit Bein haBetarim and Brit Milah} endorse Abaraham's 
claim to the land of Canaan. Furthermore, his travels and sojourns were a 
form of JNF acquistion <g>.

> 2) G-d promised 7 nations to Moses etc. How come Abraham is

G-d's covenant with Abraham was braoder than it was with Israel.  Israel 
inherited ONLY 7 of the 10 nations.  The other 3 were alloted to Lot's 
children - Ammon and Moab and Isaac's son Esau/Edom.  Perhaps Ishmael 
received no territory because of his nomadic tendencies... 

> 3) Throughout the Book of Breishit people are introduced by
> the phrase "Eileh Toldot" {these are the generations or
> offspring of} There is an "Eileh Toldot" for:
>    A) Noah
>    B) Noah's sons
>    C) Terah
>    D) Isaac
>    E) Jacob

"Eileh Toldot" introduces a "narrowing" or winnowing process.  E.G. when the 
Torah mentions Eileh Toldot Yitzchok Ishmael is rejected.  

Therefore stating Eileh Toldot Abraham would have implied a rejection of 
Haran and Nachor - i.e. Abraham' sbrothers


We still needed Haran's son Lot during Lech Lecha and we still need Nachor's 
grand-daugther Rivka in Chaye Sara.  So the narrowing process could only be 
limited to Terach at this point. Limiting it to Abraham would be overly 
exclusive at this point.

> 4) G-d makes a covenant of circusmcision with Abaraham.
> Ishmael at age 13 observes this procedure. How is Ishmael
> to be excluded from the land of Canaan based upon Lech

The title to the land of Israel was really given in the Brit bein Habetarim.  
In this covenant Abraham's descendants would become slaves. Only those who 
endured this slavery expereince were entitled to conquering the land 
following the Exodus. Other Abrahamic descendants were excluded.  Thus 
Edom/Esau and Ishmael do NOT have claims to this territory because they 
failed to fulfill the prerequisite conditions.

> 5) What historic parallels may be drawn between Abraham's
> sojourn in Egypt and the Israelite sojourn in Egypt several

A) Abraham and Jacob came down to Egypt due to a famine
B) They both had their family lives interrupted to an extent
C) Pharaoh was stricken in both cases before the Exodux

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

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Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 08:27:30 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Lech Lecha - Questions and Anwwers

On Wed, Oct 24, 2001 at 08:11:07PM -0400, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
: The title to the land of Israel was really given in the Brit bein Habetarim.  
: In this covenant Abraham's descendants would become slaves. Only those who 
: endured this slavery expereince were entitled to conquering the land 
: following the Exodus....

R' Yitz Etzshalom, of the Yeshiva of LA runs a weekly devar Torah list off
of Project Genesis. The past few weeks have been a response to document
hypothesis, particularly in light of the comments of another LA resident.
(Showing the structural unity of the two stories of ma'seh bereishis,

Interestingly, I found the following in this weeks discussion of "Vayirdof
ad Dan" <http://www.torah.org/advanced/mikra/5762/br/LekhLkha62.pdf>:


> As we pointed out in an earlier essa, the B’rit Bein haB’tarim of
> which we read this week is ambiguous on several fronts, including
> the timing of its fulfillment.

> Rabbi Yosef Soloveitchik, zt"l, offers this insight into Ya’akov’s
> sojourn in Aram:

> Avraham was promised that his
>     seed would be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and they
>     will be servants and oppressed for four hundred years. And the
>     nation which they serve will I judge, and after they will leave
>     with great possessions...and the fourth generation will return
>     here... (Beresheet 15:13-16)

> Upon examination of the terms of this promise, we find that
> they all fit with Ya'akov's exile in Aram. He was:

> 1) a stranger in a foreign land (Aram);

> 2) he was worked and oppressed for a long time (Beresheet 31:6-8;
> 38-41), which is Biblically expressed as four hundred years (see Sarna:
> Understanding Genesis, p. 83, note 17; even in the eventual realization
> of this promise, the four-hundred-years oppression was not realized);.

