Avodah Mailing List

Volume 08 : Number 036

Wednesday, October 31 2001

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 08:21:08 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: be mispalleil for Rav Elozor Menacheim Man ben Bas Sheva - not Rav Eliezer MM...

On Wed, Oct 31, 2001 at 12:03:54AM -0500, Phyllostac@aol.com wrote:
: Which raises the question - If someone was mispalleil for Eliezer instead
: of Elozor would that negatively impact on the koach of the tefillah?

I think that if someone was not concerned enough to correct the name
and tell others to do so when he hears he had it wrong, his tefillah
is obviously not being sent along with the same ko'ach.


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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 13:47:58 +0300
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@zahav.net.il>
Re: Minhagim and Women

From: Chana Luntz <Chana@KolSassoon.net>
> Not necessarily, even according to those who hold that a woman should
> adopt all of her husband's minhagim. For example, ROY holds that a woman
> should adopt all of her husband's minhagim, but makes an exception for
> aspects of taharas hamishpacha (eg how often the woman immerses in
> the mikvah) on the grounds that the husband does not have a minhag.
> That means that, even if the custom of the husband's community is to
> immerse seven times in the mikvah (ie the common Sephardi minhag), if
> the wife's communities minhag is to dip three times (common Ashkenazi
> minhag) ROY held that the woman could follow the latter.

Interesting. When teaching brides before marriage, if there is any
kind of polite discourse between the bride and her future MIL, I send
the bride to ask the MIL two questions (with instructions to blaim the
rebbetzin if a problem arises<g>):

What are the groom's favorite dishes? (Plus recipes of course) and
what are the MIL's special Minhagim for the Mikvah (not only number of
immersions but other things). B"H except for one time when the groom
was completely estranged from his parents, not only have there been
excellent results (in one case the future MIL protected the bride from
a SIL who was making the brides' life a misery) but I have had some very
interesting phone conversations with the future MILs. Also, other minhagim
(like Chalitta as G'mar Kashrut) came up and this saved the future bride
lots of problems.

(continued below)
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@KolSassoon.net>
> I wondered about that when I saw it - but presumably that could only be
> true according to those that hold that a Bas Mitzvah celebration is a
> seudas mitzvah just as much as a Bar Mitzvah celebration. According to
> those (most of the olam, as far as I can see) who even when they make
> a Bas Mitzvah seudah do not treat it as a seudas mitzvah eg say shir
> hama'alos, must they not have a different source.

Rav Yitzchak Nisim (was a Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rishon LeTzion) wrote in
his book "HaYaYin HaTov" that (after a long discourse I won't bring here)
that You should have a Yamma Tavva for the girl; both a boy and a girl
should be happy and see Simcha on the day that they enter Kiyum Mitzvot
and he adds that he saw in the Shu"t by Rav A. Mussafya who wrote that
whosoever has a Se'uda on the day his daughter enters Kiyum Mitzvot--
this is a Se'udat Mitzvah and he wrote that this is a Minhag Naxhone.

Shoshana L. Boublil

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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 07:54:26 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Confessions of a hyper correct leiner?

IMHO, the value in paying attention to diqduq when leining is not only
in the dinim of qerias haTorah / Shema, but also in the fact that it
slows you down, forces you to pay more attention to each word and the
grammar of the pasuq.

I found that since /trying/ to imitate RSMandel on this point when
davening, back when we sat near each other in a "Bachurei Minyan" (*),
I more often am following the simple peirush hamilim as I daven.

(* Mentioned as haqaras hatov. I hope that my mentioning it, or my
associating RSM's name to my poor attempts, does not embarass him.)


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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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 08:54:06 -0500
From: "Stein, Aryeh E." <aes@ll-f.com>
Re: limits of kedushah?

It is brought down in the Halichos Shlomo (p. 247-8) that one should
not read a book about "tikun hamidos" that was written "b'kashrus,"
even if it is not based on divrei chazal but rather on psychology,
in a beis hakeisa. Reason: when one reads about how one, for example,
should not embarass another person, he is actively performing a mitzvah,
and one should not perform mitzvos in this place.


