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Volume 09 : Number 036

Wednesday, May 22 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 20:47:54 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: RT vs science

On Wed, May 15, 2002 at 02:06:44PM -0400, Gil Student cited the URL
: Regarding science it's a machlokes.
:     http://www.aishdas.org/toratemet/science.html
There it says (in part):
> Spontaneous Generation
> Lice on Shabbat

> As mentioned earlier, the Talmud in Shabbat 107b asserts that it is
> permissible to kill lice on Shabbat because they are not generated
> from sexual reproduction. The passage reads as follows:
> 3. Case-By-Case Response

> As we explained above, R' Eliyahu Dessler considered this to be a case
> where the halacha preceded the science. Knowing already that one is
> permitted to kill lice on Shabbat, the sages tried to explain this
> based on the then-established reality of spontaneous generation.
> Later, when science had changed a little, Rambam explained it based on
> spontaneous generation from sweat or excrement. Today, when science
> has changed dramatically, we must find a more suitable explanation. R'
> Dessler suggested that halacha is intended for people to observe and
> therefore only recognizes items that are visible to the unaided eye.
> G-d does not expect us to rule halachically based on information we
> cannot naturally gather. Since lice eggs are too small to be seen
> unaided, lice look as if they grow from the item in which they appear
> and are given the same halachic status as their apparent origin. Since
> hair and fruit are not living animals that we are prohibited from
> killing on Shabbat (picking fruit off a tree is a separate
> prohibition), lice are given that same status. Incidentally, this
> logic has ramifications regarding microscopic insects found in fruit,
> but this is not the place for that discussion.

I noticed that RDLfishitz's shitah (yet another topic I've managed to
beat to death and beyond in these "pages"), even down to the sevarah
for killing lice on Shabbos, is the same of that of REED. Thanks!


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 16:55:40 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
RE: FW: Posai'ach es yodecho u'masbi'a l'chol chai ratzon

> It refers to the *desire* of the individual/creature for sustenance.
> The proof is the parallel in 104:27-28 -

> Kulam alecha yesaberun          / Eynai kol alecha yesabeiru
> Lases ochlam b'ito              / V'atah nosein lahem achlam b'ito
> Titein lahem yilkotun.
> Tiftach yadcha                  /Poseach es yadech
> yisbe'un tov.                   /U'masbiya l'kol chay ratzon.

> The whole string of preceding psukim in 104 refer to G-d's ability to
> sustain the world in a very real and material way, not abstractions like
> bestowing "razton".

At 03:57 PM 5/21/02 -0400, Litke, Gary S. wrote:
>Then pshat is He gives each according to what the person desires? Or it
>contains a subtle message that we shouldn't desire more than what He

I assume the latter - but I am not convinced of the parallel. There is no 
mention of Ratzon in 104 (although there is later in 145 - I think Ratzon 
Yerei'av connects to this Ratzon, in a Tzaddik Gozer v'HKB"H Mekayem 
manner). And, 104 is written in a future tense, while 104 is present or 
continuous. Furthermore, I think Posei'ach etc. is linked to Tzaddik etc. - 
His (capitol H) is so wonderful because it is that of the true Tzaddik and 


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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 17:01:44 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Posai'ach es yodecho u'masbi'a l'chol chai ratzon

At 08:04 PM 5/21/02 +0000, Micha Berger wrote:
>In RAYK's, we have as much ratzon as we need to give meaning and structure
>to our lives. Our need for ratzon is fully satisfied. There is only
>the nequdah al pi qabbalah (mentioned by RSRH on "ve'achalta vesavata`
>uveirachta") about sevi'ah being related to sheva`.

Then the objection is "L'Kol".

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

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Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 01:35:49 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Posai'ach es yodecho u'masbi'a l'chol chai ratzon

On Tue, May 21, 2002 at 05:01:44PM -0400, Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer wrote:
: >In RAYK's, we have as much ratzon as we need to give meaning and structure
: >to our lives. Our need for ratzon is fully satisfied. There is only
: >the nequdah al pi qabbalah (mentioned by RSRH on "ve'achalta vesavata`
: >uveirachta") about sevi'ah being related to sheva`.