> 3) Ya'akov returned with great wealth, as can be seen from the gift he
> sent to Esav (Beresheet 32:14-15), and

> 4) the return of the fourth generation is eerily mirrored by Ya'akov's
> response to the birth of Yosef: And when Rachel gave birth to Yosef,
> Ya'akov said to Lavan: Send me, that I may go to my place and my
> land. (Beresheet 30:25) Ya'akov's reaction indicates that he thought that
> his mission in Aram was achieved with the birth of a son to Rachel, his
> beloved; and that son was the fourth generation to Avraham. Following
> Rabbi Solovetichik's explanation, Ya'akov would have thought that the
> exile / return condition of the covenant had been fulfilled; no further
> exile need occur.

> That being the case, it stands to reason that the children of
> Ya'akov, once they had returned to the Land, began dividing it
> up (once they reached maturity). In an earlier shiur, I supported
> this thesis by pointing to the brothers' shepherding of father
> Ya'akov's flock about 60 miles away from his home in Hevron,
> Re'uven's disappearance from the brothers during the discussions
> about Yoseph and Yehudah's development of business
> relations in Timnah (all of this is found in chapters 37-38 of
> B'resheet).

> Before going further, we can provide a clear and reasonable
> explanation to the enigmatic and troubling verse in Devarim
> (2:12):

>     Moreover, the Horim had formerly inhabited Se'ir, but the
>     descendants of Esav dispossessed them, destroying them and settling
>     in their place, as Yisra'el has done in the land that Hashem
>     gave them as a possession. (note the mention of Esav, Ya'akov 's
>     brother).

> This verse, like B'resheet 14:14, is one of those "banner-verses" with
> which the critics bolster their theory of late composition -- after all,
> how is Mosheh illustrating Esav's conquest of Se'ir by comparing it to
> an as-yet uncompleted conquest?

> The first conquest of the Land which G-d gave us was initiated not by
> Yisra'el the Nation -- but by Yisra'el the man (Ya'akov). During the life
> of Ya'akov, he and his children sbegan purchasing and/or conquering
> land in Eretz K'na'an in order to fulfill the promise given to their
> family. Moshe's illustration is indeed one from a familiar past --
> and is therefore instructive and enlightening.

> The brothers began dividing up the land -- and, at least in the case
> of Yehudah, they were settling into their future territory (Timnah,
> the location of Yehudah's interaction, is included among the cities of
> Yehudah [Yehoshua 15:57]). It stands to reason, then, that the brothers,
> knowing full well that G-d would eventually grant them (or their children)
> the land, divided it up along general lines.


> Before putting all of this information together, a quick look at Ya'akov's
> death-bed scenes (including the blessing to Yoseph in the presence
> of Menasheh and Ephraim) will give us an additional perspective on
> the argument.

> In blessing Yoseph, Ya'akov concludes with an odd phrase:
>     And I have given to you one above your brothers, which I took from
>     the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow. (48:22).

> However we may translate (the conventional understanding is "portion",
> referring to the extra portion given to Yoseph as the), the use of
> this word is a clear allusion to the city of -- which is not only to be
> Yoseph's burial site, but also sits right at the border of the territory
> of his two sons.

> In his blessing to Yehudah, Ya'akov states:
>     ...Binding his foal to the vine, and his ass's colt to the choice
>     vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood
>     of grapes; his eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with
>     milk. (49:11-12)

> In his blessing to Zevulun, Ya'akov says:
>     Zevulun shall live at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an
>     haven of ships; and his border shall be to Sidon. (v. 13)

> Regarding Asher, the blessing is:
>     Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal
>     dainties.(v. 20)

> These blessings refer to (at least by allusion) geographic areas.
> The finest area for vineyards in the Land is in the mountains of Hevron,
> in the middle of Yehudah's territory. Zevulun is given land by the
> sea and Asher is blessed with rich and royal produce, belonging to the
> northern coast.