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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 15:01:20 +0000
From: "Seth Mandel" <sethm37@hotmail.com>

Gershon Dubin: <This might be better on Mesorah, but I think the Avodah
olam needs a shot at it. Does anyone know the significance of the fact
that while Yisrael and Yishmael are the only umos with Shem Hashem in
their name, the tzeireh in Yisrael is under the aleph, leaving the name
of Hashem intact, while for Yishmael it's under the ayin, with no nikud
on the aleph. The Shem is therefore incomplete. Comments?>

This has to be viewed as part of a general phenomenon. I believe that
I have previously alluded to the fact that Hazal (and the rishonim)
did not consider that common names had any qdusha, even if part of them
originally referred to God. The S'dei Hemed has a long piece on why a
name, even part or all of if it can be read as a name of God, if it was
not intended to be qodesh has no qdusha at all and can be erased (and
he includes letters from most of the Gdolim of his time agreeing with
that position). Hazal often went out of their way not to be m'naqqed the
element in the name referring to God as if it were divine. These can be
divided into two categories:

1) if the name ended as, e.g., Yirm'ya, they would not put a mappiq
in the he. There is not a single name ending in yod -- he that has a
mappiq, nor, conversely, a single example of yod-he as the name of God
without the mappiq. As a matter of fact, the 4 or 5 words about which
there was a mahloqes specifically disagreed on that point. For instance,
shalhevetya in Shir haShirim, is either a) two words, the second one
(yod-he) being labelled as qodesh and having a mappiq, or b) one word,
with the final he without a mappiq.

2) If the name ended as, e.g. Yishma'el, they often would not put the
tzere under the aleph. For instance, Doniel is m'nuqqad Doniyyel, with the
tzere under the yod, paralleling the tzere under the 'ayin in Yishma'el.
Similarly Yehezqel, with the tzere under the qof. However, this latter
case is not hard and fast. You find names like 'Uzzi'el, or Malki'el or
M'heitav'el, with the tzere under the aleph. There is also the slightly
abberant form of Yizr'el, with a segol under the 'ayin.


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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 15:06:44 +0000
From: "Seth Mandel" <sethm37@hotmail.com>
Re: Confessions of a hyper correct leiner?

R. Michael Frankel: <At first i was kind of pleased at this, since
it in fact follows the old rules of pronunciation established by the
ba'alei mesoroh (almost all generally ignored today), so i figured i
was witnessing a living fossil -- a survival of the masoretic era.>

There is no community today to the best of anyone's knowledge that follows
all the rules. I may have referred before to R. Shlomo Morag's institute,
Mif'al M'sorot haLashon shel 'Edot Yisrael at Hebrew U. It published a
series of studies on the masora of various communities in reading Hebrew.
What emerges is that various different communities preserve various
different aspects of the old masorah, but none preserve all old features;
all have been influenced by later currents.

This is exactly the state of languages in general. Historical linguistics
proves that every language preserves some old features and has some
innovations; each language is different in what it preserves. You may
find some more conservative communities, and some less. But none are
immune to the forces of change, not even the Teimanim.

RMF: <Alas, as i continued to listen i heard less pleasing articulation,
including sh'voh nochs pronounced like sh'voh nohs in such words as
"limadtem", i.e. the "typical" error made by diqduq-ignorant ba'ale
q'rioh. (i.e. most ba'alei q'rioh). And then i reflected that perhaps all
the care i take to -- now more or less automaticallly -- differentiate
my sh'vohs (and a couple o! f other things) are no more than hyper
corrections by a rule fixated elite group, but which not only doesn't
exist -- but perhaps has never existed as a spoken realization of loshon

If what you are referring to are the rules of R. Aharon ben Asher, then
for sure they were the realization of how an erudite group pronounced
Hebrew. Just look at the Sefer haHillufim: no one would make up such
mahloqes'n between Ben Asher and Ben Naftali as the placement of a
meteg/ga'aya. This had to be based on tradition. However, if you are
referring to the rules of the Bahur, or, qal vahomer, R. Zalman Henau,
then you are right: there is no evidence that anyone before them followed
them. After them, however, there were, because of their fame. (And
ironically, R. Zalman Henua, who was condemned by g'dolim of the time,
became something of a standard, both in the changes in nusah which he
invented, and in his rules of grammar: whoever the Lyubavitche chasidim
got to put in the niqqud to their siddur followed R. Zalman's rules,
which were a complete fabrication.)

