Avodah Mailing List

Volume 08 : Number 089

Friday, January 11 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2002 21:31:03 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@ymail.yu.edu>
Subject:
Re: Elu vaelu/pluralism


Reb  Daniel Eidensohn wrote:
> time an identity...However when you go beyond human intellect a
> multiplicity can be a unity..."

Whadda?! This convoluted logic flies is contrary to much of our halakhik 
decision making, and definitely unacceptable in the eyes of the Jewish 
philosophers. Just imagine if you were to tell Rambam that concerning the 
ikkarm, well, a multiplicity can be unity and disagreement can be identity. 
Or, just try to tell that to our esteemed RRW ;-).

Seriously, halakhik decision making relies on the notion that we can apply
sevarah to arrive at conclusions, and that that svarah can distinguish
between Torah and nonsense (aka boikh svures, called thus because they are
as contorted as the kishkes). Positing that we can maintain a pluralism
of shittot because logic is really not required means we might as well
put 75% of tshuvot (or more) in genizah, ra'hmana litslan. There ought
to be better ways to explain pluralism, such as

Reb Eli Turkel's suggesion:
<Similarly, I would define pluraism among Jews as my way is fine for
me but there are many ways within Torah Judaism as long as they meet
certain minimum principles. There is no need to admit I may be wrong
any more than we would tell a potential convert, don't convert because
we may be wrong. Instead we tell him don't convert because what is good
for us is not necessarily good for you.>

RDE:
> I recently asked Rabbi Shabtsai Rappaport about Rav Dovid Feinstein's
> conceptualization of halacha. His response was that Reb Dovid was totally
> immersed in halacha and would not understand how to express himself in
> academic conceptual boxes which are alien to the world of pure Torah. I
> have heard similar statements about the Greek nature of Brisker learning.

Could you elaborate about RDF's conceptualization of halakhah? I am
unaware of what you are talking about.

Arie Folger


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Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2002 21:42:24 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@ymail.yu.edu>
Subject:
Re: Elu vaelu


> 2- Perhaps the same idea in different words: We often say that once the
>    mal'ach hamaves is given permission to act r"l, he can hit
>    indiscriminately. For example, once Klal Yisrael is getting an onesh
>    r"l, even innocents may die in it.
>    Why shouldn't Refa'el have similar rules?

The way I explain it, is that there are two types of hashga'hah,
hashga'hah pratit and hashga'hah klalit.

HP is not just about Ribono shel 'olam saving a tzaddik, it means that an
individual and his actions matter, and he is judged accordingly. It is
the habitual "haShofet kol haaretz lo ya'aseh mishpat?", and includes
'hessed which an individual may deserve even though he is 'hayyav,
because he is a ba'al 'hessed, etc.

HK is the equivalent but for the klal. Just as there can be a judgment for
or against an individual, so can there be for a group, on various levels.

I understand the statement of TB BK 60a keivan shenitnah reshut lamash'hit
eino mav'hin bein tzaddik lerashah as saying when there is a gezeirah
against the klal, individual zekhuyot will help you relatively, but won't
be sufficient to definitely escape the gezeirah; it is the klal that was
indicted. The tzaddik must walk betzidei haderekh and possibly retreat
'ad ya'avor za'am in order to save himself from the mash'hit gone on a
rampage. It is this way that I understand why good people suffer during
national tragedies (although there are many other factors, such as special
ta'anah against a tzaddik because he is expected to act differently
during times of gezeirah, and said tzaddik fell short on his level).

Nu, what does the 'hevrah think, and what does this have to do with
elu vaelu

Arie Folger


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Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2002 21:45:46 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@ymail.yu.edu>
Subject:
Re: gezeirot


RMB wrote:
> But I don't know if the situations really need to be as different as all
> that. As RAM writes, the difference between being in a new situation vs
> being in the same situation w/out the cheshah arising is subtle. I do not
> know where to draw the line exactly.

The difference is important. The reason why we don't repeal gezeirot
is because we don't have the power of Sanhedrin, and thus are mindful
of even the early post Sanhedrin gezeirot (BTW are there any, or do
we claim that they are all of Sanhedrin?). If we can find a technical
reason to claim that we still respect 'Hazal's gezeirot, than that is
sufficient to permit a loophole around it.

