Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 060

Tuesday, November 19 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 09:30:59 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
What is there to read? Mussar - Plagiarized from Areivim

 From R' Katz (my comments at the end):

[BTW, TextWord=ArtScroll; not Targum.]

>Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2002 14:32:36 EST
>From: T613K@aol.com
>To: General Discussion Area for Avodah <areivim@aishdas.org>

>In a message dated 11/13/02 5:25:00 PM EST, free@actcom.co.il writes:
> >> TK  wrote:  Hirsch would most certainly NOT agree that secular
> >> knowledge is acceptable only for parnossa.  But in any case, since I
> >> teach English and history (as well as limudei kodesh), I suppose you 
> could
> >> say I do need secular books for my parnossa.  And how, BTW, do you
> >> square your rejection of all things secular with the almost universal 
> acceptance
> >> of secular studies in even the frummest RW high schools in America?

> >> R'n Rena:

> >>    An interesting comparison, that of RW American schools to schools in
> >> other places. I think that maybe I mentioned here [or maybe not] that my
> >> daughter and her bat zug [girls here study English b'chavrusa] are on
> >> the highest level in English in their school. The merakezet at their
> >> school is very caring and wanted to make sure that the girls have a
> >> textbook on their level to use. ...  So, the merakezet sent to the
> >> States for a textbook used ... for 11th grade
> >> American Bais Ya'akov girls. Problem solved? No. When the books arrived,
> >> the administration had to review them...
> >> and unfortunately they were found to be unsuitable and the girls are not
> >> allowed to use them. [If anyone knows of a suitable textbook, let me
> >> know...]

>TK:  I am going to answer your last parenthetical remark first and say:  be
>subversive.  Give your daughter something unsuitable to read, just don't
>tell the school.  For something just subversive enough, try that book they
>use in American BY.

>Now to go back to the beginning of that paragraph: it is amazing that they
>even teach English at all.  Isn't there a long-standing cherem against
>teaching foreign languages? Or is that only in J-m?

>And as for the administration reviewing the textbook for suitability--does
>that mean someone in the administration reads English?

>What is it she/they found unsuitable in the American BY textbook, I wonder?

>I teach English in BY here in Miami.  The 10 grade has a lit book
>published, I believe, by Targum Press.  (In the book the publisher is
>called "TextWord Press" but I think it's Targum.)  The book is carefully
>designed to look like a real lit book.  It has nothing overtly Jewish
>(except for the list of editors on the copyright page, with names like
>Brocha Lipsett, Malka Schick, Fayge Silverman--to name a few at random from
>a long list).  It is obviously meant to be used in a school that can be
>accredited by a govt body, a school whose students take Regents exams and

>There's nothing really terrible about the book, but I hate it.   I have a
>"real" textbook for myself (but no copies for my students), full of
>literature and poetry I read and loved in the days when I still read
>literature and not politics.    (It's an old book; new ones used in the
>public schools stink.)  The contrast is stark.  The Targum text the girls
>use is "thin" in content.  It has a few "real" pieces of literature, e.g.,
>Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum."    But there's a lot of boring filler
>(not very well written) between the literary selections, and the selections
>themselves have been carefully chosen to give no offense.  One piece is OK,
>the next piece is OK, the next piece is OK.  Come to the end of the book,
>you realize you haven't read a single story or poem about love between a
>man and a woman.  Is this normal?!  The book will include famous authors,
>but then choose lesser-known works instead of their best and most famous.
>Bec the best has romance, and it seems romance is verboten.  So it's always
>the bland second-best poem, the oddly dull second-best story that's

>Then, the selections are thrown in in no good order--not chronological, not
>logical.  The book claims to be divided into sections by theme, but the
>themes are unintelligently chosen and allow you to put any old thing in
>them, like the jumble drawer in my kitchen.  One theme is "integrity,"
>another is "cycle of life." And so on.