: Then the objection is "L'Kol".

It's not "kol ratzon", it's "kol chai".

Remember, we can't give this pasuq a peshat in which Hashem is being praised
for something He doesn't actually do. HQBH believes that we shouldn't have
every need or desire satisfied.

In fact, this need to have needs is what RAYK's peshat is all about.


Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 01:29:01 +0300
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: a z'man matan Torosainu thought

On 21 May 2002 at 17:16, Micha Berger wrote:
> The seifer Oneg Y"T understands the pasuq "mei'erev ad erev tisperu
> chamishim yom" 

Where is this pasuk? The only "mei'erev ad erev" I recall is in the 
context of the 9th and 10th of Tishrei. 

-- 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, 22 May 2002 01:29:04 +0300
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Leftovers from Shavuos

On 21 May 2002 at 17:38, Gershon Dubin wrote:
> I spoke to Rav Shlomo Pearl (world famous in Flatbush <g>) and he said
> that bosor is a chiyuv of Yom Tov, not related to seudas Y"T. I asked
> if one could eat a dairy meal (pet peeve: fish is not ma'achalei
> chalav!) and then snack on meat. He told me that's what Rav Moshe
> Feinstein used to do.

How (if at all) does that differ from the literal interpretation of 
the Rema? 

-- Carl

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Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 3:11 +0200
Problem in scientific *metziut* re: an Issur melacha on Shabbat

For 6 hours Shavuot night, my chavrusa and I learned in depth the *geder*
of the melachot Choresh and Zoreah (using the sefer YESODEI HALACHA
AL HILCHOT SHABBAT) which brings the source in the gemara, rishonim
and acharonim.

The YEREIM (274) indicates the issur of not only watering the grass
with water and other liquids but also with urine ["shelo yashlich sham
mayim velo yirchatz aleihem VELO YASHTIN ALEIHEM, af al pi shelo yitkaven
l'gidulam, psik reisha velo yamut, she'i efshar shelo yo'il l'gadlam"]. So
far so good.

The SEMAG, SEMAK and the Sefer haTERUMAH mention this YEREIM but indicate
that "mei raglayim EIN CHASHASH shel hashkaya mishum she'heim SORFIM et
ha'tzemachim v;ein matzmichim". This is also the halacha as brought down
in the TUR OC 366 and the Mechaber OC 366:3.

Apart from the Eglei tal (Zoreha oht hei) and the Tiferet Yisrael (who
include mei raglayim b'geder the issur) no other Acharon (except possibly
for Shmirat Shabbat k'Hilchata 26:5 who prohibits urinating on a "sadeh
charush ha'omed l'zeriya") prohibit this.

THE PROBLEM: as soon as we saw the SEMAG, TUR and Mechaber we said,
"Wait ! The Chinese use urine as a fertilizer !" It took us a few days
but we just found a dozen websites on the Internet that claim that human
urne is the best fertilizer available with experts in agriculture claiming
its the best thing to happen in 20 years !

Since the scientific metziut seems to go against halacha pesuka in
Mechaber and Mishna Brura and Sefer Shvitat haShabbat and since we're
talking about an Issur D'oraita, how does one deal with this dissonance
? Does one inform poskim that the Yereim *was* correct after all ?


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Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 03:09:19 +0300 (IDT)
From: Daniel M Wells <wells@mail.biu.ac.il>
Q(u)ibbling about Tehillim

Q(u)ibbling about Tehillim

> Extravagant claims for efficacy of Tehillim recital are out of order,
> irresponsible, and dangerous !

Asperin is an efficacy for many who have a headache, but it does not
neccessarily cure all headaches.

The same goes with tehillim. We have an ancient tradition that at times
of great need, either personal or communal that Tehillim recital does
interceed with the Almighty and thus is a efficacy. However whether the
Almighty decides on account of that intercession to reverse the gezeira
is surely not in our hands.


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Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 23:38:16 -0400
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
Re: bitachon & nature

RMB (quoting me and responding):
>:  According to CI, there's no reason to be anxious
>: whether you're going to be in the next terror attack--you either will
>: or won't but it's not up to you (unless you purposely enter a place of
>: sakanah--statistically, even Sbarro's isn't a makom sakanah).