Arie Folger


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Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002 17:14:22 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Selichot - correction


In a message dated 1/9/02 4:31:34am EST, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com writes:
> 2) My complaints about liturgy in general is that while it IS OK to
> skip certain pasages due to Time/Tircha, it is IMHO NOT OK to re-write
> or omit traditional pasages. 

Should read:

2) My complaints about liturgy in general is that while it IS OK to
   skip certain pasages due to Time/Tircha, it is IMHO NOT OK to re-write
   or omit traditional pasages <<IN THE TEXT ITSELF.>>

Regards and Kol Tuv,
RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com


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Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002 17:45:00 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Subject:
Halachik methodology - Minhag


See Arvei Pesachim: 
R. Yochanans' comments:
103A Nahagu ha'am keveiss Hillel v'aliba de R. Yehudah

AND

104A: v'nahagu ha'am shalosh

In 103A R. Yochanan's tatement is coinstrued as the TANNAITTIC source for 
Rava saying Bsamim before Ma'or.  This is to answer the difficulty:
How could Rava do Bsamim first when it is a Mishna in Brachos that BOTH Beis 
Shammai and Beis Hillel concur that Ma'or comes first

The Gmara in 103A answers that this is Mishnas R. Meir and brings a Tosefta 
that R. Yehuda has a different version of hte Machlokes between BS and BH.  
So far no problem.  But how does it come about that a STAM Mishana is set 
aside as being ONLY R. Meir's - in favor of a Tosefta that is like R. 
Yehudah?  R. Yochanan tells us that: Nahagu like R. Yehuda's version of BH.  
But perhaps this minhag was ta'us?  Also how did if come out that within just 
2 generations of R. Meir and R. Yehudah that the minhag was already like R. 
Yehudah DESPITE the Mishnah {i.e. R. Yehudah Hanassi} being soseim like R. 
Meir?

The clue to this mystery is in 104A lefi the Rashbam.
There is a "Meisivi: on R. El'azar b'R. Oshiyah re: that 3 phrases of 
havdalah constitute the minimum.

The ONLY Tannaitic source is R. Yochanan's "Nahagu"
how does this help R. El'azar?
Rashbam: The Tannaim that were in his day argued on him {i.e. R. Menachem b. 
Simai}. and the people did {so} on their word {psak} - Behold another Tanna 
{IOW a Tannaittic source}

IOW R. Yochanan construed the minhag here as PRESUPPOSING that it was based 
upon un-named Tanna'im who disagreed with one being the minimum and therefore 
was BOTH 
1) a Tannaitic source - despite having no name
AND
2) Was normative

Bottom line:
According to this, When we have a  Minhag 
A) that is nispashet
and
B) is in conflict with extablished texts

We PRESUME that it is based upon
X) Contemporary {albeit anonymous} authority  
Y) To be normative

This explains many minhaggim in Ashkenaz that conflict with texts and 
especially those dealt with by Tosafos.  IOW there is a presumpton of a psak 
setting a precedent, amd not that the minhag was a groundswell based upon a 
Ta'us.  

Of course Rashbam fits into that School.  It is also possible that R. 
Yochanan - as perhaps the single most influential amorah (quais-Tanna!) of 
the Yerushalmi - is the source for this idea of "Minhag as Tannaitic Source." 
 Yet it is also quite clear that the Bavli - at least in Psachim - goes along 
with this methodology.

-------------------------------

As someone noted that Minhag devloped FROM the people.  AISI this cannot be 
enough WHEN it is conflict with Classic normative Authortitative Texts such 
as Mishnah, Gmara, and even Shulchan Aruch.  For a Minhag to over-rule 
established Halachah we must presume it is a remnant of an anonymous Psak.  
And we then do our best to re-constitute the underlying premise.  This is 
IIRC the Aruch Hashulchan's method in defending those who do NOT sit in the 
Sukkah on Shmini Atzeres.   

Tangentially on 104A we pasken like Shumel over Rav re: the Chasima of 
Havdalah. Does anyone know it cmae about that we favor Shmuel over Rav in 
this matter which is clearly not dinei mamannos?  


Regards and Kol Tuv,
RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com


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Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002 18:32:31 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Subject:
Halachic Methodology and Brisk


In a message dated 12/27/01 1:02:40pm EST, David Finch DFinchPC@aol.com writes:
> Even for the Briskers, I should think, "halachic evolution" is an
> oxymoron if predicated on textual sources only. At least theoretically
> the actual practices involved in halacha can literally change, of course,
> from a reconsideration of text alone i.e., a rehashing of machlokess
> in the laboratory conditions of a Brisk yeshiva. But laboratory change
> doesn't mean "evolve." The latter implies something more complicated,
> something that interacts with all the influences of the world at large,
> including political upheaval, migration, social and communitarian
> concerns, interaction with goyishe culture, etc., etc.