> In sum, not only did the sons divide up the land, their father affirmed
> their division in his final words. [Regarding the "lottery" via which
> the land was divided, it is quite clear both from the relevant passages
> in Yehoshua and from the tradition of Haza"l that the purpose of the
> lottery was not to determine the location of each tribe's territory but to
> provide Divine affirmation for that apportionment. Cf. BT Bava Batra 122a]


> We now understand why Menasheh's son, born (2nd generation) in Egypt,
> named his first-born. Those beautiful mountains were always intended to
> be given to Yoseph's two sons; evidently they divided his broad territory
> while in Egypt and Menasheh received. This explains why names such as
> , and are given in the Menashite family -- and why Yissachar names a
> son. These were all ancient city-states that existed at the time of
> Ya'akov's years of fatherhood in the land -- places which were destined
> to belong to the respective tribe.

> We also understand the anomaly in Bamidbar 32, in which Re'uven and Gad
> approach and negotiate with Mosheh, who then gives them land along with
> half of Menasheh. That half of Menasheh was always destined to inherit
> that part of the land -- which extends deep into the Golan (see Bamidbar
> 34:11). They were given the land along with Re'uven and Gad because
> it was as a result of the wars with Sichon and Og that any of the East
> Bank became apportionable -- but, unlike the request of the two tribes,
> that half of Menasheh did not desire anything outside of the territory
> always intended for them.


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

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Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 00:35:38 -0400
From: David Hojda <dhojda1@juno.com>
Source for Kabbalah Nekabel

Where does the phrase [Im] Kabbalah [Who] Nekabel come from? Does it
originate with the ibn Ezra?

David Hojda

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Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 08:35:26 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Source for tov and Meitiv

While we are looking for meqoros, I recently posted (v8n20):
> Hashem created the world because it's the nature of a meitiv to want
> someone to recieve that tov. ...

Anyone know the original maqor for this idea?


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Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 08:42:15 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Birchas habonim

: <<IOW When Chazal cite an asmachta they are not necessarily saying the
: passuk created the imperative. Similarly when Poskim interpret a source
: in such a way as to suport a minhag it is not necessary to construe that
: this interpretation was actually the impreative for creating the minhag
: in the first place.>>

On Tue, Oct 23, 2001 at 05:23:22PM -0400, Stein, Aryeh E. wrote:
: (According to the Ritva, this view is kefira, while the Rambam, Ramban,
: Mabit and the Kuzari hold otherwise.)

Actually, even according to the Ritva, this view isn't kefirah. After
all, the Ritva also distinguishes between derashah and asmachta. In the
former case, the derashah creates a din di'oraisa. In the latter, the
asmachta suggests without mandating a potential dirabbanan or minhag,
if we want to follow it. (There is no requirement to believe that "this
interpretation was actually the *imperative* for creating the minhag"
[emph. added].)

The original motivation ("in the first place") of the minhag could be
XYZ, and it is then only validated by finding that HQBH "Thought" it
was a good idea too.


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

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Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 21:12:50 +0200
From: "Shlomoh Taitelbaum" <sjtait@surfree.net.il>

RSM: <He fails to mention something that R. Herzog noted: that Binyamin
of Tudela said that there was a purple dye industry producing royal
purple operating in Tyre when he visited during his travels.>

Actually, that's not what R. Binyamin recorded (may I add that this is
the only place I remember R. Herzog misquoting). He says that in Tyre
grows "Sucra" which apparently R. Herzog mistook for the Aramaic word for
red (sqr). But they plant this sucra, which is nothing but what we call
"sugar." However he also records that when he travelled through "Lathibas
(?)" (two days travel from Corinth in Greece) he found there the top
experts in silk and purple (argaman) production. Argaman would seem to
be Purpura (though I disagree that it's the argaman of the Torah--but
that's for another time), but this is in Greece, i.e. Byzantinium.

<and he had read Pliny (in the Arabic)>

You've said this before; where do you get it from. Are you sure there
was an Arabic Pliny? If you want to talk Aristotle--well, that's a whole
other story.