RMF: <And what should be determinative is the living tradition of spoken
hebrew, not some artificial rule based system that has never won a
communal acceptance.>

Well, yes, if there were a living tradition frozen in time. Your argument
is similar to this: what should be determinative is the mimetic tradition,
not the textual. I would agree -- IF there were any community in the
world that did not change its minhogim to conform with modern, new
fangled inventions lo s'arum avoteikhem.

RMF: <I wanted to query the readership, especially those who have access
to or may frequent, minyonim from the various exotic (to ashkenazim)
eidos, whether they are aware of any community which regularly
differentiates all their sh'voh nohs in spoken hebrew.>

The closest you will get are some Teimani communities (which, alas, no
longer exist). See R. Morag's book "ha'ivrit sheb'fi Y'hudei Teiman."
America is not the place to find them, because it lacks a critical mass.
Nor is Israel, either, because of the tremendous pressure to conform in
speaking Hebrew. But even the Teimanim have undergone some changes. Most
noticeable are the hard gimel as j, in most communities. They also
preserve a Babylonian vowel pronunciation with segol = pasah, and have
almost a Litvish holam, excuse me, kheilem. These two factors will
sufficiently disturb most so that they will go running to the nearest
shtiebel where they pronounce shuruq as "i" and qomatz as "u," and so
their haqpodo on the shvos and the ga'ayas will scarcely be noticed.


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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 23:31:37 +0800
From: stugold@juno.com
Be mispalleil for Rav Elazar Menacheim Man ben Bas Sheva

From: Phyllostac@aol.com
> Which raises the question - If someone was mispalleil for Eliezer instead
> of Elozor would that negatively impact on the koach of the tefillah? ...

How many (e.g.) Moshe ben Sarahs might there be in the world, and how
many might be sick and have a MiSheberach said for them at the same time?
Surely the great mailroom in Shomayim knows how to sort and deliver.
FWIW, I read a short anecdote about someone (whom I think I knew in
H.S.) being L"A in a serious car accident several years ago. He apparently
was Zocheh to a "miraculous" recovery and his brother attributed such
to the fact that his name was Shlomo Zalman ben Rivkah, and he was in
a critical condition during the last days of RSZA, when everyone was
davening for Shlomo Zalman ben Rivka.

No authentic Tefilah goes unanswered.

Stuart Goldstein  

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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 10:25:47 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Tefilla for Nochachim During a Chupa

I was at a chasuna the other night where we were handed a tefilla to say
while the couple was under the Chupa. I had never seen this before - the
source is apparently Likutei MoHaRan. I did not take a copy with me, but
it talked about things like dancing in front of the chasan and kala being
a kapara for aveiros (something that would not have occurred to me). It
referred to things like mefazez u'mecharker b'chol kocho (ref. David
HaMelech in front of the Aron). Does anyone know anything about this
tefilla? Has anyone ever heard of dancing being a kapara for anything?

As an aside, I don't know much about the kala's family, but the chasan's
family (from whose side I was invited) is pure Litvaker! But over the
last year or two, I have noticed a fascination with Breslav in the DL
world here - does anyone know the source for that? (Probably a discussion
more appropriate to Areivim than here, but I leave that for R. Micha
to decide).

-- Carl

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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 10:11:30 -0500 (EST)
From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@ymail.yu.edu>
R. Lamm Orthoprax?

> every gadol agrees, I brought down that he does not know that the opinions
> of leaders of the MO such as  and R Lamm. He suggests

Rabbi Lamm has a paper trail on this. Thirty years ago he wrote a widely
read article entitled "Faith and Doubt." As I recall, he stressed the
importance of right belief at three distinct levels: intellectual,
experiential (his word may have been emotional) and pragmatic.

In this connection R. Lamm asked whether there can be any value to purely
pragmatic belief-- i.e. an individual acts in a manner that presupposes
the truth of the ikkarei emuna but does not believe at the intellectual
level. And he tries his best to find some value in this orientation.