> I don't know if that's what the CI is saying. You're making his statement
> about bitachon into one about HP. He could hold like the Rambam, and
> yet define bitachon to include the confidence that if Hashem treats you
> more beteva it is in your best interest.

As I wrote earlier, I disagree with your understanding of CI. See CI
Emunah U'bitachon 2:1. He specifically says in the third paragraph
that a person must believe "she'ain mikreh ba'olam klal rak hakol
me'ito yisborach."

Kol tuv,

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Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 11:47:42 -0400
From: "Gil Student" <gil_student@hotmail.com>
Re: bitachon & nature

Ramban, Emunah uVitachon ch. 1, Kisvei HaRamban vol. 2 pp. 353-358;
Rabbeinu Bachya ben Asher, Kad HaKemach (ed. Chavel) p. 72 ff; Rabbeinu
Yonah, commentary to Mishlei 3:6.

Gil Student

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Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 21:27:23 +0200
From: "Mishpachat Freedenberg" <free@actcom.co.il>
RE: bitachon & nature

>> "Most people"? He says that a kesil or a rasha` (trans Ibn Tibbon) is 
>> abandoned to nature. Most of us are somewhere in between on the 
>> spectrum. Moreh 3:18 pretty clearly defines being a "ben adam" as a 
>> fuzzy set in this regard.

> When I wrote "subject to nature," I meant that they, unlike the yode'a
> Hashem/yarei Hashem, don't merit *constant* divine intervention.
> Consequently, they much/most of the time will be subject to nature w/o
> having the natural occurrence be part of a specific plan by Hashem.

I don't understand how you got this from that. How is it that being
subject, even a percentage of the time, to nature is NOT having the
natural occurrence be part of a specific plan by Hashem? Why should
it not follow that even if every part of what happens to a person is
according to Hashem's Divine Plan that Hashem would not use teva as his
shaliach? Hashem has many shlichim - but He is still Top Management.

>> As I argued here in the past, that too is an indirect hashgachah. 
>> Onesh needn't be a slap in the face, it could be abandonment to the 
>> forces one chooses to follow.

> Ain hachee namee. However, if a person who is not a kesil or rasha,
> but not a yode'a Hashem/yarei Hashem either, is subject to divine
> intervention 2% of the time and is otherwise left to nature because of
> his lack of perfection, the natural occurrence is not part of a Divine
> plan that is best for this person (in contrast to CI). 
> IOW, if he becomes depressed after being hospitalized for injury in a
> terrorist attack (as we read about recently), that means that he did not
> merit divine intervention (and this is indirect hashgacha), but not that
> depression is the best thing for his soul k'lapei sh'maya.

Mah Pitom?? Who on earth said that Hashem allowing nature to follow its
"natural" course is not part of a Divine plan? IOW, how do you figure
that a person who is injured in a terrorist attack did not merit Divine
intervention? How do you think he got to the terror site in the first
place? Why was he injured when the guy next to him didn't suffer a scratch
and the guy behind him was killed? And there are a number of rabbonim,
such as Rebbe Nachman and I think the Rebbe miSlonim as well, who hold
that one must sometimes first have a yeridah to then have an aliyah. This
can certainly be part of Hashem's plan as far as I understand it.


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Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 15:10:04 -0400
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
FW: DEVELOP -25: Bittachon [Part 1 of 3]

As we have been discussing issues of bitachon, I found this timely (esp.
part D).

-----Original Message-----

		Based on addresses by Harav Aharon Lichtenstein
			 Adapted by Rav Ronnie Ziegler

		     LECTURE #25: Bittachon - Trust in God
				  Part 1 of 3


Before addressing the broad issue of bittachon (trust in God), let
us begin with one pivotal question: Must a person rely solely on God,
or is one permitted to rely upon his or her own abilities?