<the Rambam (who was a Brisker, in case that fact escaped the attention
of anyone on the list >

Incorrect, the Rambam writes clearly (in his letters) that his work
was meant to be learned and understood on its own, without Gemara and
mefarshim. Which Brisker believes the Rambam?

Shlomoh Taitelbaum

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Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 09:03:21 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: T'kheles

I would like to clear up an issue being bounced around between RSM and
myself. Note that both of us are unsure of the claim that murex trunculus
is the chilazon. He leans toward the negative, I toward the positive.
However, that's not the distinction that makes the nafka mina in our
behaviour. It's the question of whether safeiq techeiles is better or
worse than lavan.

RSM already noted why he believes it is better not to use a safeiq techeiles,
and both of us already noted the Tosafos who hold that it is better to use it.

Add to that the following statement from R' Shlomoh Taitelbaum (I have
not yet seen the Ma'aseh Ish):
:                                          [T]he Chazon Ish (as recorded
: in Maaseh Ish) said that even sofeik techeiles should be worn because
: there is nothing to be lost; if the Gedolim of his generation did not
: wear Radzyner techeiles -- says the Chzo"i -- it is because they did not
: even consider it a sofeik....

It would seem to me that for some reason that totally eludes me, there
is strong reason not to understand the gemara as RSM does. Tosafos and
the CI is a pretty strong set of al mi lismoch.

It also distances the current situation from that of a century ago. The
CI casts the machloqes then to be entirely about the strength of the
identification, and not meta-issues found in common between the two

Now, on to the tangential issue of the strength of the identification
of the murex...

On Wed, Oct 24, 2001 at 12:27:14AM +0000, Seth Mandel wrote:
: The other point is the color. The Rambam says "hatzavua' kiftukh
: shebakohal, v'zo hi d'mut haraqia' hanir'eit la'ayin b'tohoro shel
: raqia'," "dyed as blue eyeshadow, and this is the appearance of the sky
: visible to the eye b'tohoro shel raqia'," which we are getting to. The
: printed editions have "v'zo hi d'mut haraqia' hanir'eit l'ein hashemesh
: b'tohoro shel raqia'," which people translate as "the sky near the sun,"
: or light blue. The problem with that is that in three separate places
: the Rambam calls the color "shahor" or "mashhirin," i.e. very dark.

As I said, claims that the color of the murex-derived dye is wrong are
inconsistant with claims that the murex-derived dye is too chemically
similar (the active ingrediant being identical) to indigo.

This pits the Rambam against the identification of the indigo plant
as kalah ilan. Possibly making him a da'as yachid, but certainly in
the mi'ut.

On Mon, Oct 22, 2001 at 09:35:32PM -0700, Ari wrote:
: Regarding Janthina [R' Herzog] states "does Janthina satisfy Shabbat 7fa?
: Or does the passage in question refer only to the argaman species? The
: first question I must leave for the present unanswered. With regard
: to the second, I should say that Prima Facie one would be inclined to
: say that the text has in view both species, but is really difficult to
: decide the point." (pg 73)

This touches on an issue I've seen raised, although I don't think I've
seen it here though. Can we say that argaman and techeiles come from the
same (or nearly the same) species if the gemara doesn't note this
pretty significant fact?

Whether or not I think one can prove anything from this absence, it
would seem that R' Herzog entertained the possibility that the gemara
does note it.


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

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Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 11:29:45 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@blaze.net.au>
re Birkat haBanot

From: "Rabbi Y.H.Henkin" <henkin@012.net.il>
> "Yesimeich Elokim k'Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel v'Leah," ...first appeared in
> prayer books in the 19th century. ..what is more probable, they
> were blessed with "...k'Efraim u'ch'Menasheh" just like the boys.