After the article first appeared in Tradition, a certain individual wrote
a letter to the editor insinuating that the article advocated something
like orthopraxy. R. Lamm responded.

About ten years ago, Tradition published a pain-staking examination of
the article by a young analytic philosopher named Joshua Golding (whose
only YU association is going to the high school and offering a couple of
courses as an adjunct early in his career). Golding's unusually detailed
discussion (even by standards of the profession) does not uncover anything
that remotely entails orthopraxy.

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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 10:25:48 +0200
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: ikkarim

On 30 Oct 01, at 12:59, Eli Turkel wrote:
>> 1. There's a difference between a Rishon arguing these issues with
>> his contemporaries and we spiritual and intellectual pygmies (by
>> comparison!) deciding on our own to adopt the view that the Rishonim
>> rejected....

> Arguing with a rishon is not the same as arguing against a psak of the
> sanhedrin. Gra argued against rishonim without being a zaken mamre.

It goes without saying that we are not on the level of the Gra. But I
would understand "Yiftach b'doro k'Shmuel b'doro" as meaning that only
the "Gedolim" of each generation have the right to argue on the previous
generations. So while the Gra had that right, you (AFAIK) and I don't.

> When there is a discussion among rishonim who is to decide what is
> settled unless it appears in SA and commentaries. 

I would broaden that beyond the SA and commentaries. AIUI, Ashkenazi
psak is generally based on 2 out of 3 from among the Rosh, the Rif and
the Rambam.

But in any event, we have seen instances in our time of manuscripts of
Rishonim being discovered with respect to which others of generations
between those Rishonim and us may not have been aware. If that's the case,
I don't think we can necessarily limit Halachic practice to what's in
SA and its commentaries.

>                                                 If I think shedim
> don't exist does that mean I disagree the consensus since Gra argued
> vehemntly against the philosopher Rambam? 

Is the existence of sheidim an ikar in emuna? So long as you don't
employ that psak l'maaseh (e.g. not be choshesh for sheidim in a case
of hearing someone say to write a get for his wife without seeing him -
the only case I can think of today where sheidim would have an impact
l'maaseh) I'm not sure that what you think about sheidim matters.

>                                          What if someone agrees with
> Rambam that for the average person G-d does not change the world for
> reward and punishment in this world which is contradicted by Kabbalah
> and the Rosh Hashana davening.

And based on that he does what? AISI schar v'onesh is an ikar in 
emuna but it's tsura is not necessarily so (and I think we've been 
down this road on this list before...).

>> 2. There's also a difference between arguing on a theoretical plane
>> and doing something halacha l'maaseh. While there is no doubt schar for
>> understanding why Rabbeinu Tam held as he did with respect to zmanim,
>> I think there is also no doubt that someone who is doing melacha thirty
>> minutes after shkiya in 2001 is a mechalel Shabbos, regardless of whether
>> or not he holds shitas Rabbeinu Tam at the end of Shabbos.

> Since major communities accepted R. Tam both le-kula and le-chumra I
> don't see how you can that.

Are there any such communities today? I note that RRW writes in another
email that there was a community in EY that kept the triennial cycle into
the 1950's (IIRC it was Teimani). But in any event, I think that unless
someone has a specific mesora that way he could not adopt R. Tam's shita
l'kula. L'chumra would depend on the circumstances.

Having said that, I will admit to once in a great while having missed
Mincha b'zmano, and davening after shkiya and then waiting for R.
Tam for Maariv.

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 12:23:24 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Fish and meat

In a message dated 10/31/2001 8:43:13am EST, micha@aishdas.org quotes
Josh Backon:
> : I'm quite surprised that my friend Fred Rosner indicated that there is
> : no medical danger in eating fish with meat

When I first heard this halachah as a child I always assumed that Since
fish bones are very tricky to eat they are dangerous... And when eating
JUST fish bones people were naturally alert and cautious. But when eating
fish with meat (mamash) the nautral tendency is to taste the meat and
ignore the fish bones, which could be a hazard.