> RYBS didn't exactly deny this. He simply wanted to live within a purified
> Judaism that stood above it.

It is my conclusion that RYBS and Brisk just ignored historical timelines
re: how Halachhs came about.

By relying upon certain theories and constructs, they retrofit certain
dinnim in avleilus on Sfria and the 4 ta'anisim that completely overlook
how Halachah got from point A to point B.

I have been working on the followin hypothesis for over 2 years:
The minhaggim of aveilus in Sfira were originally based upon treating
Sfira as a quasi- chol- Hamoed and only LATER were inyannim of Aveilus
super-imposed. {the simple explanation is the Crusades but apparently
a tshuva from the Gaonim - Rav Hai iirc was published before the Crusaes.

This is based upon the sources - early and late saying miktzas Aveilus which 
specficially included:
1) no Nissu'in
2) no taspores
3) limits on Mlacha.

It so happens that these 3 restrictions in Moed Katan fit BOTH aveilus
and chol Hamoed.

It also happens that - based upon an article by Mitchell First on Lag
Ba'moer -that kullos were sought to make sfira less onerous and therfore
all 49 days were reduced to a rov, etc.

 From what I heard besheim RYBS that aveillus SHOULD BE construed
to include simha meirei'us. But it is obvious from sources that this was
NOT a takkanah/ gzeira of aveilus rooted in Shas. - So to superimpose
that idea is to overlook what actually took place.

And I have no doubt that HKBH in His infintie Wisdom and irony - Midah
knegged Midha - gave RYBS a son who sepciallizeds DAVKA in the histoical
mimetic constructs that I feel the Brisker school. RYBS" svara is
brilliant if svara were the impetus of aveilus in Sfira. But it is
obvious that they ONLY did miktzas aveilus and that such retro-active
retrofitting in order to fit into a Talmudic construct are brilliant
but also irrelevant. This evolved as a post-Talmudic Minhag.

The link to R. Akiva's Talmiddim has its place no doubt, but the idea that
it was a takkanah in the standard format of Aveilus is a logical leap.

One of our listmembers once took the time - in private - to explain
to me how poskim can ignore history completely to arrive at Halachic
decisions. I have not been able to fathom "sof da'atam" and so this
technique of halachah w/o history - remains a mystery to me. --smile--

My Halachic methodology favors the way the Beis Yosef and the Aruch
Hashulchan survey sources chronologically. and no doubt the Beis Yosef
probably favored the Kessef Mishnah's apporach to answering shver Rambam's
over the Brisker technique! --smile--

Regards and Kol Tuv,
RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com


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Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 17:44:47 +0200
From: "Ari Z. Zivotofsky" <zivotoa@mail.biu.ac.il>
Subject:
raindows


We have had much gishmei bracha here in israel over the last 4 days.
Because of this I saw two magnificent rainbows stretched across the
whole
sky two days ago. I am familiar with the gemara that a rainbow is a
negative omen (and also "decreases one's vision") indicating that HKB"H
had "thoughts" of another mabul but "remembered" his promise. I find
that to be quite a negative outlook on
such a beautiful natural phenomenon. Is that the sum total of Judaism's
traditional attitude or is that a daas yachid? Are there other sources
that explain it more positively?


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Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 20:46:22 +0200
From: "Shlomoh Taitelbaum" <sjtait@barak-online.net>
Subject:
Re: rainbows


> We have had much gishmei bracha here in israel over the last 4 days.
> Because of this I saw two magnificent rainbows stretched across the whole
> sky two days ago. I am familiar with the gemara that a rainbow is a
> negative omen (and also "decreases one's vision") indicating that HKB"H
> had "thoughts" of another mabul but "remembered" his promise. I find
> that to be quite a negative outlook on
> such a beautiful natural phenomenon. Is that the sum total of Judaism's
> traditional attitude or is that a daas yachid? Are there other sources
> that explain it more positively?