RH is probably correct that girls were bentched with the same psukim
as can be seen in the nusach habrochos in the sefer Peileh Yoetz (see
under Brochos - beginning with 'Ksiv Tov Ayin etc..' where he has quite
a lengthy piece about various dinim and minhogim in connection with
brochos - and lav davka Friday nights).

I spoke to an elderly relative a TC - in Jerusalem - last night and
he remembers that girls were given both brochos - first E&M followed
by SRRvL.

The PY is worthwhile looking up as it brings many items of interest on
this subject. He very strongly stresses the importance of the Friday
night blessing by parents.

Another sefer that brings various sources is Kuntres Hashabos by RYH
Deutsch shlit'a - Freiman Rav in NY.

It and the PY quote the Zohar - that before bentching anyone one
should say "Yisborach Shmoy shel HKBH", as one should first 'bentch'
Hashem (and if not the brocho will not be mekuyam ..) [The Toldas Aharon
siddur "Brocho u'sehilo" has the nusach "Yisborach veyisromem veyisnasei
shmoy shel MMH HKBH" then Yevorechecho, yesimcho, followed by the posuk
"Venocho olov ruach Hashem etc etc. - which BTW is also brought in some
other siddurim.)

KH also states that one should actually say the name of the 'bentchee'
- eg "Elokim yochnecho bni/biti Ploni[s] ben/bas Plonis" (quoting Rabenu
Bechayeh in Parshas Bolok who writes that it is important to use names -
even 'befonov'.)

Further to earlier posts on this subject, I have asked around and found
that the 'generic' Ashkenaz/Oberland minhag seems to be the father [only]
bentching both sons and daughters, most before Kiddush but some before
saying Sholom Aleichem.

All (in my survey) bentch silently and the childs response is Gut
Shabbos/YT [not Omein] - with most then kissing the fathers hand and
then (even if she doesn't bentch - as do the Yekkes) kiss the mothers
hand. (Some only kiss the mother!)

Other seforim bring that kissing the hand of the 'bencher' enhances the
power of the brocho (which is probably why some chassidim kiss their
rebbe's hand - after a brocho).

I have found that certain chassidim also have this minhag - especially

In Minhogei CS it brings that he was noheg to bench both Friday night
and MS before Havodolo. It is interesting to note that whilst benching
Friday night isn't mentioned in SA and its nosei keilim - AFAIK, the MS
brocho does get a mention - in MA b'shem Maharil [559:1} (saying it is not
done on TB sh'chal bMS...) [RYE also brings this minhag in his siddur].

> ...But I have never been satisfied with the version "yesimeich
> Elokim k'Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel v'Leah," for a number of reasons:
> 1) There is no source for it in Scripture or in the words of Chaza"l.
> 2) It is not parallel grammatically. It lacks the repeated 'kaf' of
> "...k'Efraim u'ch'Menasheh."3) It is not parallel in content.
> We do not bless the boys that they
> should be like the three Patriarchs; why, then, bless the girls that
> they be like the four Matriarchs?

We probably would have used the Avos (...as it is written: "Veyikoreh bohem
shmi vshem avosai"), but because YO specifically instructed us to use
E&M - we do so.
Not having such an instruction for females we revert to the Imahos. KNLAD.
(Personally, I am seriously thinking of changing back to - my newly-found -
family tradition and saying both...)

> ... The blessing of the daughters in general
> use, then, is a hodgepodge.For these reasons, I substitute a blessing
> based on Megillat Ruth 4:11,

Hodgepodge or not and despite RH's discomfort with the nusach,
it has been used at least for a couple of hundred years by our ancestors
and Gedolim uKedoshim.

Knowing that this nusach has been used dor-doros is enough for me
to stick to it.
After all, something done for 10 generations or so (at least - and it may
have been even longer than that), is by all accounts a
true and established mesores ovos which should not be thrown out in the
Shlomo Hamelech says "Al titosh toras imecho".
(I assume that RH's illustrious grandfather also used the nusach
of klall yisroel.)