As far as the details of a fork touching fish or gefilte fish which is
deboned, I assumed some kind of lo plug

I have no idea if this hypotheis has any basis in fact. All I can remember
is the family was always nizhar when eating fish, not to talk etc.

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: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 16:35:48 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Fish and meat

On Wed, Oct 31, 2001 at 12:23:24PM -0500, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
: When I first heard this halachah as a child I always assumed that Since
: fish bones are very tricky to eat they are dangerous...

As was I told. However, the gemara in Pesachim is quite clear -- the
problem is tzoraas.

I suggested back in v3n90 (when we last discussed these topics) that
the reason why this alone of all of the medical advice we find in Shas
survived is because the gemara includes the word tzoraas. Which may
imply a non-physical causality... or it may not. But it is enough to
distinguish this one concept.


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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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 12:43:56 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Mesoros and Minhagim (was Re: ikkarim)

In a message dated 10/31/2001 12:08:43pm EST, sherer@actcom.co.il writes:
> Are there any such communities today? I note that RRW writes in another
> email that there was a community in EY that kept the triennial cycle into
> the 1950's (IIRC it was Teimani). But in any event, I think that unless
> someone has a specific mesora that way he could not adopt R. Tam's shita
> l'kula. L'chumra would depend on the circumstances.

FWIW the source of this Triennial tradition is just an unconfirmed story,
so please do not construe this as fact - YET. <smile>

I can say this. Many communities daven minhca after the shkiah of the
Gra. The Breuer community does {on certain occasions} and holds onto
this old minhag. See Below...

> Having said that, I will admit to once in a great while having missed
> Mincha b'zmano, and davening after shkiya and then waiting for R.
> Tam for Maariv.

OK here is the situatoin. it is after shkias haGra and you are in Union
City, NJ with the ONLY minyan (i.e the Klausenberger) davening VERY late.

Do you 
1) Daven before shkia w/o a Minyan?
2) Daven betzibbur very late - but OK according to at least RT?

I would choose the latter.
Simlarly I would choose to daven Ma'ariv after plag and before shkiah
with a minyan over davening bizman biyechidus later on.

It is appraently an old Minhag amongst Ashkenazim to be meikel on the
zman in favor of being makpid on davening the Tzibbur.

AFAIK - and I have not researched this - the Gra was the first to
break from this principle and to insist on the Zman over davening with
a Tzibbur.

FWIW some Manhattan Minyanim daven ma'ariv BEFORE plag based upon a psak
is attributed to the Trumas Hadeshen. I would not go that far.

But I would bend the zman for Tefillah beTzibbur

For Chilul Shabbos, most communities are machmir both for the Gra and
other shitos (Magen Avraham AIUI.) In Washington Heights, the local
Chassidic Dumbrover Minyan davens Fri. Night Mincha quite late but AFAIK
they refrain from Mlacha much before that.

Many/Most of my YU friends will not daven Mincha at Breuer's or Dumbrov
based upon the Gra's shita. I am amazed at how profoundly machmir people
are re: this; because it is probably normative for misnagdim for less
than 200 years.

Perhaps R. Seth Mandel has more details on this.

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: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 12:51:54 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Ikkrim

In a message dated 10/30/2001 6:06:26pm EST, Daniel Eidensohn
<yadmoshe@bezeqint.net> writes:
> Came across following the observation of Prof Malter...
> "A Greek thinker enunciated the idea that doubt is the first step toward
> knowledge [Aristotle Metaphysics B chapter 1] it is through skepticism -
> the refusal to accept things as they present themselves - that we arrive
> at a better understanding of their causes and a fuller comprehension of
> the universe. This doctrine, now the common property of all philsophers
> is characteristic of the pagan conception of the origin of truth. 

1) how did Avraham Avinu arrive at emunah?
2) How do Geirim arrive at emunah?
3) how do Baalei Teshuvah {chozrei betshuva} arrive at emunah?

If indeed Masorah supercedes investigation that would be true ONLY for
those who have a solid Minhag Avosom Beyadam.

