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Volume 08 : Number 119

Monday, March 4 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 23:00:57 -0500
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
Re: Segulos

R' Micha Berger wrote <<< Thanks to RD[R]'s summary of what he thinks is my
position, I see why this argument is so difficult: I have not managed to
explain my perspective whatsoever. I'm not arguing that segulos prove the
existence of G-d. Rather they argue for the existence of a soul. >>>

Thanks for giving it another try. I do believe that I understand you
better now, but I think we'll end up agreeing to disagree.

I'll agree that belief in segulos requires a belief in a non-physical
world, and I'm willing to concede that this includes a belief in the
soul as well. Fortuitously for me, you have separated the two concepts
of G-d and soul; I'll get back to this in a moment.

<<< the major difference between physics and segulos is that one operate
in olam ha'asiyah, while the other involves higher olamos as well. So
witnessing segulos shows that we live in multiple layers of existance.
Arguing in favor of us having a soul, and are not merely clever mammals.
This shifts the whole balance between the yeitzer and the seichel, between
the nefesh beheimis and the neshamah E-lokis, between the yeitzer hatov
and the YhR. So, even without showing there's a G-d, it interferes with
bechirah. >>>

You seem to be saying that the soul's roots in the "upper olamos" makes
it predisposed towards the yetzer tov, a clear contradiction to a truly
free bechirah. But I do not see that at all. In my view, the neshama is
no more predisposed towards tov than the guf is predisposed towards ra.
And you can take that any way you want: either that they are both
neutral, or that their predispositions cancel each other out. Why not?
Both propositions seem equally logical to me. And either way, bechira
is preserved.

This fits in with your separation between the existence of G-d and
existence of soul: The neshama is *not* inherently good, as I see it.
Knowledge of its existence therefore does not rob us of our bechira.

<<< Last, physical law can be experienced. Much of it is induced from
daily experience. Babies learn that one shouldn't to crawl over the edge
of a bed at quite a young age. Or that throwing food over the edge of
the tray makes it fall. Fire burns. Etc... Common repeatable events. ...
Friction allows us to walk without sliding, etc... Segulah has a parallel
to higher physics, but there are no set of rules of segulah that can be
derived natively without conscious study. >>>

On this point I feel like I'm on shakier ground, but I'll share my
thoughts anyway: I wonder if we've been brainwashed by modern science.
Perhaps "brainwashed" is too harsh a word. My point is that concepts like
gravity and friction are so natural to us that it is very difficult for
us to imagine what things were like before they were discovered.

For millenia, babies figured out not to go over the edge. And animals
learn not to go over the cliff. Did no one know this before Isaac Newton?

I believe that Newton developed a way of explaining why things fall, and
many people saw that his explanation was better than the previous one.
But there *was* a previous one. It was one which we moderns delight in
making fun of, but it surely made sense to the people of the times.
People saw patterns then no less than they see them now. And they
developed explanations for those patterns. Explanations as complex and
as reasonable to them as ours are to us.

You write that <<< there are no set of rules of segulah that can be
derived natively without conscious study. >>> And my point very simply
is that this is equally true of the rules of physical science. Bechira
is preserved, as long as the individual *thinks* he understands the rules
of how the world works, whether it really follows those rules or not.

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Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 11:54:16 -0500
From: "Stein, Aryeh" <AStein@wtplaw.com>
RE: Nishama should have an aliya

> ...the standard statement to the "celebrant" is "the nishama should have
> an aliya". I had always associated both these elements with chassidic
> tradition. Am I correct in this? If so, is there a mitnagdic equivalent
> of "the nishama should have an aliya" to be said. Also given the gemora
> (IIRC) calling for fasting on the yahrtzeit, what is the source of
> the tikkun?

(I think we may have discussed this before, but....) AFAIK, on a person's
yahrtzeit, the neshamah has the potential to rise to a higher level in
shomayim; at the same time, the neshamah is also judged each year on
the yahrtzeit. It is supposed to help the neshamah if people do mitzvos
"l'ilui nishmas" the niftar. I don't know that this is (or ever was)
strictly a chasidish custom.

As for making a tikkun instead of fasting, I believe R' Yaakov Kaminetzky,
zecher/zaicher tzadik livracha, used to explain as follows: Really, one
should fast on the yahrtzeit. However, given our relatively weak state
of health, the minhag evolved to make a siyum on the yahrtzeit, thereby
allowing the person to eat and make a seudas siyum instead of fasting.
As time went on, people forgot about the siyim part of the whole thing
and instead just remembered that people make a seudah on a yahrtzeit.