>And then I have another beef with this book, unique to me.  As far as I
>know I am the only teacher in the world who has a frummy book to contend
>with--and complains that it is too liberal.  It is liberal in the sense of
>stupid.  Multicultural.  It has stories by people you never heard of with
>names like "Zitkala-Sa."  She's a Sioux Indian woman (a prized multi-culti
>two-fer, that: woman AND Indian) described as "an activist for the rights
>of Native Americans."  She writes just about as well as you'd expect from
>that blurb.  It sets your teeth on edge if you have any feel for beauty.

>But from a literary point of view the book is no worse than the junk
>they're using in the public schools these days.  Literature isn't dead only
>in the frum schools; ignorance isn't the unique province of chareidi
>society.  Literature is dead everywhere, kept alive only by a few priests
>in the catacombs, who lovingly preserve the best and the most beautiful as
>they await the end of the Dark Ages, perhaps centuries hence.That was a
>historical reference, BTW, understandable only to those who have partaken
>of the forbidden fruit--history written by goyim.

>Now I segue into another of my constant themes--the wreckage, the carnage,
>perpetrated by my bete noir, the feminist movement.  The English department
>of every university in the country has been laid waste by these Luddites of
>the mind, these wreckers of civilization.  For every book by a man, one by
>a woman (and Austen and Bronte are great, but there aren't enough women to
>fill the quota, so they import mediocrities). For every book by a white,
>one by a person of color.  For every American, a Pacific Islander.  And
>then everything, everything, is read and interpreted through a
>Marxoid-feminist lens.  But you guys all majored in accounting, what do you
>care about the losses I mourn?  Oh, and then all this gray misty muddy
>stuff seeps into everything, into the high schools, into the Bais Yakovs.
>And our chareidi Yerushalmi children really don't look so bad--in fact,
>they look downright brilliant, alive, mentally sharp, imaginative--next to
>the products of the current American educational system.

> >> I do not belong anywhere in the world, and I miss my father terribly.

Now, I do not disagree necessarily with the thoughts above, but the
reality is not going to change, and to the extent that in girls' HS's
the problem exists, it is magnified many times over in boys' HS's, where
even in my day, a quarter-century go, English - all aspects thereof -
were a joke; and this was not in an extreme RW institution.

But, in fact, this is the most potent argument for Mussar, in its RYS
[R' Yisroel Salanter] - Alters from Kelm/Novardock/Shabodka sense.

It is the cultivation of the human spirit to transcendent ideals and
comprehensive accomplishment.

That is why in the Mussar yeshivos they struggled with Tolstoy (and
others); and Mussar, to win that battle, had to present a pretty profound
yet arching philosophy.

In this respect; Mussar differs from Machashava.

(I am a confirmed pursuant - if that's the word I want - of Machashava.)

Machashava makes no demands - as one critic once pointed out to me;
all of us Reb Tzadokians, on the whole, are not much greater - if at all -

Go to top.

Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 09:17:45 EST
From: Maylocks1@aol.com
Re: Mussar