The most well-known application of this question pertains to medical
intervention. The Christian Science movement, for example, forbids its
members from taking any initiative whatsoever in the case of illness.
This is for two reasons. Firstly, such an action is understood to be in
conflict with the will of God, who providentially decreed that illness
come upon a particular individual. Secondly, this movement regards medical
intervention as a form of hubris, in which mortal man attempts to utilize
his powers to alleviate sickness, in spite of the biblical verse which
loudly proclaims: "Thus says the Lord: Cursed be the person who trusts
in man, and places his strength in flesh, removing his heart from God"
(Yirmiyahu 17:5).

We generally tend to dismiss this approach, regarding it as a
particular strain of Christian theology lying beyond the pale of Jewish
thought. However, to be honest, it seems that this view can indeed
be found in our tradition. Although it is perhaps not the mainstream
approach, I would not characterize it as being completely alien to
Judaism. For example, the Talmud (Berakhot 60a) quotes Rabbi Acha:

   "One who is about to undergo bloodletting says: 'May it be Your will,
   Hashem my God, that this procedure will bring benefit to me and
   will heal me, for You are a trustworthy healer, and Your healing is
   genuine. It is not the manner of human beings to heal, but this is
   the customary convention.'"

Rashi (ad loc.) explains:

   "That is to say, they should not have occupied themselves with
   medicine, but rather should have entreated God's mercy."

The talmudic passage, however, continues:

   "Abbaye says: A person should not recite this prayer, for in the
   academy of Rabbi Yishmael it was explained: 'And he shall surely be
   healed' (Shemot 21:19) refers to the granting of permission for the
   physician to heal."

Although a simple reading indicates that Abbaye is in fundamental
disagreement with R. Acha, it is possible to understand Abbaye's objection
as does the Taz (YD 336:1). He explains that even Abbaye believes that
Rabbi Acha's opinion is fundamentally correct. However, since not all
people have the merit to "be saved through the mercies of Heaven," it
is therefore permissible for the physician to heal, and a person should
not regard that as being inappropriate.

An additional source, quoted by the Talmud (Pesachim 56a) from the
Tosefta, relates that Chizkiyahu, King of Judea, hid away the "Book
of Medical Remedies" and, in so doing, won the support of the Sages.
Rashi explains the reason:

   "For until that time, people would not be humbled by illness, but
   would instead effect immediate healing."

This approach is most forcefully expressed by the Ramban in his commentary
to Parashat Bechukkotai (Vayikra 26:11). In speaking of the blessings
promised to the Jewish people, the Ramban explains that these are national
in scope, and applicable when "the entire nation is righteous." Under
at least those circumstances, the Ramban relates,

   "When the entire people of Israel is perfect in their conduct, their
   matters do not function according to the laws of nature at all, neither
   with respect to their bodies nor their land, neither in general nor in
   particular. Rather, God will 'bless their bread and water' and 'remove
   all manner of sickness' from among them. Thus, they will have no need
   of a physician's services or of medical science, as the verse states
   that 'I, God, am your healer' (Shemot 15:26). The righteous people
   who lived at the time of the Prophets would conduct themselves this
   way, for even if they would fall ill as a result of transgression,
   they would not consult the doctors but rather the Prophets, as, for
   example, Asa and Chizkiyahu... One who seeks God through the Prophets
   does not consult the physicians. What role does the physician have
   for those who follow God's will, since He has promised them that He
   will ... 'remove all manner of sickness' from their midst?"

The Ramban's conclusion is forceful and unmistakable:

   "When God is pleased with a person's conduct, he has no need of

The Ramban's approach so disturbed Rav Chayyim of Brisk that he was
inclined to believe that the offending words were not the work of
the Ramban at all, but rather an interpolation by a later copyist!
Rav Chayyim's far- reaching claim lacks a textual and historic basis,
and I personally cannot accept it. Clearly, however, the tradition that
informs Rav Chayyim's words is the central one in Judaism. In contrast
to the Ramban, the mainstream approach is activist and interventionist,
an outlook which finds favor with modern man.