[Email #2 -mi]

In a message dated 10/30/2001 6:06:26pm EST, Daniel Eidensohn
<yadmoshe@bezeqint.net> writes:
>                                                              G-d, to
> begin with the point mentioned last, is not an object of reasoning and
> argumentation. His existence is a matter of course, an absolute fact
> neither to be doubted or proved. He the Creator of the world, is the
> source of all knowledge the foudantion of all truth....

> In a system based on such principles there is no room for doubt or
> scepticism. If scepticism is the generator of philosophic truth, Judaism
> as a positive relgion could never become the bearer and promulgator of
> such truth. In fact, Judsaim is not a systm of philosophy, but a moral
> theology....

I think most or all of us agree with this thesis. The issue AISI is
what happens after the 2,000 years of Torah is over, no more Nevi'im and
no more Sanhedrin in the liska hagazis and lots of exile, persecution,
and {at least unconsious} assimilation

The question is: how faithful are we to the Torah system as gifted to
us by HKBH and preserved in the era of a BhM and Sanhedrin etc.

While we do our best, and Yiphtach d'dor kishmuel b'doro, it does not
mean that we stop questioning as to the best understanding or how to
understand the Masorah fro mSinai properly.

AISI We must follow Halachic norms out of a sense of communal standards.
OTOH, academics have a place to jog us out of our complacency.
Where I draw the line is where that Academic theory threatens normative
praxis in an undermining way. Yet at times such investigation might be
restorative. E.G. some academic investigations have helped us get better
editions and girsos of Seforim.

I guess the issue is: Are the Academics asking honest questions or do
they have an irreverrent agneda?

Notice the first son in the haggadah is a Chacham NOT a Tzaddik - which
after all would be the anitcipated antonym for Rasha. Torah Judaism
cannot run and hide from honest questions. E.G. R. S. Schwab did not
run form the 420-586 year controversy and attempted to reconcile it in
a brief monograph.

There is nothing wrong - IMHO - with struggling to understand the
perceived discrepanices between Torah and Academia, so long as the pursuit
is to sincerely make sense out of it. Academic iconoclasm for the sake
of undermingin Torah - such as Wellahuasen - is different of course.

Reishis Chachma Yir'as Hashem...Sechel Tov
We first Affirm Ein Keilokeinu THEN we challenge ourselves - Mi
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: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 13:56:48 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>

Let me see if I follow the discussion to this point.

1. Professor Shapiro published an article demonstrating that not all
rishonim agreed with all the 13 Ikkarim of the Rambam. Someone (was it
he himself?) then concluded that they could therefore not constitute a
normative creed.

2. R. Student (et. al.) responded that the disagreements which Professor
Shapiro found were slight, and that there exists an unwritten but
universally accepted 13 ikkarim defined by modern consensus.

3. Dr. Shinnar (et. al.) responded that such an unwritten creed does not
exist, and that it is a modern innovation to attempt to define heresy
except when it jumps up and bites you in the nose.

Now my questions and comments:

1. Why didn't the Rambam reproduce the 13 Ikkarim in the Mishna Torah
(admittedly an analogue does exist there, but IIRC there are significant

2. There are certainly many more machlokthim in rishonim about what
belongs in a creed than about who is an epicurean. Shouldn't this
discussion appear in responsa rather than in theoretical works like
the iqqarim?

3. See the tshuva of the Rivash about how mequballim daven (reference
on request, if no one can find it faster than me). Why isn't there any
other (as far as I know) halachic discussion about whether mekuballim
are epicureans?

4. My own impression, unlike Dr. Shinnar, is that hunting for heretics
is a sport whose attractions waxes and wanes over time, and that in the
era after the enlightenment it has become popular once again.
OTOH I also find this unwritten creed business hard to take seriously.
One of my friends once gleefully showed me a newspaper article labeling
as heretical a person who [no minors present, I hope] served pineapple
chicken for Shabbat. The present list gives the Rambam carte blanche,
but people have described the Moreh Nebuchim to me as "apikorsus".

5. Has someone checked modern tshuvoth? I was very impressed with the
emotion with which R. Teitelbaum recommended that R. Kook's book Oroth
be burned. I don't, however, recall his substantive arguments (and I
have not burned my copy). My impression is that R. Feinstein believed
that Conservative Rabbis are presumptively epicureans, and that Reform
Rabbis are in fact epicureans (did we discuss this before?) but I don't
recall that he cites the Rambam's Ikkarim. In short, a few facts might be
useful right now. Would someone CD enabled check tshuvoth about ikkarim
and epicureans?