See Ramban Parshas Noach on rainbows: Rainbows are a natural occurence
only since the Mabul; the os is really that in a Dor of a great tzaddik
there is no rainbow. The reason not to look at a rainbow is positive
enough--it is considered to be a quasi-gilui haSh'china. Shlomoh


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Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 11:50:33 -0500
From: "Michael Frankel" <michaeljfrankel@hotmail.com>
Subject:
Re: G'dolim as a sociological class and R Shach z"l


From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il>
<... I'm not sure I understand what you mean by this. The CI did not
have a Yeshiva. R. Elyashiv does not have one. R. Shach certainly had
one, RSZA had one, RMF had one, RYK had one. AFAIK most Gdolim had/have
a Yeshiva. Most are involved in some sort of chessed work. Can you
elaborate? >

Well, yes. You mention CI, r elyoshiv and other contemporary/near
contemporary talmidei chakhomim. I specifically mentioned "previous
centuries". I have been musing over the collectivization of a class of
"g'dolim", i.e. even the notion that such a noun existed with a specific
referent to a group of talmidei chakhomim united by something. My initial
thought was that it was entirely a sociological creation of the agudah
movement early in the century, but my next reflection places it within
the context of the liberalization of the hungarian polity in the latter
part of the 19th century and the self organization of the various jewish
sub groups to support, oppose, or attemp to influence its direction as
it affected the jewish population. The issue of religious reform was also
intimately intertwined in these proceedings and I've lately been thinking
of the remarkable meeting of hungarian qano'im (but then I repeat myself),
organized by r. hillel lichtenstein which met in mikhailovitch and issued
a broad series of communal edicts (the hungarian ye'horeig v'al ya'avors,
e.g. marriages in shuls, bimah in center, shul choirs,...). It seems
to me that this group of talmidei chakhomim must be one of the first
that I can think of to take it upon themselves to issue broad communal
halokhik p'saqim on their own initiative, and function, kind of, as a
new authoritative class.

The classical model for a p'saq of course is that somebody else first had
to ask you a question, a traditional preliminary procedure apparently
dispensed with by charedi circles in this century. But nevertheless,
even that hungarian group generally represented people who had jobs other
than running a yeshivoh. while there are many instances of a group of
rabbonim signing on to declarations, usually in response to a request
by a local bais din or rov involved in some dispute which eventually
engaged a broader involvement -- e.g. some of the famous get cases,
or the emden eybeshutz affair. But those did not involve rabbonim who
considered themselves as part of some separate collective. Does any one
know when the very term "g'dolim" was used as such a collective noun
for roshei yesivoh of different institutions? it seems to have entered
the language but i believe its a rather a novel expression.

Mechy Frankel 			 W: (703) 588-7424
michaeljfrankel@hotmail.com 	 H: (301) 593-3949
michael.frankel@osd.mil


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Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 08:52:17 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Subject:
Re: Daas Torah


Yitzchok Willroth wrote:
> For thos of you following along at home, I'm _still_ waiting to hear
> a single legitimate example that is both (a) of sufficient import to
> expect someone to seek advice from _anyone_ and (b) is free of halachic
> implications.

There is a story (I don't recall whether in R. Dov Katz's book or Rabbi
Dessler's book) that when R. Yisrael Salanter got married he and his
wife agreed that he would decide questions of milei d'shmaya and she
would decide all other questions. They soon discovered that all the
questions they discussed were milei d'shmaya.

My guess is that, if you look hard enough, you'd have trouble finding
any practical question that is important and free of halachic implications
(l'afukei questions like is Euler's constant transcendental).

Of course it's partly a matter of temperament whether you choose to
describe these questions as halachic or as questions of "daas Torah"
(in some undefined sense).

David Riceman


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Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 11:47:34 -0800
From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@colorado.edu>
Subject:
shabbat clocks


But no Gadol is infallible, And even when we concede that RMF was the
poseik hador it does not mean we HAVE to follow him e.g. legabei shabbos
clocks for lights only

I understand that RMF himself changed his mind in later teshuvot mainly
based on his observation that shabbat clocks were so prevalant that
everyone would assume that any melacha was done by the shabbat clock.

BTW I saw in MiPeneniei Hatorah that RYBS disagreed with the heter
from shemirat shabbat to change shabbat clocks on shabbat and yom tov
(forward or backward depending on the case) and felt that this was not
a case of grama but of koacj acher meurav bo which is prohibited.