Rabbi Eidensohn's post is again surprising. He is within his rights not to 
accept the value of mussar, and if he lived a hundred years ago his words 
would not be shocking, but today, when it is clear that Mussar is included 
in Divre Elokim Hayyim, how can one write this way? Almost every 
(Ashkenazic) gadol of the last two generations is a product of Mussar 
Yeshivot. How then can one assert that there are such severe problems with 
Mussar? I repeat, almost every gadol of the last couple of generations 
came out of Mussar yeshivot (even from the "crazy" Novorduk -- just look 
at the Steipler, who certainly knew how to learn!). Clearly, these 
yeshivot were succesful.
        Yes, R. Chaim opposed mussar, but R. Isser Zalman Meltzer, a great 
 student of his, and also R. Moshe Mordechai, joined the Mussar forces. 
 Didn't they know how to learn? Weren't they complete Torah Jews with good 
 middos who didn't harp on evil etc. ?  R. Baruch Ber remained opposed, 
 but all this shows us is that we have a real machloket in which both 
 sides have what to say. Having said this, I would thnk that -- whatever 
 your position is -- some respect for the other side is in order.
        As for Mashgihim who are out of line etc. 50 years ago R. Weinberg 
 spoke of mashgichim who overnight became "geonim". He was aware that 
 politics were also found in the mussar yeshivot and unworthy people were 
 "sprouting up" as "great leaders". He indeed criticized certain aspects 
 of the Mussar movement (see. e.g, my book p. 195 -- now available in 
 soft-cover. In private letters which I didn't publish, he has more 
 pointed criticism of individuals) But in his mind, these were problems 
 that needed to be fixed, it didn't mean that the system as a while was 
        Opposition of the bachurim to the mashgichim is nothing new. The 
 bochurim always felt that they knew more than the mashgiach and wanted to 
 be left alone to study Talmud, rather than listen to the mussar talks. 
  From the Mussar side, that attitude shows precisely how much they need 
 the mussar! Let me remind everyone how these bochurim who didn't study 
 mussar acted: they disrupted talks of the mashgichim (imagine young 
 bachurim, supposedly Torah Jews, showing disprespect to pious old men), 
 they caused commotions, they messed up the Beit Midrash, they stole the 
 mussar books etc. All this at a time when the mussar bachurim showed the 
 greatest respect for the gedolim who opposed mussar. After one outrage in 
 Slobodka, when the mussar books were thrown into the latrines and had to 
 be given a burial, the rav of Slobodka, R. Moshe Danishefsky, an opponent 
 of Mussar, came to the "funeral." The gedolim who opposed mussar perhaps 
 didn't "need" it, but many of the bachurim seemingly di d.
        I too am aware of the fact that today mussar is not popular in 
 yeshivot and is done in a mostly pro-forma matter. Many yeshivot have a 
 mashgiach but he has no real role and is kept on simply because "how can 
 a yeshiva not have a mashgiach". It may indeed be the case that the 
 mussar movement was an episode in Jewish history and with a changed 
 sociology is now no longer needed in the same way . But I still think 
 that it deserves the greatest respect, both because of its origin as well 
 as because it remains an important vehicle for those who choose this 
 AUTHENTIC path in service to God.
        As for the Brisker derekh, I probably exaggerated when I said that 
 more gedolim opposed it than the Mussar movement, and this is not a 
 statement that can be proven. Since R. Chaim was being held up as the 
 opponent of Mussar, I was led to make the comparison. Of course, many 
 followers of his method of learning were also attached to Mussar. With 
 regard to opposition, there are indeed published criticisms. See for 
 example the Ridbaz' ethical will as well as his sharp attack elsewhere, 
 both cited in my article "The Brisker Method Reconsidered". There is also 
 a lot of anecdotal evidence in this direction.

                          Marc Shapiro

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Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 16:50:24 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Yehei shlama rabba

In a message dated 10/27/2002 6:02:28 PM EST, jjbaker@panix.com writes:
> So after shul, we had an argument over phrasing. The old president says
> Yhei shlama rabba min shmaia vechaim, aleinu v'al col ysrael v'imru amein

> while the gabbai who is big on grammatical issues and I think it oughta be
> Yhei shlama rabba min shmaia, vechaim aleinu v'al col ysrael v'imru amein

FWIW,  Yekkes pause after v'chaim.  I assume it is based upon Heidenheim, but 
I cannot find any documentation...

[Email #2. -mi]

In a message dated 10/27/2002 11:03:15 PM EST, micha@aishdas.org writes:
> So, I would go with "may there be (1) great peace from heaven and (2)
> life on us and all of Israel". The "min shemaya" is only said about
> peace because of the next line: "Oseh shalom bimromav..."