However (as was discussed on Areivim/Avodah previously), there are still
many people who do fast on the yahrtzeit of a parent. (And, I presume,
there are still many people who still fast on "Behab").

KT and Gut Shabbos

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Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 12:15:21 -0500
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: Nishama should have an aliya

in Avodah V8 #118, JRich asked:
> If so, is there a mitnagdic equivalent of "the nishama should have an
> aliya" to be said.

Mai-inyan l'inyan, the point/counterpoint where I grew up (not sure
whether this wording is a German custom or strictly minhag Frankfurt)
was "ad bias haGo-ail/bimhairah b'yomainu."

All the best (incl. wishes for a wonderful Shabbos) from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ

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Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 13:14:19 -0500
From: Stuart Klagsbrun <SKlagsbrun@agtnet.com>
RE: Nishama should have an aliya

On Friday, March 01, 2002 11:54 AM, Stein, Aryeh <AStein@wtplaw.com>
> As for making a tikkun instead of fasting, I believe R' Yaakov Kaminetzky,
> zecher/zaicher tzadik livracha, used to explain as follows: Really, one
> should fast on the yahrtzeit. However, given our relatively weak state
> of health, the minhag evolved to make a siyum on the yahrtzeit, thereby
> allowing the person to eat and make a seudas siyum instead of fasting.
> As time went on, people forgot about the siyim part of the whole thing
> and instead just remembered that people make a seudah on a yahrtzeit.

I have heard that in 'der heim' there was a real to'eles in putting out a 
mashkeh and mezonos (and a little herring, for the wealthier folks) in shul 
on the morning of a yahrtzeit. As there were people who might otherwise not 
get a meal until evening. The chesed of the meal eaten by the aniyim was 
thus done in the zchus of the niftar.


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Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 12:45:53 +1100
From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
neshamos of niftarim "come down"

From: Joelirich@aol.com
> Where is the maqor for saying
> that the neshamos of niftarim "come down" to join in their descendents
> simachos. ...Yet clearly the perception is that niftarim do
> "come down" - any sources?

I understand that the chassidishe seforim bring this b'shem the Zohar.

(I heard that at a chasuna in London once, an alteh kligeh yideneh there
advised the guests to sew up their pockets...
She said: "I knew the zeidas of these mechutonim well..
and they were a bunch of ganovim...")

OTOH IIANM, the privilege of attending chasunas of children and
grandchildren is extended only to tzadikim - and not to your average punter.


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Date: Fri, 01 Mar 2002 13:08:13 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Work in Progress, from Purim onto Pesach

Hama"n in gimatriya is 95 and so is Hamelec"h, and of course zeh l'ummas
zeh osoh Elokim - which is why hamelec"h stam in the Megillah is Melech
Malchei ha'Melochim and why Sofrim are mehadder to make "Hamelech"
megillos. The difference is in the nun sofis - a straight line that
goes beneath the line, and is therefore a straight path to the area
called "ragleha yordos movess" - and a nefila sofis (which is why Dovid
*Hamelec"h* excluded nun from Ashrei except in the context of its tikkun -
"somech noflim"). In Hamelec"h, the nun is split ito lamed-chof sofis. The
lamed is unique in that it is the "migdal ha'porei'ach bo'avir" - the
only letter that goes above the line of the other letters (which is
why it caused so much trouble in early Hebrew word processors - there
is no parallel letter in the English language) - and is comprised of a
chof topped by a vav - the vav ha'chibbur of Limmud Torah that connects
Elyonim and Tachtonim. The connection via the lamed allows the final
letter to be a chof sofis - as opposed to a nun, it has a broad top -
firmly anchored, as opposed to barely anchored - the lamed anchors
the chof sofis in place, giving it greater capacity to overwhelm the
difficulties of ragleha yordos movess.

Al pi derech tzachus, "Me she'yesh lo monoh rotzeh mosa'im" - "Monoh" =
"Haman"; "Mosa'im = "Ama'sa'im" (Two Amos). In the middos of Parashas
Terumah the Shulchan was two amos long, but the Aron was two and a half
amos long. The shulchan alludes to material wealth, but the Aron alludes
to the connection forged by Torah with this world. Haman is interested
in the material world, but we must transcend that.