We tend to identify more strongly with the Rambam's interpretation of
the Tosefta presented earlier, which stands in stark contrast to that
of Rashi. The Rambam, who in his commentary to the Mishna generally
concentrates on the Mishna itself and ignores the parallel Tosefta
sources, here goes out of his way to explain the matter in order to
preclude erroneous conclusions. He writes:

   "I have explained this matter at length because of the other
   explanations that I have heard. Others have explained that Shlomo
   authored a book of medical remedies so that an individual who fell
   ill could consult his work and, by following his medical advice,
   become well again. When Chizkiyahu saw that people forsook trust in
   God and instead followed the prescriptions in the book, he removed
   it from circulation.

   How nonsensical is this explanation of the matter, and how mistaken! It
   ascribes a degree of foolishness to Chizkiyahu (and to the Sages who
   supported his efforts) that we would not impute even to the basest
   riffraff! According to this ridiculous reasoning, if a hungry man
   assuages his hunger with bread and thus overcomes the 'sickness of
   hunger,' shall we say of him that he has thereby forsaken his trust
   and belief in God?

   Rather, just as we thank God at the time of eating for having provided
   sustenance and allowed us to overcome our hunger and to survive,
   so do we thank him for having provided the medical remedy that heals
   us. I would not even have bothered addressing this issue if not for
   the fact that so many people are mistaken about its interpretation."


It seems to me that the approach that demands passivity and complete
dependence on God's intervention does have an occasional foothold in our
tradition. Clearly, however, the Rambam's approach is the dominant one,
and it is the most relevant for our generation.

This activist approach regarding medicine parallels the activist Jewish
approach with respect to spiritual endeavors. In Christian theology
there is an time- honored tradition - rooted in the words of Paul and
transmitted by Augustine, Luther and others - that sees human redemption
as being dictated solely from above. In Luther's formulation, any human
attempt to achieve spiritual or ethical perfection is a grave error,
for it indicates arrogance. Man, in his view, is an abominable creature
who cannot achieve redemption except through Divine intervention. Rather,
a person can only wait passively for grace, just as a woman (according
to his metaphor) waits for conception to occur after the seed has been
implanted in her.

Our Halakha, in glaring contrast, is founded on the touchstone of
free will, on the principle that human effort constitutes the essential
component of spirituality. The gemara (Berakhot 33b) tells us, "Everything
is in the hands of Heaven except for the fear of Heaven." This being
the case, it follows that a human being has a central role to play in
regulating the events of his or her perslife, as well as in affecting
the direction of history in general. This is particularly so in light
of the Rambam's declaration that since all of a person's activities
express whether he is Godfearing or not, all human activities are included
within the phrase "fear of Heaven" in the gemara just cited (Teshuvot Ha-
Rambam, Blau ed., #436; Iggerot Ha-Rambam, Shilat ed., p. 236).

As the Rambam implies in his commentary to the Mishna, the activist
posture applies not only in medicine, but in the war against hunger or
poverty as well. In fact, it would include any attempts to influence
historical processes through the exercise of human efforts. In his
formulation, the verse "Blessed be the man who relies on God" (Yirmiyahu
17:7) applies to every area of life, but this in no way precludes human
effort and initiative.


In truth, however, the quandary is not simply whether a person ought to
be totally passive or rather should act. The matter is much more complex,
for one must consider the degree to which Heavenly intervention should be
taken into account as a determining factor WITHIN the context of human
initiative. When faced with fateful decisions, should the situation be
evaluated from a purely rational and analytical standpoint, or, since
in the end we must rely upon God's help anyway, should one factor that
intervention into the decision-making process?

Clearly, when I mention the possibility of factoring in divine
assistance, I am not referring to specific Divine assurances addressing
defined situations, or with detailed inquiries addressed to the
"Urim Ve-tumim." Rather, I am considering the role of general Divine
pronouncements which, of course, are reliable on the grand historical
level, but typically do not have a direct connection to the particular
problem that arises at a given time. This leaves the matter undefined
and shrouded in obscurity.

For example, our Sages declare in a number of places, "Those engaged in
a mitzva-related mission do not come to harm" (Yoma 11a, Kiddushin 39b,
Chullin 142a). On the other hand, the Talmud concludes, "This principle
is inoperative where danger is to be expected" (Pesachim 8b; see also the
above sources, where the formulation is slightly different). To complicate
matters further, another passage declares that one is forbidden to rely
upon a miracle (Pesachim 64b).