As per Baser, Oseh Shalom is a later addition and Yehei Shlama Rabba
ends the Kaddish proper

The proof that Oseh Shalom is later is that it is in Hebrew. The Kaddish
is by design Aramaic,

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe

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Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 14:51:02 GMT
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@math.tau.ac.il>
Rambam - Moreh

I was still confused by RYGB remarks concerning Rambam in Moreh.

So I will translate, as best as I can, from Rambam, Moreh, #2-25 
(Kafich edition)

"The Torah does not prove that the world was created by G-d 
(rather than being infinitely old) any more than it shows that G-d 
has a body. Just a there we explained that it is an allegory and G-d 
uses the language for our understanding so we could do here also. We 
don't do this for 2 reasons
1. It is proven that G-d has no body but the proof of the eternity of 
the world is not a complete proof and so we should not change pesukim 
tp conform with a theory which is not proven.
2. Holding that G-d has no body does not contradict any basic tenet 
of Judaism or the words of any prophet and is not against the meaning 
of the verses but even in accordance with the verses. However, 
Aristotle's theory that nature can never change contradicts the 
essence of Judaism and all miracles and all the promises of the 
torah. Unless we explain that all miracles are also allegorical.
However, according to Plato there is nothing in an eternal world that
contradicts the Torah and what could explain all the verses according 
to his theory. However, since his theory is not proven there is no 
need to interpret verses different than there obvious meaning. Hence, 
we accept the simple peshat that G-d created the world from nothing.

Hence, it is clear from Rambam that he accepts the simple pshat in
Bersehit only because he is not convinced otherwise. However, if he were
convinced that Plato was correct then he would interpret the creation
of the world in an allegorical sense.

Thus, IMHO Rambam did the same with astrology and also the magic
that appears in recent daf yomi. Since he was convinced that magic,
demons, astrology etc. are all nonsence he explained the Gemara in an
allegorical sense. I see nothing that he had proofs that Chazal denied
magic etc. Mainly that could not have (at least most of them) believed
in magic. Since the gemara in Sanhedrin brings stories about creating a
cow and eating it and no one disagrees obviously the gemara is not to
be taken literally but figuratively since no one would really believe
the literal meaning.

Even with regard to the statement that G-d has no body - Rambam
reinterpreted pesukim based on his own logic. He does not claim that
this is based on a masoretic tradition. In fact others attacked him on
this issue because they felt that chazal did not agree with him

kol tuv,
Eli Turkel

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Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 17:08:18 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: CI - was Violating the Will of the majority

In a message dated 11/4/2002 8:22:53 PM EST, BACKON@vms.HUJI.AC.IL writes:
> TOSAFOT: saying that "Tosafot" does this and does that doesn't take into
> account that there were over 800 (eight hundred) baalei tosafot over 5
> generations in 4 different countries.

Good point.  That is EXACTLY how Tosafos is by defintion a da'as rabbim and 
NOT a da'as yachid

You could make a claim that any STAM Tosafos - almost like a Stam Mishna 
-represents a consensus.

Illustration: the very fact that kitniyos is deemed by Tosafos to be assur is 
a reflection that it caught on in MANY MANY kehillos throughout Ashkenaz, and 
dspite the protestations of Ri of Courville, etc.   

IOW if Rif or Rambam state something, you cannot prima facie presume it has 
the weight of all of Minhag Sepharad, but OTOH when Tosafos says something it 
often has the weight of all of  - or perhaps most of - Ashkenaz.

Tangentially - what makes the SA so powerful is that he USUALLY relies on the 
consensu of Rishonim, and the Rema USUALLY relies upon the consensus of 
Ashekenaz Rishonim.  To Overturn them should require not only a Beis Din 
gadol bechacham but that is also gadol beminyan...     

OTOH, iut has been said that 20 Gdolim from the same school does not 
represent extra weight.  So Ba'alei Tosafos, like Beis Hillel, has the wight 
of only one "dei'ah".

Then again you could say that when the Rambam is maskim to the Rif, it is 
ALSO from the same school, but BY does not seem to think so...  