In the total measurements of the Aron and the Kapporess there are
twice two and a half (2 X 250) and three times one and a half (3
x 150). Although Chazal in Sukkah learn a midda for the Kappores's
thickness, the Torah itself gives no such measure. Do the math: the total
of all meaures of the Aron is 950. The two 250's obviously connotes two
neiros (NR = 250), which are the ner of Torah and the ner Hashem nishmas
Adam that the Aron weds together. How is this done? By three times 150.

Reb Tzadok expands on 150 both in Kometz Ha'Mincha 18a and Dover
Tzedek 9a. Of course, the talmid vosik in Yavneh, IIRC Rabbi *Meir*
was able to be metaher es ha'sheretz with 150 reasons. The teiva held
150 time the 40 se'ah of a mikveh and so did the Yam she'oso Shlomo.

The Maharal (and, of course, Reb Tzadok) says that the number 300 in
Chazal represents a guzma in matters of Olam ha'Zeh. 400 is beyond
(21st vs. 22nd letter).

Last year we wrote:

>R' Tzadok brings that the first time a concept is mentioned in the Torah 
>is the shoresh of that inyan. The word "Kahal" appears for the first time 
>in the Torah in Shemos 12, in the context of Korban Pesach.

>The Sidduro shel Shabbos at the end of Shoresh  6 Anaf 1 explains the 
>statement in Tehillim "Tehilaso b'Kahal Chassidim" that through Kahal, the 
>gevuros become chasadim. He explains that in KH"L the H = the five 
>gevuros, and the K-L = the five chasadim (5x26 [Shem Havaya"h] = 130. Note 
>the significance of a other 130's, such as "Tzam' - fasts turn gevuros 
>into chasadim). He alludes to what is brought in seforim that in davening, 
>a t least, one should clasp one's left hand with and envelope it in the 
>right - enveloping the gevuros in the chasadim.

>This past Purim I expounded on the idea of "NiKHaLu ha'Yehudim" as the 
>fundamental concept of Purim, and that many of the incidents in Purim took 
>place in various forms of "chatzer". Indeed, the first place in Tanach 
>that Adar is mentioned is in Parashas Mas'ei: "Chatzar Adar".

>The Chatzer is the Outer World, removed from the direct presence of the 
>King - whether it be Achashveirosh or HKB"H.

>Chatzer also tells us how to deal with the Hester Panim inherent in that 
>distance from HKB"H. The R represents Rah, the Evil that springs from the 
>concealment of HKB"H's presence. CHaTZeR = Chetz Rah, split the Rah in 
>half. Half Rah = Kahal (270/2 = 135). The response to Rah, and the manner 
>in which one breaks through that concealment, is by unifying the Kahal 
>(135) in Tzom (136), Kol  (136), Mammon (136) - the KHL plus the agent of 
>yichud (known in gematriyah as the "Kollel").

>Adar is a time of Chatzar, but Nisan is a bechina of "Hevi'ani ha'Melech 
>Chadarav"  - the great Ohr of the Seder night. Lo l'chinam did the  actual 
>event of Purim occur on Pesach! The mitzvos of Kiddush ha'Chodesh and 
>Korbon Pesach united Am Yisroel: first via the Beis Din concept, then 
>via  each and every individual. The Korbon Pesach is  done en masse and 
>eaten b'chaburah. Ho b'ho talyah. The Ohr only comes to a Kahal and only a 
>Kahal can be zocheh to the Ohr.

>Tein l'Chochom v'yechkam od...

I would like to add (more on this in later e-mails) that Matzah in
gimatriya is also 135, and Oni, as spelled in the Torah (chaser), as in
*Lechem Oni* is 130. As we shall see, lechem oni does not necessarily
mean bread of poverty.

The same principle applies here - except that Rah is evil, but Rah plus
the Lamed (270+30) - the connection to the Elyonim - is the total of Olam
Ha'Zeh (as opposed to the last mishna in Shas - each tzaddik gets 310
olamos, VEKM"L). But half of 300 is the 150 which helps to break open
the secret of this world and see its nature "me yiten tahor me'tmaeh"
- the sheretz, too, is a precursor to tahara - "leika *nehora* k'ha'he
d'nofak mego chashocho."