Obviously, since it is almost impossible to define precisely terms such
as "clear danger" or "miracle," these general statements in the end do
not yield practical guidelines for action. When addressing fundamental
political issues - for example, whether we should retain Judea and
Samaria and rely on God's protection, or whether we should cede these
lands in cognizance of internal and external pressures - we are likely
to discover that sincere and profound disagreements exist even among
believing Jews. It is not my desire, nor is it within my ability, to
decide such matters either way. I must, however, emphasize one point:
let us not fall prey to overzealousness in the realm of trust in God. We
would be erring grievously to believe that an approach that seemingly
champions excessive trust in Divine intervention is, in fact, imbued
with a greater amount of fear of Heaven than a view which adopts a more
rational and pragmatic methodology.

In certain instances, to be sure, adopting an approach of adamance or
compromise indeed results from too much or too little fear of Heaven.
But this is not necessarily the case. It is possible for one to
be unmovable, spouting slogans of faith, yet motivated in truth by
irresponsibility. It is also possible to be pliant and yielding, yet
possessed of an abiding trust accompanied by great caution. Certainly,
differences of opinion will exist with respect to evaluating the chances
of success of a particular diplomatic or military initiative, as well
as with respect to the degree of statistical probability necessary to
remove an endeavor from the category of "relying on a miracle." In any
case, for the sake of God, let us not allow a discussion about fateful
national issues degenerate into a "competition" over which position
expresses greater fear of Heaven.


Our approach to humanity's role in shaping history thus combines two
factors: bold and responsible action accompanied by a deep and daring
trust. What, however, is the nature of this trust? It seems to me that
we must distinguish between two fundamental approaches.

According to the first approach, trust is expressed by the certainty
that God stands at your side and will assist you. This is a variation
of the words of the Mishna (Rosh Ha-shana 29a): "As long as the Jewish
people looked Heavenwards and humbled their hearts to their Father in
Heaven, they prevailed [in their war against Amalek]." This approach
is fundamentally optimistic, saturated with faith and with hopeful
expectation of the future. On the field of battle, the warrior who
can adopt this trust feels that he is on the threshold of victory;
in moments of crisis, one feels that salvation is on the way; during a
night of terrors, this type of trust heralds the break of dawn. In short,
this approach is expressed in the familiar formula, "With God's help,
everything will be alright."

The Chazon Ish (in his book "Ha-emuna Veha- bittachon," beginning of
chapter 2) categorically rejects this approach, complaining that

   "...an old error has become rooted in the hearts of many concerning
   the concept of trust. Trust ... has come to mean that a person is
   obligated to believe that whenever he is presented with two possible
   outcomes, one good and one not, then certainly it will turn out for
   the good. And if he has doubts and fears the worst, that constitutes
   a lack of trust."

The Chazon Ish continues by criticizing this approach:

   "This view of trust is incorrect, for as long as the future outcome has
   not been clarified through prophecy, that outcome has not been decided,
   for who can truly know God's judgements and providence? Rather,
   trust means realizing that there are no coincidences in the world,
   and that whatever happens under the sun is a function of God's decree."

Unlike the Chazon Ish, I would not go so far as to consider this view
as being beyond the pale. It seems to me that many Rishonim adopted
an approach akin to the one which the Chazon Ish rejects. For example,
Rabbenu Bachya ben Asher (a disciple of the Rashba) writes in his work
"Kad Ha-kemach:"

   "The matter of trust in God was explained by the saintly Rabbenu Yona
   [Gerondi] to mean that a person ought to accept wholeheartedly that
   everything is within the power of Heaven. God can transcend the laws of
   nature and change a person's fortune, and though a situation may appear
   to be hopeless, Divine intervention can change that reality in an
   instant. God's salvation is close at hand, for He is omnipotent. Even
   if a sword rests on a person's neck, he should not imagine that
   his salvation is impossible... Thus said Chizkiya to Yeshayahu the
   prophet: I have received a tradition from my grandfather's house,
   that even though a sharp sword rests on a person's neck, he should
   not withhold himself from supplication to God."