David Riceman

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Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 13:09:36 -0500
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
Ikkarim as normative

>> This is a well known machloket I am somewhat surprised that this approach in
>> general is written out of Orthodoxy, but am content to be with Rav Hai Gaon
>> and the rambam.  This disagreement is not between academics and the Orthodox
>> community  but rather, on the extent of da'as torah ("to understand what
>> gedolim say about these things") - one of the major disagreements between
>> haredi and MO.

R Carmy responded to my post
> I don't know whether to be more astonished by the suggestion that R.
> Lichtenstein is a liberal on the question of normative ikkarei emuna or by
> the claim that the Rambam belongs to that camp.

> Isn't it the Rambam who is blamed by the proponents of orthopraxy for
> introducing rigorous standards of correct belief?

My position was misunderstood by R Carmy (probably secondary to my

1) I wasn't arguing that the Rambam did not require ikkare emuna (
a rather strange position, I agree ), I understood Rav Eidenson to be
arguing the more general proposition all matters of hashkafa are settled
purely on the basis of what gdolim have to say("to understand what gedolim
say about these things"),where I think that there is a more solid ground
to argue that the rambam supported more individual inquiry and the need
to harmonize traditional teaching with truth obtained by other means.
As he says several times in the Moreh, he is not basing his specific
allegorical interpretation on a tradition, but rather on his reasoning.
I don't think he would have limited inquiry in the manner that RDE
recommends, even though he did require ikkare emuna.

As with regard to Rav Lichtenstein, I don't think him light on ikkare
emuna. However, the issue being discussed was different.

Marc Schapiro had marshalled objective evidence that the rambam's ikkarim
were not followed by many. Rav Eidenson had argued that as Marc Schapiro
comes from on "pbjective, academic" stance, his data are irrelevant. He
asked two haredi gdolim, and no gadol disagreed. Ergo, any data to the
contrary was misunderstood and needs to be explained away

I don't know what Rav Lichtenstein or other MO gdolim hold to holds to be
true belief, nor what he holds to be normative belief. (I suspect that
at least with regard to true belief, there is little difference between
them and haredim) However, I do think that those from a somewhat more MO
background, are more likely to take seriously evidence from "academic"
sources, and try to deal seriously with it, even if the final conclusion
may be the same as the haredi. I think that that is at least implicit
in Rav Lichtenstein's article on Torah Umadda ( presented on avoda v 3
n 155) - ultimately commitment to eternal Torah overrides intellectual
integrity, but one does try to find reconciliation of the two.(in that
essay, R Lichtenstein does accept allegorization as a legitimate attempt
to harmonize, something that on previous go rounds some members here
thought was against ikkare emuna..)

What Marc Schapiro has shown that it is difficult to maintain that there
was universal acceptance of the 13 ikkarim even in fairly mainstream
sources. That does not mean that the 13 ikkarim are either not true or
not normative, but then one has to deal with the consequences of calling
them normative. MO (and I realize that R Lichtenstein, just like RYBS,
is far more complex to be categorized as MO) are less likely to just say
that the gdolim say they are normative, so any evidence to the contrary
is only "academic" and can be explained away. The issue is not with
ikkare emuna, but what constitutes legitimate data for halachic and
hashkafic discussion.

Lastly, with regard to the issue of academic/objective, the initial
discussion, started with Rav Parness's desire to limit the areas of
inquiry to where they might not lead to kfira. Rav Eidenson phrased this
in the distinction between academic and traditional, and argued that
academic objective discussions were essentially irrelevant to halachic
discourse, and not engaged in by any traditionally minded Orthodox My
understanding is that in the Hildesheimer Seminary, several areas of
biblical inquiry were pursued that would clearly be considered problematic
by more traditionally minded, and these studies were approved of by Rav
Hildesheimer and Rav Hoffman, although Rav Hirsch disagreed. I would
have put the current argument in the context of this older machloket.

Meir Shinnar

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