We will get more into this IY"H, but Esther's depair is captured by "lo
nikreisi lavo el ha'Melech zeh Shloshim yom" - thirty is the totality
of the lunar cycle from ebb to ebb - of course, the chiddush of the
Adar- Nissan continuum and "Dovid Melech Yisroel chai v'kayam" is that
everything is cyclical and "na'utz sofan b'techiloson," but Mo'adei
Tisroel are generally on the 15th of the month - the high point of
hisgalus, the moon in its fullness.

Why three times 150? This we shall leave for the moment. More on this
when we get to Pesach.

But, of course, 95 or 950 is not complete. The extra Heh is,of course, the
Heh of Olam ha'Zeh that connects to the Hamelec"h - and that is present
in the Megillah in HaMalka"h - which you can follow in Esther after she
puts on Malchus (the middah of this world "Malchus Shad-dai"). And of
course if Hamelec"h is from above, then Hamalka"h is from below - the
bechina of "Nekeivah tesovev gever" - the hisgabrus of dinim mitigated by
our supplications from below - captured in the Megillah by "Tzom" - the
"Tzom'o lecho nafshi" that breaks through the Tzimtzum - and which will,
of course bring us to Pesach (and, of course, the tzomos were on Pesach)
because in Matzoh the Tzaddik and Mem are reversed (and equal 130 as
well). We will have to correlate that to Metzach, Matzaz, Matza as in
"Matza u'Meriva" etc. v'od chazon la'mo'ed.

And that is pshat "V'Haman niv'as lifnei Hamelec"h v'Hamalka"h" - the Y-H
of Hamelech, connected by the V - once more - to the H of Hamalka"h. Our
"eitz chamishim amah" - the chamishim she'arim of bina that we add to
male up the 1000 to the Aron - overcame his eitz.

More IY"H to follow. But it is Erev Shabbos!

Kol Tuv,
ygb@aishdas.org      http://www.aishdas.org/rygb

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Date: Sun, 03 Mar 2002 00:33:51 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Work in Progress, from Purim onto Pesach II

Need some more brainstorming on this one, but, for starters:

There is an interesting thing about many Letter Tzaddi (or Tzaddik)
based words - they connote some measure of constriction or pressure. For
example: "Hinei zeh omed achar kosleinu mashgi'ach min ha'chalonos
MEITZITZ min ha'charackim" - the word MEITZITZ means to look through a
narrow aperture or to squint.

There seems to be a distinction between similar types of words in this
category: Mem-Tzaddi words vs. Tzaddi-Mem words. The M-TZ words, such as
Motzatz imply applying pressure or squeezing (perhaps via the connotation
of the Mem prefix - "From" - i.e., "from something to squeeze") while the
TZ-M words, such as Tzameh, thirsty, imply the void created as a result
(i.e., "what is the result of the squeezing process"). The distinction,
however, seems somewhat arbitrary, and needs some fine-tuning.

All of this likely has to do with the more esoteric concept of a tzaddik
(without getting into the exact appellation of the letter, the Gemara in
Shabbos links it to the tzaddik persona), who is the gibbor ha'kovesh -
applies pressures to - yitzro. I think in the Kabbalistic system also,
the "tzaddik yesod olam" represents the narrowed pathway through which
the shefa flows back and forth from the upper sefiros to malchus and vice
versa. 90 is a 10 (shleymus) multiple of 9, and yesod is the ninth sefira.

Phonetically, the pronunciation of the tzaddi also sounds and requires
the tongue to squeeze the palate.

Thus, a word like Matzah probably pertains to the pressure applied to
the dough to prevent its rising - which is why an alternate meaning of
the word is an altercation, in which two parties apply pressure to one
another. "Le'matzos" means to pour out completely - extracting every
last drop from a barrel, and, of course Mitz is the result of Metzitzah,
which extracts juice, and Tamtzis is essence. And, of course, Meitzar
is a narrowed space. A Metziah is something that came through a process
of narrowing your search until you hit upon the found object.

OTOH, Tzameh, as before, means a void experienced because liquid has been
drained from you, and tzom is similar in connotation. Tzimtzum thus is
the result - the void - which occurs after Hashem removed His presence
from the conscious dimension of existence (could be that we speak about
Tzimtzum with the tzaddi preceding the mem because we do not, C"V, which
to imply that Hashem truly extracted His presence from the Beriyah,
but rather that our perception is that that is the case.