This theme also characterizes the words of Rabbenu Bachya ibn Pakuda in
his "Chovot Ha-levavot." There he defines the "essence of trust" as

   "the peace of mind of the one who trusts, that the one upon whom he
   relies [whether God or man] will do the best and the most appropriate
   for him in the matter... The main thing defining trust is that one's
   heart should believe that the one relied upon will fulfill what he
   promised and do good on his behalf, not out of obligation but out of
   kindness and mercy."

Clearly, this is a description of popular simple faith, the reliance that
"it will work out fine," rather than a belief in an all-encompassing
Providence. The fact that at this point Rabbenu Bachya does not
distinguish between trust in God and trust in man proves the point. Thus,
I would not characterize this first approach as "an old error," nor
would I deny its relevance to the issue of trus

There is, however, a second approach to bittachon. The "Kad Ha-kemach"

   "Also included in the matter of trust is that a person must surrender
   his soul to God, and should constantly occupy his thoughts with this
   matter: If brigands should come to kill him or to force him to abrogate
   the Torah, he should prefer to give up his life rather than go against
   the Torah. Concerning this, David said: 'To You, God, I shall offer
   up my soul' (Tehillim 25:1), and it further states, 'My God, in You
   I have trusted, let me not be disgraced' (ibid. 2). One who gives up
   his life under such circumstances has performed an act of bittachon."

Obviously, this approach has a completely different meaning. It does not
attempt to scatter the clouds of misfortune, try to raise expectations,
or strive to whitewash a black future. It does not claim that "It will
all work out for the best," either individually or nationally. On the
contrary, it expresses a steadfast commitment - even if the outcome
will be bad, we will remain reliant on and connected to God. We will
remain faithful until the end and shall not exchange our trust in God
for dependence on man. This approach does not claim that God will remain
at our side; rather, so to speak, it asks of us to remain at His side.

Naturally, this approach is much less popular than its counterpart.
A demand is always less marketable than a promise. For one who makes
an honest assessment, though, this approach also functions as a source
of solace and strength. In truth, this approach presents not just a
demand but also a message. Being disconnected from God constitutes the
greatest tragedy that can befall a person. When the Torah states: "To
Him you shall cleave," it simultaneously expresses a demand as well as
an opportunity. Similarly, the psalmist's call, "Israel, trust in God,"
constitutes both a demand as well as an opportunity.

In the next part of this lecture, we shall concentrate on the halakhic
and historical roots of these two conceptions of bittachon, and examine
a variety of expressions of them.

[Translated by Michael Hattin.
This lecture was originally delivered in Hebrew to a conference
of senior educators of the National Religious school system in Israel.
This adaptation is based on a transcript of that lecture published in
Elul 5735 (1974) by the Israeli Ministry of Education. It has not
been reviewed by Harav Lichtenstein.]

Comments regarding this shiur may be sent to <Develop@etzion.org.il>.

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Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 10:32:32 -0400
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: Vague thoughts on Chap. 2 of the Moreh

Shlomo Argamon wrote:
>  What I take from this is that prior to the sin,
> Adam and Hhava had the faculty of knowledge and understanding, but not
> the faculty of "judgement". And that the introduction of that faculty
> into human nature interfered with the clear apprehension of truth,
> resulting in the expulsion from Gan Eden.

I don't have the text here, but if I recall correctly the distinction the
Rambam is making is between Aristotelian truth and Nietzschean truth, i.e.
what is really so vs. what can I maintain to best achieve my goals.
So that their capacity was not enhanced by acquiring "judgment", it was
debased by acquiring ulterior motives which clouded their perception
of truth.

Incidentally, if you continue reading carefully you will discover that
Adam saw Gan Eden in a prophetic vision, and that the expulsion was,
in fact, a metaphor for the clouding of his perception.

David Riceman

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Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 23:42:51 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
al menas leqabeil peras

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> [on Areivim -mi]
> With all due respect to RVS (if he was the one who said it), this touches on
> two pet peeves of mine:
> 2- Turning mitzvos into al menas leqabeil peras.

I would have thought that saying tehillim is similar to davvening -
where we also ask for many things.
Do you consider tefilah - al menas lekabel pras?


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