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe

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Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 22:45:00 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Atzas gedolim and the Ramban

I am stupefied.

Let me tell the world out there that Reb David is one of the most brilliant 
and knowledgeable people I have ever met in my life - and that is only 
miktzas shevacho.

Which is all the more reason I cannot understand why you cannot consider 
that profound knowledge of Torah is granted to those who have toiled 
mightily in it, infusing their minds with kedushah (ruach ha'kodesh) giving 
them more profound insight (emes) - which causes everything they say to be 
enhanced - which is why, of course, afilu sichas chullin shel talmidei 
chachamim tzricha talmud.


At 12:18 PM 11/15/02 -0500, David Riceman wrote:
>To support his position that advice from gedolim is generated with ruach
>hakodesh Rabbi B cited a Ramban in Bava Bathra 12a. He later cited a
>passage in Shaar haGmul where the Ramban identifies ruach hakodesh as
>a form of nevuah.

>I was a bit puzzled since in the drasha Torath HaShem Temimah (ed. Chavel,
>p.149) the Ramban says that we nowadays have no nevuah, not even bath kol.
>Now the drasha is about the greatness of Torah, and it would fit very well
>for the Ramban to say that one of the greatnesses of Torah is that someone
>who studies it assiduously, even nowadays, can attain a form of nevuah.
>That he goes out of his way to deny that seems to me a strong difficulty
>with the Rabbi B's understanding of the Ramban.

>Here's the Ramban in Bava Bathra:< "Since the destruction of the Temple,
>even though prophecy has been removed from the prophets, it has not
>been removed from the sages (gemara ad. loc.)" even though prophetic
>prophecy (nevuath haneviim) has been removed, which is prophecy via
>visions (hamareh vhechazon), the sages' prophecy, which is via wisdom
>(derech chochmah) has not been removed. Instead, they know the truth
>through the ruach hakodesh inside them (shebkirbam).>

>As I said in a previous post there is no hint in what context this
>applies, and, in any case, we have to harmonize it with the apparently
>contradictory passage in Torath HaShem Temimah I cited above. Rabbi B's
>explanation doesn't work since it ignores one of the passages, rather
>than explaining all of them.

>There's another passage (also in Shaar HaGmul, ed. Chavel, p. 303)
>which helps: < The harp (kinnor) and musical instruments in the Temple
>allude to attaining via thought (hasagath hamachshava), which depends
>on ruach. There is nothing physical finer (dak) than music, as they said
>"voice, speech, and ruach, this is ruach hakodesh (Sefer Yetzirah 1:9)"
>[incidentally if you have Scholem's edition of the Ramban's peirush on
>Sefer Yetzirah you might take a look here - it reiterates that ruach
>hakodesh is a form of nevuah]. In this world the sages attain seven
>sefiroth via ruach hakodesh, and their lights are attached to the mishkan
>and the mikdash and are alluded to in the seven candles of the menorah
>and some of the korbanoth, ... in messianic times the eighth sefirah
>will be attained ... and in olam haba there will be complete attainment
>(hasagah shleimah) of ten sefiroth.>

>I would suggest, as the most plausible understanding of the Ramban in
>Bava Bathra, that even nowadays sages have prophecy in the sense that
>they attain sodoth haTorah, which are not accessible via pure logic,
>and are the ultimate fruits of prophecy, not via prophetic methods but
>via scholarly methods.

>In which case the Ramban is not related to the thread at hand.

>David Riceman

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Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 09:11:40 +0200
From: Akiva Atwood <atwood@netvision.net.il>
RE: Astrology

> For example, had R' Yitzchaq mei'Akko (a da'as yachid from someone
> rarely quoted) not found reasons from within Torah and mesorah to
> justify dating the world at 15billion years, would we be able to
> impose the very same idea only because of scientific data -- with
> no basis within mesorah? Or the TY's dual creation theory?