Chametz, thus, is either the destruction (ches connoting churban)
or transcendence (ches connoting that which rises above the normal
natural process - 7 vs. 8) of the M-TZ process - the kneading and
working the dough is arrested and the dough is allowed to rise. Metzach
is a fascinating opposite, as it seems to connote that the forehead
contains and constrains the brain, but at the same time expresses it,
as in "chochmas ha'partzuf" (BTW, the Peh-Tzaddi combo is fascinating,
as a Peh seems to connote openness - so Peh-Tzaddi is a "busting out
of confines" - "U'poratzto" or "Potzeh" - while the Tzaddi-Peh combo
connotes a narowness - for a vaster purpose - like a "tzofeh" who squints
in order to see further.

So Matzoh is "Lechem Oni" not just because poor people eat it -
but because it is itself afflicted and pounded in order to prevent
it from rising. And, the way Oni is spelled in Devaim 16:10, chaser,
it is in gimatriya 130 - the numerical value of the chasadim (5 x 26)
in the Sidduro shel Shabbos's analysis of the word Kahal that we cited
earlier in this series (BTW, the gimatriya of the gevuros (5 x 86 - shem
Elokim - would be 430 - the number the Chumash gives for our sojourn in
Mitzrayim - the land of Meitzar). Were Oni to be spelled with a vav it
would, of course, be the same as Tzom, Kol, Mammon, but it's not.

All of which is leading us to the essence of Matzoh, which brings us,
however, first, to correlate 135 - the gimatriya of Matzoh ( and Kahal)
to the gimatriya of 150 which is metaher the sheretz. I will leave that
for a further e-mail, but make some preliminary points for now:

1. Y-H, Chazal say, is the name with which the Universe was create ("BY-H
Hashem tzur olamim" - this actually leads me to suspect that when Chazal
tell us ein ha'sehm shalem ad she'yimocheh zar'o shel Amalek, it is the
*first* heh and vav that are missing, not the second heh). Olam ha'Boh
with a yud and Olam ha'Zeh with a heh.

2. Reb Tzadok in explaining 150 says that all things are comprised
of "rosh, sof vo'emtza" (BTW, sheer tangent, 50 is also in gimatriya
"tameh"). He also notes there that the yam she'oso Shlomo contained 150
mikva'os tahara, and the teiva of No'ach contained 150,000 mikva'os
(450K cubic amos, and a mikva is three cubic amos) and, of course,
the water rose for 150 days.

3. 150 is the 10 multiple of Y-H, 135 is the nine - tzaddik - multiple
of Y-H.

4. On another tangent - those who fight Esav and Amalek - Yosef
*ha'tzaddik* and Yehoshua - both have lifespans of 110 - the missing
vav-heh (6+5=11x10=110)?

More IY"H to follow.

(I am b'ccing quite a few people on this . If you think I am totally off
the wall and that these ruminations are a manifestation of that insanity,
please let me know and I will remove your address!)

Kol Tuv,
ygb@aishdas.org      http://www.aishdas.org/rygb

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Date: Sat, 2 Mar 2002 22:10:07 -0600
From: "Amihai & Tamara Bannett" <atban@inter.net.il>
Re: calendar

It is interesting to note that the Rambam says in Sefer HaMitzvot Mitzvat
Ase 153, which is Mitzvat Kidush HaHodesh, that the whole Kiyum of Kidush
HaHodesh at our time is from the Bet Din in Eretz Yisrael that set the
calendar, and if, theoretically, there would be no Jews in EY this Minyan
would be Batel!
Ayen Sham Baarichut, and also in Shu"t Hatam Sofer, O"H 213, and sefer
Em haBanim Smecha pp. 154-5 (Mossad Harav Kook ed.)
Kol Tuv,
Amihai Bannett

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Date: Sat, 2 Mar 2002 23:14:36 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Rashi question

Why does Rashi in this week's parasha (33:13) stress so much that Moshe
Rabbenu was interested in the sachar of going bedarchei Hashem?


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Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 12:37:42 -0500
From: "Yitzchok Willroth" <willroth@voicenet.com>
Re: neshamos of niftarim "come down"

> Where is the maqor for saying
> that the neshamos of niftarim "come down" to join in their descendents
> simachos. ...Yet clearly the perception is that niftarim do
> "come down" - any sources?

If I recall correctly, it was mentioned at a Shabbos sheva berachos
that I attended this past Shabbos as being discussed in the Meiri to
the Gemara's discussion in Brochos of the first of the sheva berachos.

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