-- 
Eli Turkel, turkel@colorado.edu on 1/10/2002


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Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 15:48:34 -0500
From: Arie Folger <afolger@ymail.yu.edu>
Subject:
Re: gezeirot


RCS wrote:
> Arie Folger wrote:
>> The difference is important. The reason why we don't repeal gezeirot
>> is because we don't have the power of Sanhedrin, and thus are mindful
>> of even the early post Sanhedrin gezeirot (BTW are there any, or do
>> we claim that they are all of Sanhedrin?).

> Wouldn't the chumra of R. Zeira regarding shiva n'kiyim qualify as a
> post-Sanhedrin gzeira?

I don't know, as I have not studied this in sufficient iyun to feel
comfortable making such statements. However, one of the issues is whether
the Amoraim had semikhah, and if so, whether the gezeirah of musmakhim,
in absence of a Sanhedrin, is still of greater stature than what we could
repeal. Rabi Zeira obviously seems to have had some semikhah ("rabbi"
Zeira). I did imply such restriction when adding in my original post "and
early post Sanhedrin gezeirot", but frankly, this matter is not so simple.

What does our eminent RRW think of this? (since he has done recently
some research in this area ;-))

Arie Folger


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Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 09:04:41 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Subject:
Re: halachic reasoning [note change in spelling]


Let me give a practical example and then try to expound my differences
with Rabbi Wolpoe. My impression is that it's much easier to understand
the gemaras on hair covering if one adopts the Tur's position that
it's required even for unmarried women. Nonetheless if someone asked
me I would tell them that the clear halachic tradition is like Rashi,
that the din applies only to married women. So far I believe that fits
comfortably with RRW's paradigm.

The problem is this. Why didn't Rashi adopt RRW's opinion? Why didn't
he explain the gemaras much more simply by applying them to all women,
and then elsewhere (in halachic context) tell his students that that
was lomdus, but al pi din we follow a different opinion?

I am suggesting that RRW is proposing a tremendous chiddush, that the
gemara is no longer a primary legal text. Does he have a source for
this chiddush?

Rabbi Zevin once suggested (in Ishim V'Sheetoth) that R. Chaim Soloveichik
refused to pasken just to avoid this dilemma. According to RRW he could
just have viewed his study as theoretical and paskened based on precedent
(admittedly RRW need not adopt RZ's view of Reb Chaim).

David Riceman


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Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 19:22:50 +0200
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il>
Subject:
Re: gezeirot


On 8 Jan 2002 at 21:45, Arie Folger wrote:
>>  .... As RAM writes, the difference between being in a new situation vs
>> being in the same situation w/out the cheshah arising is subtle. I do not
>> know where to draw the line exactly.

> The difference is important. The reason why we don't repeal gezeirot
> is because we don't have the power of Sanhedrin, and thus are mindful
> of even the early post Sanhedrin gezeirot (BTW are there any, or do
> we claim that they are all of Sanhedrin?). 

Wouldn't the chumra of R. Zeira regarding shiva n'kiyim qualify as a 
post-Sanhedrin gzeira?

-- Carl

Carl M. Sherer, Adv. Silber, Schottenfels, Gerber & Sherer
Telephone 972-2-625-7751 Fax 972-2-625-0461 eFax (US) 1-253- 423-1459


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Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 19:24:36 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Elu vaelu/pluralism


In a message dated 1/10/02 11:35:30am EST, afolger@ymail.yu.edu writes:
> Whadda?! This convoluted logic flies is contrary to much of our halakhik 
> decision making, and definitely unacceptable in the eyes of the Jewish 
> philosophers. Just imagine if you were to tell Rambam that concerning the 
> ikkarm, well, a multiplicity can be unity and disagreement can be identity. 
...
>            halakhik decision making relies on the notion that we can apply
> sevarah to arrive at conclusions, and that that svarah can distinguish
> between Torah and nonsense (aka boikh svures, called thus because they are
> as contorted as the kishkes)....

I bascially concur.

Multiplcity is IMHO mostly a funciton of communities - nahara nahara 
u'pashtei which really deserves a thread of its own with some research.

1) It is my personal convinction that within a community we have to have some 
kind of uniformity or convention - hence los sisgodeu in the same town

2) OTOH betwen communites uniformity is more nebulous

3) Post Holocaust communities have been largely homogenized, which makes a 
lot of my Minhagg constructs more difficult.  {FWIW The Breuer - Washington 
Heights Community and/or Elizabeth are 2 misnagdisehr exceptions}.