Why not? After all, the Torah isn't a Natural History textbook?

And where would one draw the line? Would you allow mathematical theory, even
though it isn't found in the Torah? Analytic Geometry? Irrational numbers?

And Medicine? would you rule out medical theory/treatments that aren't found in
the Torah?


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Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 12:07:13 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
star wars

I've been puzzled by this thread:

1.  Unanimous opinions of chazal are unusual enough that I, for one, am
surprised at the suggestion that astrology makes the list.

2.  Chazal certainly accepted the existence of free will (e.g. "harshus
n'sunah") which contradicts the more extreme varieties of astrology.
Admittedly Josephus says that the Saduccees denied free will, but I don't
think they're part of our discussion.

3.  The Rambam viewed free will, and hence astrology, as a part of Chazal's
expertise.  He was a sufficiently sensitive reader of Chazal that he
certainly would not have mistaken a unanimous opinion for a minority

  If you read the Rambam's letter on astrology you'll see that he equates
belief in astrology with denial of free will.  Based on that his assertion
that the majority of Chazal denied astrology is well founded.
  Perhaps we ought to hear different definitions of "astrlogy" before
continuing the fuss.  No one here will deny that the stars enabled early
navigation, which directly affected human history.  No one here will accept
that the stars determine our fate in every detail.  If you state an
intermediate position it will give us a chance to find maamarei Chazal for
and against it.
  You might want to skim chapter 11 of Urbach's book "Chazal, Pirkei Emunoth
V'Deoth", entitled "hashgacha".  He includes a discussion of astrology, and
basically says that astrology was part of the intellectual background of
Chazal, but they rejected strong versions of it (by which he means

David Riceman

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Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 01:32:31 +0200
From: "Daniel Eidensohn" <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Re: Astrology Mareh Mekomos

>     Even though I disagree with your fundamental point, I am happy to
> give you "ammunition.". Apparently you are unaware of the fact that R.
> Bahya Ibn Paquda opposed astrology. He was the first medieval writer to
> oppose astrology (a century before the Rambam). This passage is not found
> in the Ibn Tibbon edition but is found in the original Arabic and is
> included in Zifroni's Hebrew edition as well as Kafih's edition (see p.
> 254 note 1).

There is no question that Rav Kafich is convinced that the missing
passage indicates that the Chovas HaLevavos thought astrology was
nonsense. However a close reading shows that that Rabbeinu Bachye
opposition to astrology was for exactly the same reason that all the other
rishonim were opposed to it - It is assur to go an astrologer or diviner
- a Jew is supposed to go to a prophet instead. He nowhere states that
astrology doesn't work. Rav Kafich also asserts that Rav Saadiyah Gaon
also rejected astrology as stated in his commentary to Iyuv 38. I haven't
seen this work yet - but I assume that Rav Saadiyah also does not deny
that it works. What follows is my translation of the missing piece found
on pp 254-256. [He states that the yetzer harah will try to convince you]
"not to waste time on any studies except those that impress other people
and bring attention from the important people such as the princes ....such
studies as languages, music and poetry grammar, great stories, impressive
parables...how to advise individuals or societies from the movement of
the stars (astrology)...but you will find out if you reject that which is
unique to you i.e. the knowledge of the Torah...it won't help you since
all is for naught before G-d except the Torah. We already have stated in
our Torah "don't go in the ways of the goyim" whose way it is to turn to
the laws of the stars and divination for what to do or not to do...these
things (divination and magic)are disgusting to G-d...besides the fact
that these are turning away from bitachon in G-d and His decrees...
Furthermore if in fact a persons well being was given over to these laws
of the stars and divination etc then they in fact would be full partners
with G-d without doubt and this would bring to kefirah...[He then brings
a number of cases where magic and divination was in fact used]...But
G-d commanded him to do that since Gidon was lacking in confidence in
his righteousness and self esteem. But since G-d commanded him it is
not included in the prohibition of divination. But what about Yonason
but since he prayed for a sign for victory therefore his good intent in
using divination was known to G-d that in fact his purpose was to save
Israel it was not prohibited divination....And if someone asks but we
see that the rishonim looked down on those that didn't learn the wisdom
of the stars by saying that whoever knows to calculate the seasons and
mazalos and doesn't ...and they say how do we know there is an obligation
to calculate seasons and mazalos... that person can be answered that the
rishonim obligated this because of the words of the prophet to understand
the workings of the world. Thus the study of astrology is to understand
how things work in order to understand the wisdom of the Creator and how
he arranged things in such an exceedingly wondrous manner - therefore it
is obligatory to think about these things from this particular perspective
but not in order to conduct ones life according to the rules of the
stars and to determine what is favorable or the opposite..."