It is always a worry when we start changing minhogim for grammatical

> In the case of voluntary blessings such as this there is no Halachic
> problem in changing the wording. However, if one is reluctant to do
> away with the old version he can say them both, as R. Emdin wrote,
> "everyone can add his own blessing, using his own formulation."

Sure add - but not subtract...

Finally, for those seeking a (200 year old) nusach habrocho - for both
girls AND boys, see the abovementioned PY - who has documented his
personal nuscho'os - which include Y'vorechecho and Yesimcho for both
boys and girls.


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 14:55:56 -0400
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: rambam's iqqorim

Just to emphasize something I wrote in my previous post, the idea of
Creation Ex Nihilo is not in the standard translation of Rambam's Peirush
HaMishnayos. It is only in R. Yosef Kaffih's translation which certainly
means that it is in the Arabic manuscripts. This means that it is not
in the Ani Ma'amins or Yigdal.

For R. Rich Wolpoe and those of his ilk, this is very significant.

Gil Student

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Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 16:11:45 -0400
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>

With regard to the debate about the Rambam's ikkarim:
I think RGS misunderstands a fundamental issue - what we mean by ikkarim.
It is one thing to argue that the vast majority of rishonim and acharonim
have accepted a theology which is "close" to the thirteen ikkarim.

However, the original debate has been on the position (stated explicitly
by R Parness in TUM, but articulated by others as well) that the 13
ikkarim define not only mainstream theology, but "normative theology",
and anyone who does not subscribe to it is part of the spectrum of
minut--epikorsut. These ikkarim are halachically binding.

The problem, of course, is that, as R Shapiro (unfortunately, I have
lent my copy out) has pointed out, that is not correct, unless one is
willing to label as epikoros many gdolim vetovim mimenu.

RGS wants to argue (and I think that this is what RYGB meant too when he
said that R Schapiro really proved the opposite, but perhaps he wishes
to clarify) therefore that it is not the ikkarim themselves, but some
variant, which will include the various rishonim/acharonim who disagree
with the thirteen ikkarim.

As RGS said
> What that tells me is that while today's normative ikkarim are not replicas
> of the Rambam's exact words, they are based on them. 

The problem is that no one that I know of has ever formulated such a
variant of "normative ikkarim", and even less has any such formulation
been accepted.

In a halachic discussion, we need to be more precise than the legal
definition of obscenity (I know it when I see it)

Therefore, the question is, what is the halachically normative body of
belief? I recall that R Schapiro cites a Gra that says the miinimum
is belief in achdut hashem and rejection of avoda zara. Even this is
somewhat problematic, as the definition of what one means by achdut hashem
(eg the issue of the sefirot), and is very minimal. the issue is not
the argument (attributed, although with some questions, to Mendelson)
that there are no required beliefs, but rather trying to define them.
Epikoros is a halachic category, but its definition is by no means as
simple as the 13 ikkarim proponents argue.

Thus, to focus on several issues:

1) Transmission of the Torah. The rambam's ikkar is not merely that
hashem gave the torah on har sinai, but that the text that we have is
identically the same as that of Moshe rabbenu.

R Schapiro has documented that, at least with regard to at least minor
variants (ketiv keri etc) there are clearly disputes. It also seems clear
that most of the debates in tradtional texts focus on a small amount of
the text (although there are some texts, such as the one attributed to
R Yehuda Hachasid which seem to go much further)

However, as a halachic statement of a dogmatic principle, how much
of the text that we have (and choose which edition) can you believe
to be faulty before you become an epikoros? One letter? two letters?
0.1%? 1%? 2%? 10%? 50%? Is there a real theoretical (rather than
practical) difference between allowing for mistransmission of 0.001%
and mistransmission of 10%?(although most here would view the 10% as an
epikoros gammur, but on what basis??) That is why the statement that it
is minor misunderstands the very nature of a dogma.

Right now, we have lip service to perfect transmission, but with practical
concession of "minor" inaccuracies, with no real attempt to define both
halachically and hashkafically the meaning and implications of these
"minor" inaccuracies.