4) it is also my personal convictoin that hashkafah does not require 
conformtiy except on the broadest issues of ikkarim.

Professor Ya'akov Katz cites those who wore "empty" Tefillin boxes on Chol 
Hamoed in order not to deviate from conformity within a community.  Their 
conformity was ONLY in form and appearacne, obviously they held beshita that 
Tefillin on Chol Hamoed was a no-no and even went so far as not to surrender 
their POV lema'aseh. Neverthless, they did not offend communal standards.

It seems Kal vachomer that in matters of "Hashkafah only" that people can 
hold their own opinions.  Voicing them publically is of course another case.  
IOW - Madach I can fake wearing Tefillin using boxes w/o parshiyos on ChhM 
certainly I can hold my own ideas in the emptiness of my cranial cavity 
--smile-- 

Re: other communal conformities, I know people who are makpid on Breuer's 
Hashgachah within the confines of Washington Heights but will eat out at 
restaurants who have other hashgachos - so long as they are not at home. 

Regards and Kol Tuv,
RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com


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Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 12:22:11 -0500
From: "Zilberberg, David" <ZilbeDa@ffhsj.com>
Subject:
R' Kreiswirth zt'l


I don't think anybody posted this yet.  Here is R' Rotman's (the menahel at
Merkaz HaTorah) hesped for R' Kreiswirth zt'l, his rebbe muvhak in his
Skokie days.  I believe there will be a hespid Sunday night at the YI of
Midwood.  Don't who will be speaking.


                               Divrei Hesped 
                       given by Harav Rottman Shlita 

Our Chazal tell us that the giving of the Torah was predicated upon an
extraordinary degree of humility (Shabos 104A, Rashi).

This may relate to the fact that the majority of the 48 things with
which Torah is acquired are extensions of humility. It may also refer
to the fact that the knowledge of Torah can only be imparted by a
Rebbe to a talmid. Rashi explains the Mishna "To acquire a rebbe for
yourself" by saying "You shouldn't study by yourself, based upon your
own understanding, but from a rebbe who represents the Oral Tradition
of Klal Yisroel" (Avos Chp. 1,6).

The essence of this rebbe-talmid relationship is based upon humility. The
Mishna tells us that on the day that Rebbe Y'hoshua had to publicly
acknowledge that we was subordinating his halachic ruling to that of
Rabban Gamliel, Rabban Gamliel called him his talmid, because "you
are accepting my ruling over your own" (Rosh HaShona 25A). Because of
this expression of humility he was considered to be a student of Rabban
Gamliel. It is therefore obvious that the giving of Torah was predicated
upon humility for only then would it be able to be studied and transmitted
from one generation to another.

His humility was based upon his extraordinary appreciation of true Torah
greatness. While being in his Shiur, I once asked him how I might work on
humility. He answered by saying that he doesn't know how one can have "
gavah", "I look at a K'tzos, a Rebbe Akiva Aiger; I realize how brilliant
these people were, how is it possible to be arrogant?" He lived and
studied in a Beis Midrash together with the Tanaim and Amoraim of Bavli
and Y'rushalmi, Rishonim and Achronim. Humility came very easily to him.

I remember so very vividly, the day in Chicago, when he was maspied
the Chazon Ish ". When he finished the two hour oration which was so
exceptionally brilliant, moving and deeply emotional, he came over to
the table in the Beis Midrash where his shuer was sitting and said to us
"Men darf eitztart gein kein Eretz Yisroel zuchen a rebben". "We must
now go to Eretz Yisroel and look for a rebbe." The impact of those words
are with me to this day. Here was a G-dol B'Yisroel, known throughout
the world as a rare Torah genius, who had Bavli and Y'rushalmi at his
finger tips; that which was uppermost in his mind, at such a time was who
will now fill his personal need for a rebbe. I had thought many times,
that we learned how to be a talmid from our rebbe.

It took him over a year to come to the very considered decision that
Mercaz HaTorah should be established in the U.S. and not in Eretz
Yisroel. We were about to place a deposit upon a building, when I received
a phone call from him. "It is a very serious responsibility to decide
where to make the Yeshiva. Before we go further, I want to go to Eretz
Yisroel and consult with the Steipler "" The Steipler's opinion was
that we would not be able to succeed if we'd follow the plan of action
decided upon. He suggested another plan. The Rav accepted his opinion,
even though one could argue against it. When our efforts to concretize
the second plan did not succeed, it was decided to establish the Yeshiva
in Eretz Yisroel.