Thus he acknowledges 1) the astrology does in fact work 2) it is
prohibited for a Jew for various reasons 3) awareness of astrology
helps demonstrate G-d's wisdom 4) one should not use this knowledge as
the sole basis to determine course of action in life since G-d has the
power to overcome the decrees of mazal because of prayer or mitzvos.
This is basically the position of Shulchan Aruch and all the rishonim
except the Rambam. Even Rav Sternbuch allows the utilization of palm
reading to aid in decision making as long as you don't believe that it
is the sole determiner of outcome.

                                    Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 14:20 +0200
Rambam and Astrology

Since the rav muvhak of the Rambam was his father, the rav muvhak
of the Rambam's father was the RI MIGASH, the rav muvhak of the RI
MIGASH was the RIF and the rav muvhak of the RIF was Rabbenu Chananel:
if what RYGB suggests is true, that the Rambam based his deprecatory
opinion on astrology on mesorah, then one would expect to see the same
in the RI MIGASH, the RIF and Rabbenu Chananel on the relevant sugyot
in the gemara on astrology (Shabbat 156a, Shabbat 146a, Shabbat 53b,
Megillah 3a, Berachot 55b, Moed Kattan 28a, Taanit 25a, Sanhedrin 65a,
Pesachim 112a, Shabbat 129b, Eruvin 56a, Sukka 29a).

All we need is one maamar from the RI MIGASH, RIF and Rabbenu Chananel
that is deprecatory of astrology.


Go to top.

Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 09:11:17 -0600 (CST)
From: sbechhof@casbah.it.northwestern.edu

I do not know if RS"G addresses astrology, but the GRI"P in vol. 2
p. 28 col. 2 alighs him on ov v'yid'oni with the Rambam at the end of
AZ Chap. 11, from his use of the language "Elil" in the Azharos.


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Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 16:09:33 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Administrivia re: Mussar

I let the following management comment through as I thought myself
overly nogei'ah to judge its appropriateness.

On Sat, Nov 16, 2002 at 10:37:15PM -0500, RYGB wrote:
: WADR to our moderator, I believe that the post below, consisting as it does 
: of anecdotes and assertions with no empirical data, constitutes simple 
: Lashon Ha'Ra - no, sorry - Motzi Shem Ra - and it would be preferable to 
: delete it from the archives.

Why ought anecdotal evidence be deleted from the archive? Just because
you and I vehemently disagree with the point being made? Does that make
reports of comments made by gedolim and their children not Avodah worthy?

The point is made through vociferous rebuttal, not stifling the debate.

There is also another administrative inyan here. Avodah is NOT an
internal AishDas communication. It's a service AishDas is providing.
As you noted last week, you intentionally seeded Beis Tefila, Avodah's
predecessor list, with a variety of opinion. But I am intentionally
running Avodah in a manner that continues that "eilu va-eilu".

We have <chevrah@aishdas.org> for internal communication. Right now
it's strictly a pragmatic list, a place to discuss upcoming programs,
but it need not -- and ought not -- remain that way. (And people who
want to be part of AishDas are invited to join the Chevrah list.)