2) Nevuah of moshe.  The argument was made by RGS that 
>There are two issues here. First, regarding the ikkar on prophecy, this is
> only a debate over whether Mashiach will be a greater prophet than Moshe.

This is precisely what I would call a slight disagreement. 

The Rambam's discussion of the nevua of Moshe is directly linked to the
question of the status of the torah - one of the main reasons that the
torah can not be abrogated is precisely that no one will achieve the
levelof nevua of Moshe - the only navi whose nevua determines halacha.

The main claim for the abrogation of the Torah came from Christianity
(mashiach greater than Moshe) and Islam (Mohammed greater, and faulty
transmission of the text). Therefore, to argue that the saying that
the mashiach will be a greater prophet than moshe directly plays into
Christian arguments about Jesus. Saying it is a slight disagreement
shows that the ikkarim as originally understood are not really viewed
as normative, even though there is lip service to them (and therefore
attempts to coerce the ikkarim to fit current ideologies). This is not
a slight disagreement, but a disagreement on the whole essence of the
uniqueness of Moshe's nevua determining the uniqueness of the torah. 3)
Yesh miayin. Just one source not yet cited- Rav Yehuda Halevy in the
Kuzari specifically says that one who does not believe in yesh miayin,
but rather in preexisting matter, is not an epikoros. (not that he argues
with yesh miayin, but rather that yesh miayin is not normative theology)

4)RGS about intermediaries

> Yes, there are some mekoros within Chazal about using intermediaries
> to reach Hashem. And those who worked so hard to justify this,
> e.g. the Minchas Elazar, have already explained this. It is not
> worshipping intermediaries but using them to worship Hashem. Would Rambam
> protest? Yes. But this still fits into the main intent of the ikkar that
> Hashem, and only Hashem, is the object of our worship and prayers. No one
> would say that we should worship anyone else or pray to anyone else. They
> only suggest, in certain circumstances, requesting other beings to pray
> to G-d on our behalf. I call this disagreement slight

I think that this shows how there is only lip service to the ikkarim.
After all, the position of using intermediaries has to be understood
in terms of the Rambam's understanding (hilkhot avoda zara) that this
is really the origin of avoda zara - using intermediaries - as it can
lead one to forget that they are only intermediaries.

Clearly, many gdolim disagreed with the rambam on this, and the issue is
not whether they are epikorsim. Rather, it means that this ikkar is not
accepted as the Rambam meant it, and to label it a slight disagreement
is remarkable, but part of a certain consistent (and widespread) logic -
the 13 ikkarim are normative, this belief is widespread but seems to
contradict an ikkar - therefore let's reinterprete the ikkar, and it
isn't such a disagreement.

Finally, one last point - RGS
> Shapiro suggests that the Rambam did not believe in reward and punishment.
> I think that this is totally incorrect because in Hilchos Teshuvah
> (ch. 8-9) and in Peirush HaMishnayos (Makos 3:17) Rambam says that he
> believes in reward and punishment. Indeed, in his peirush to Avos 1:3 he
> ascribes the view that there is no reward and punishment to Tzadok and
> Baitos. Shapiro's suggestion requires contradicting explicit statements
> by the Rambam, which I believe is incorrect.

The issue being raised here (as well as with other issues in the 13
ikkarim) is the esoteric understanding of the Rambam, dating back to
R Shmuel Ibn tibbon (see an excellent essay by Aviezer Ravitzky in
Essays on Maimonides, edited by I Twersky, Harvard University Press).
Regardless on what one believes the Rambam himself really believed,
he quite clearly left hints in his works of an esoteric understanding,
that were further expanded by people who few today would call heretics.
The problem is not so much the Rambam's true belief, but that by
the way he wrote, he deliberately left open such an understanding,.
Even if this understanding was not his real meaning, it is hard to view
that the Rambam thought something to be real epikorsut, yet wrote works
suggesting that he believed it. This suggests that at the least, he was
not vehemently opposed to such views.

Meir Shinnar

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