It made an indelible impression upon me, to see how a G-dol HaDor reversed
a decision that was a year in the making, and subordinated his opinion
to that of the Steipler "

 This is also illustrated in the following anecdote. I once had had a
discussion with a former talmid of the Rav " living in Eretz Yisroel. I
said that if the Rav " would live here he'd openly express his ideas
of chinuch in Eretz Yisroel, even if all other G'dolim would disagree. My
Chaver disagreed "Let's ask the Rav "", I said, "we don't have to
theorize." After posing the question to him, he answered by quoting a
Gemora in Shabbos 153A. "Rebbe Chanina says that a Ben Olam HaBah is a
person from whom his Rebbe has nachas. As long as the Steipler " would
agree with him he wouldn't care if all of the other G'dolim disagreed. If
however, the Steipler " would disagree than he would subordinate his
personal opinion for that of the Steipler "."

I remember so clearly the first time that we visited the Steipler "
together. He sat at the right hand of the Steipler with such a humble
demeanor, with such an aura of humility. It reminded me of a young child
who would be sitting at his grandfather's table.

The M'silas Y'sharim (Chp 22) divides the practical aspect of humility
into four categories. The first is to generally act with humility in
speaking, walking, sitting, etc. He always spoke to people in every walk
of life and in all circumstances "b'nachas", with a remarkable degree of
understanding, and compassion, with an exceptional sensitivity to the
issues and feelings at hand. Once when he was at our home for Shabbos,
a G'yorus was also at the table. As soon as I told him about her, he
immediately went over to the rebbetzin and told her that we have to be
especially careful as to how we speak during the meal because the young
women who will be present is a G'yorus.

His son-in-law recently told me that the Rav " had told him that
he had never become angry at any person. Obviously during a lifetime
of leadership in Klal Yisroel many things upset him greatly. What
he meant to say is that whenever he did become angry it was only an
external expression of anger, a facade, which is permitted (Rambam H'
Daos Chp. 2,3) but that he never "lost himself" in anger.

The second is to forgive insults. Rav Trager ", the Rosh Yeshiva in
Antwerp, mentioned that more than once someone had spoken disrespectfully
to the Rav " in his presence. Before he could say a word, the Rav
had already indicated to him that he should not answer him.

He once told me that a Rosh Yeshiva once publicly insulted him in Antwerp.
Several months later, when this person came to Antwerp to raise funds,
the Rav told him that in spite of what he did he was going to help him as
usual, because he always made it a practice to be a "maavier al midosov"
to forgive and forget personal slights and insults.

The third category is that the humble person runs from the limelight.
Although the Rav was obviously very much in the limelight due to his
personality and leadership role in Klal Yisroel, he never sought positions
or situations that would give him koved, quite to the contrary.

The fourth includes giving respect and honor to others. The kovod that
he showed to talmidei Chachamim and to bnei Torah and his talmidim was
legendary. But it extended to people in all walks of life.

I once drove him to the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach where he was going
to test the students. Throughout the drive he was concerned he shouldn't
be a cause for any student to become embarrassed.

I accompanied him as he checked into a Manhattan Hotel where he stayed
once or twice a year. I was amazed at how happy everyone was to see him,
the receptionist, the cashiers, the bell captain. It obviously reflected
the respect with which he related to them, and to the sense of well
being that he engendered within them.

Our Chazal tell us that Rachel Immeinu is particularly suited to intercede
before HaShem to end our Galus, because she was a "maaveir al midoseha",
when she gave the secret signs to her sister Leah.

May the Rav " also intercede before the Kisei HaKovod that HaShem
forgive Klal Yisroel and hasten the geula shelema, B'm'heeiro B'yameinu
Amen.


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Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 19:33:57 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Subject:
Re: Moshiach


In a message dated 1/10/02 9:24:49am EST RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com writes:
> I am saying let's focus upon the Ge'ulah w/o specualting as to who his 
> identity is 

FWIW, the MB in his Hakdamah ends with the follower tfillah:
V'nizkeh benechemas Tziyyon bimheira beyameinu - Omein:

Must be the MB himself paskened not to mention Davka Moshiach! -- smile -- 

Regards and Kol Tuv,
RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com


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