Micha Berger                 When you come to a place of darkness,
micha@aishdas.org            you do not chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org       You light a candle.
Fax: (413) 403-9905             - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Date: Sat Nov 16 22:02:56 2002
From: "Zeliglaw@aol.com" <Zeliglaw@aol.com>
RYBS and the CI-similar views on Mussar

[Bounced from Areivim. -mi]

If you read Halachic Man and Emunah vBitachon carefully, you will note
that both RYBS and the CI expressed two very profound , albeit different
critiques of the Tnuas HaMussar.

RYBS felt that R Chaim rejected Mussar because it was for those who made
people depressed and made them feel that the Gemara was insufficient
as a means of coping with the trials and tribulations of life. RYBS
recalled that R Chaim called Musar castor oil for the very sick. The CI's
critique was that it was useless to talk about the wonders of Shabbos,
Kashrus and Dinim Bein Adam LaChavero without knowing the halachos. In
Chaim Grade's "The Yeshivah", (of all places!), this view of the CI is
vividly portrayed in a confrontation between the protagonist and a Gadol
who is clearly modelled on the CI who is a Gaon Olam and who is known
for his Gadlus and his opposition to Mussar .

Steve Brizel 

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Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 18:40:57 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Re: Mussar

FWIW, when I was in YU I set about to install an "optional" mussar seder
for 15 minutes before ma'ariv [it failed miserably]. I went around to
various roshei yeshiva asking for their backing and every single one with
whom I spoke, including R' Ahron Soloveitchik, was in support of it (I
didn't actually get to speak with R' Ahron so I had a shaliach do so).
R' Michael Rosensweig surprised me by very strongly encouraging it in
his shiur. R' Hershel Schachter wrote a letter to be hung up in the beis
medrash saying that even RYBS would approve of a mussar seder.

Gil Student

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Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 15:33:17 +0200
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il>
Re: Attention requested

On 19 Nov 2002 at 1:55, Daniel Eidensohn wrote:

> So the simple question is have I misrepresented the Israeli yeshiva
> system? 

As I understand it, you have not misrepresented the present day state 
of affairs. I don't know that I would have given quite as blunt a 
description as you have given (and you are certainly more aware of 
what is going on than I am - I don't have sons in Yeshiva Gdola yet), 
but as I understand it, in many Yeshivos in Israel, it is common for 
bochrim to be learning something other than mussar during mussar 
seder (most of the Yeshivos - as I understand it - do continue to 
have a mussar seder on the seder yom - at least formally) and va'adei 
mussar (which still exist in at least some Yeshivos) are sparsely 

-- 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

mailto:cmsherer@ssgslaw.co.il      mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il

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

It was a mistake to bomb the nuclear reactor in Iraq. 
[Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon P, Haaretz, December 24, 1995]

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Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 11:26:19 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Mussar

At 04:09 PM 11/19/02 +0000, Micha Berger wrote:
>On Sat, Nov 16, 2002 at 10:37:15PM -0500, Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. 
>Bechhofer wrote:
>: WADR to our moderator, I believe that the post below, consisting as it does
>: of anecdotes and assertions with no empirical data, constitutes simple
>: Lashon Ha'Ra - no, sorry - Motzi Shem Ra - and it would be preferable to
>: delete it from the archives.
>Why ought anecdotal evidence be deleted from the archive? Just because
>you and I happen to disagree with the point being made?
>The point is made through vociferous rebuttal, not stifling the debate.

I grant you the point.

But let me explain my hava amina.

The Aishdas website and the Avodah archives are perhaps one of the richest 
web-based repositories of data regarding many topics of intellectual and 
avodah interests. Doubtless, someone researching mussar on the web will 
come across our archives. To the impressionable reader, the condemnation of 
mussar, so strongly voiced, may prove a lasting turn-off.

But, again, I submit.

Kol Tuv,

ygb@aishdas.org      http://www.aishdas.org/rygb

Go to top.


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